Planning for Politically Motivated Attacks


Tim Mooney, Natalie Roetzel Ossenfort

It rarely comes as a surprise to advocates that individuals and groups oppose their positions and fight against the policy outcomes they champion. However, in recent years the tactics have sometimes become more sinister, including manipulation of stances, slanted edits of secret recordings, and even illegal or unethical acts like hacking and doxxing. Being an advocate these days sometimes means you have to prepare for politically motivated attacks, and on this episode we talk about some of the things to think about before it happens. 

Our Attorneys for This Episode:

Natalie Roetzel Ossenfort Tim Mooney

Elected Officials Misusing their Authority

  • In some states we are seeing official investigations of organizations based on a thin or weak record, often from questionable complaints 
  • Best practices 

Attacks by Non-governmental Actors

  • Organizations, individuals, online efforts by one or both 
  • Identify vulnerabilities 
  • Best practices
  • “Weird question” point person 
  • Prepare volunteers and staff 
  • Keep it short – “We follow all federal and state laws” 
  • Understand the laws 
  • Smart social media 

Other attacks

  • Hacking and Doxxing 
  • Best practice: IT trainings, strong passwords, VPNs, and other protections 

If you are attacked . . .

  • Don’t overreact, reassure staff, board, key supporters you’re gathering the facts 
  • Share with others in your coalitions so they know what may be coming 
  • Get a handle on the facts — be clear with what you know and don’t know 
  • Have a plan in place to respond