U.S. v. GARDE
673 F.Supp. 604 (1987)
UNITED STATES of America, Petitioner,
Billie Pirner GARDE, Respondent,
Government Accountability Project, Intervenor-Respondent.
Misc. No. 87-274.
United States District Court, District of Columbia.
October 27, 1987.
Mark Nagle, Asst. U.S. Atty., Washington, D.C., for petitioner.
Marya C. Young, Thomas J. Mack, Jones, Mack, Delaney & Young, Washington, D.C., for respondent.
Patti Goldman, Public Citizen Litigation Gr., Washington, D.C., for Government Accountability Project.
THOMAS F. HOGAN, District Judge.
The United States of America petitions to enforce a Nuclear Regulatory Commission subpoena to compel an attorney for the Government Accountability Project, Billie Pirner Garde, to disclose any and all information, including client identities, in her possession concerning the safety of a nuclear power project in Texas. The Court finds that the subpoena is not narrowly drawn to avoid unnecessary abridgement of constitutionally protected associational rights. Accordingly, the petition shall be denied.FACTS
The Governmental Accountability Project (GAP) is a nonprofit organization which has been an advocate on behalf of "whistleblowers" on safety-related issues at various nuclear power projects. In the past, GAP has been able to reach accommodations with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) permitting safety information and allegations in GAP's hands to reach appropriate government officials.
Ms. Garde, the respondent, is an attorney and director of the Midwest Office of GAP. On January 20, 1987, she wrote a letter to Victor Stello, Jr., the NRC's Executive Director for Operations, and to Texas Attorney General James Mattox stating that GAP had begun investigating worker allegations concerning the safety of the South
Texas Project, a nuclear plant nearing completion southwest of Houston, Texas. The letter stated that GAP represented or was working with 36 current or former employees at the plant. The letter stated:
Once our preliminary investigation is complete, we plant to issue a formal public report. Unfortunately, in the interim, we cannot advise our clients or those we work with to provide their concerns to the Region IV office of the NRC. Our experience has been (and recently released internal agency reports confirm) that the Arlington office is either unable or unwilling to comply with its regulatory requirements as outlined in governing agency procedures.