White House officials are meeting today with several groups who oppose Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, to discuss legislative repeal in the Senate’s lame-duck session.
According to The Advocate, White House officials, including senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and deputy chief of staff Jim Messina, are meeting with representatives of the Human Rights Campaign, the Stonewall Democrats, the Center for American Progress, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, the Log Cabin Republicans and other groups.
According to an email sent by Brian Bond, the deputy director of the Office of Public Engagement, the off-the-record, closed press meeting will focus on how to repeal DADT legislatively in the Senate’s lame-duck session after Election Day.
Notably, the participants were warned against discussing the court case in which DADT was ruled unconstitutional. That case, which the government is appealing and which has caused several twists and turns in military policy over the last few weeks, was brought by the Log Cabin Republicans.
As Josh Gerstein of Politico notes, that rule is probably to prevent the White House from breaking any rules by allowing its lawyers to discuss an ongoing case with a party to that case.
Late update: The White House confirms as much to Sam Stein:
“Some of the participants in the meeting are involved in active litigation against the government on the issue of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, so it wouldn’t be appropriate to discuss that litigation,” said an administration official. “This is standard procedure for any meeting where that would be the case.”
“You could add further that our lawyers can’t have contact with represented parties without their counsel being present.”