Wednesday, June 25, 2008

FISA: Watch, Read, Phone

First, as if you needed it, here’s a little pep talk, courtesy of Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), on why this FISA fight still matters.

With that impassioned defense of the Constitution still in your head, filling you with a warm and fuzzy feeling about what it means to live in an active Democracy, you then might turn your attention to this:

House Democrats who flipped their votes to support retroactive immunity for telecom companies in last week’s FISA bill took thousands of dollars more from phone companies than Democrats who consistently voted against legislation with an immunity provision, according to an analysis by

In March, the House passed an amendment that rejected retroactive immunity. But last week, 94 Democrats who supported the March amendment voted to support the compromise FISA legislation, which includes a provision that could let telecom companies that cooperated with the government’s warrantless electronic surveillance off the hook.

The 94 Democrats who changed their positions received on average $8,359 in contributions from Verizon, AT&T and Sprint from January, 2005, to March, 2008, according to the analysis by MAPLight, a nonpartisan organization that tracks the connection between campaign contributions and legislative outcomes.

. . . .

The 116 Democrats who remained opposed to telecom immunity received an average of $4,987 from the telecoms during the three-year period, the analysis showed.

. . . .

The members who voted yes on June 20 received, on average, $9,659 from the big three phone companies while those who opposed the bill received an average of $4,810, MAPLight found.

Of course, that was the House; now this egregious FISA legislation is before the Senate—often called “the millionaires’ club.” But, why should a bunch of millionaires care about a measly five thousand bucks. . . or even four or five times that? Is it really worth the relative pocket change to side with a greedy corporation and a corrupt administration over the people and the Constitution they swore to protect?

Let’s find out.

The Senate is likely to vote on cloture at about 10am (what happens after that is somewhat dependent on the progress of other pending legislation). Why not give your senators a call and tell them what you—part of “we, the people”—want: A “no” vote on cloture; should cloture pass, a “yes” vote on the Feingold/Dodd/Reid amendment to strip retroactive immunity from the legislation; and, should that specific amendment fail, a determined effort to stop this bill at all costs.

And, while you’re at it, phone Senator and possible next president Barack Obama and demand the same things.

You only have a little time, so pick up that phone!

(cross-posted on guy2k and The Seminal)

Labels: , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home