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And, yes, I DO take it personally: IMPORTANT: tell Chris Dodd to put a hold on the Senate FISA bill
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Thursday, October 18, 2007

IMPORTANT: tell Chris Dodd to put a hold on the Senate FISA bill

If you think it's important for Dodd to place a hold on any crappy telecom immunity bill that the Senate comes up with, call Dodd campaign headquarters and request they do it. Ask to speak to the policy director, Amos Hochstein.

Dodd campaign headquarters telephone number:


this must be stopped...
Senate Democrats and Republicans reached agreement with the Bush administration yesterday on the terms of new legislation to control the federal government's domestic surveillance program, which includes a highly controversial grant of legal immunity to telecommunications companies that have assisted the program, according to congressional sources. . . .

The draft Senate bill has the support of the intelligence committee's chairman, John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), and Bush's director of national intelligence, Mike McConnell. It will include full immunity for those companies that can demonstrate to a court that they acted pursuant to a legal directive in helping the government with surveillance in the United States.

glenn greenwald has the relevant summary and more links...
To his credit, Chris Dodd has been, by far, the most vocal Democratic presidential candidate on the issues of executive power abuses and restoring our constitutional framework. Unsurprisingly, he has issued a very strong condemnation of telecom amnesty along with a vow to try to stop it:
While the President may think that it's right to offer immunity to those who break the law and violate the right to privacy of thousands of law-abiding Americans, I want to assure him it is not a value we have in common and I hope the same can be said of my fellow Democrats in the Senate.

For too long we have failed to respect the rule of law and failed to protect our fundamental civil liberties. I will do what I can to see to it that no telecommunications giant that was complicit in this Administration's assault on the Constitution is given a get-out-of-jail-free card.

The vow to "do what [he] can" to stop amnesty is interesting. Big Tent Democrat suggests he lead a filibuster to stop it (h/t Atrios), but I doubt, given Rockefeller's support, that they could get anywhere near the 40 votes necessary to sustain that. Dodd could, however, place a "hold" on any bill containing amnesty and prevent it from reaching the floor for a vote: "Senate tradition allows any senator to keep a piece of legislation from reaching the Senate floor by placing a hold on the bill." That is what Sen. Wyden did previously to prevent a vote on an anti-net-neutrality bill.

Dodd's emphasis in his campaign on constitutional issues -- along with his excellent voting record this year -- has generated significant positive feelings towards his campaign. But demonstrating real leadership on this incomparably important issue would almost certainly generate real, tangible support for his campaign in many circles.

Telecom amnesty implicates not only all of the issues raised by warrantless surveillance and the rule of law, but really calls into question the basic fairness of our entire political system, i.e, whether the wealthiest and most powerful corporations in Washington can literally buy their way out of lawbreaking. Anyone who boldly impedes what would be this bipartisan travesty -- and a "hold" on an issue of this magnitude would, in the context of Senate customs, be very bold -- is someone who will have demonstrated genuine leadership on a truly critical issue. There has been precious little of that thus far in the presidential race.

it's true that chris dodd has been the only candidate so far who has been regularly speaking out about our constitutional crisis... if he decides to take the considerably stronger and more visible stand of putting a hold on the senate fisa bill, i do believe there are many of us who will rise up to support him... i, for one, have been waiting for a candidate, any candidate, to step up to the most critical issue of our time...

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