Hall Of Shame: Congress Votes For Warrantless Surveillance Of Americans

  • April 15, 2024
Score one for Technocracy. The House of Representatives had a chance to stop warrantless surveillance of American citizens. It failed, in spite of the Fourth Amendment and in the face of 75 percent of Americans who say the Feds should always get a warrant before conducting a search. The tie-breaking vote was cast by the Speaker of the House, a Republican.

It is assumed that all your electronic data is already available: phone calls, emails, letters/packages sent/received via the post office, GPS tracking data, DMV records, income tax filings, financial transactions, et cetera ad infinitum. Do you really want some law enforcement agency digging through your “file” looking for criminal activity on a whim?

According to The Dispatch, abuses are routine and shocking:

These violations include alarming abuses. Among many other examples, the government has performed baseless searches for the communications of members of Congressjournalists, and 19,000 donors to a congressional campaign. The FBI has performed “tens of thousands” of unlawful searches “related to civil unrest,” including searches targeting 141 people protesting the murder of George Floyd and more than 20,000 people affiliated with a group suspected of involvement in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Most recently—and despite procedural changes implemented by the FBI to stem abuses—FBI agents performed improper searches for the private communications of a U.S. senator, a state senator, and a state court judge who reported alleged civil rights violations by a police chief to the FBI. 

In fact, in 2021 alone, the FBI conducted a record 3.4 million warrantless searches. 

⁃ TN Editor

Eighty-six House Republicans on Friday voted against an amendment to require a warrant for surveillance of Americans’ communications.

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) proposed an amendment to the Reforming Intelligence and Securing America Act (RISAA), a bill that would reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Section 702 is a law that is meant to target foreign adversaries, but often surveils Americans’ private communications without a warrant.

The amendment tied at 212-212 in the House; a tie in the House means that the measure fails. Although Biggs’s amendment did receive support from a majority of Republicans, 86 House Republicans failed to support the proposal.

A warrant requirement is overwhelmingly backed by Americans. A YouGov poll commissioned by FreedomWorks and Demand Progress found that 76 percent of Americans support a warrant requirement, while only 12 percent oppose.

Only one member of House Republican leadership voted with the majority of the House Republican Conference on warrants requirements: House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN). Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA), and House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY) voted against the warrant requirement.

Johnson used to support closing the backdoor search loophole, or the ability to surveil Americans through Section 702, which is meant to target foreigners. However, he changed his mind after seeing a classified briefing after becoming Speaker.

The 86 House Republicans that voted for warrantless surveillance of Americans are:

Aderholt
Republican
AL
NO

Bacon
Republican
NE
NO

Balderson
Republican
OH
NO

Barr
Republican
KY
NO

Bice
Republican
OK
NO

Buchanan
Republican
FL
NO

Bucshon
Republican
IN
NO

Burgess
Republican
TX
NO

Calvert
Republican
CA
NO

Carl
Republican
AL
NO

Carter (GA)
Republican
GA
NO

Carter (TX)
Republican
TX
NO

Chavez-DeRemer
Republican
OR
NO

Cole
Republican
OK
NO

Crawford
Republican
AR
NO

Crenshaw
Republican
TX
NO

D’Esposito
Republican
NY
NO

De La Cruz
Republican
TX
NO

Diaz-Balart
Republican
FL
NO

Duarte
Republican
CA
NO

Ellzey
Republican
TX
NO

Estes
Republican
KS
NO

Ezell
Republican
MS
NO

Feenstra
Republican
IA
NO

Ferguson
Republican
GA
NO

Fitzpatrick
Republican
PA
NO

Flood
Republican
NE
NO

Franklin, Scott
Republican
FL
NO

Gallagher
Republican
WI
NO

Garbarino
Republican
NY
NO

Garcia, Mike
Republican
CA
NO

Gimenez
Republican
FL
NO

Gonzales, Tony
Republican
TX
NO

Granger
Republican
TX
NO

Graves (MO)
Republican
MO
NO

Guthrie
Republican
KY
NO

Hill
Republican
AR
NO

Hinson
Republican
IA
NO

Johnson (LA)
Republican
LA
NO

Joyce (OH)
Republican
OH
NO

Kean (NJ)
Republican
NJ
NO

Kelly (MS)
Republican
MS
NO

Kelly (PA)
Republican
PA
NO

Kiggans (VA)
Republican
VA
NO

Kim (CA)
Republican
CA
NO

Kustoff
Republican
TN
NO

LaHood
Republican
IL
NO

LaLota
Republican
NY
NO

Lamborn
Republican
CO
NO

Latta
Republican
OH
NO

LaTurner
Republican
KS
NO

Lawler
Republican
NY
NO

Letlow
Republican
LA
NO

Lucas
Republican
OK
NO

Malliotakis
Republican
NY
NO

McCaul
Republican
TX
NO

McHenry
Republican
NC
NO

Miller (OH)
Republican
OH
NO

Miller (WV)
Republican
WV
NO

Miller-Meeks
Republican
IA
NO

Moore (UT)
Republican
UT
NO

Moylan
Republican
GU
NO

Murphy
Republican
NC
NO

Nunn (IA)
Republican
IA
NO

Obernolte
Republican
CA
NO

Pence
Republican
IN
NO

Pfluger
Republican
TX
NO

Rogers (AL)
Republican
AL
NO

Rogers (KY)
Republican
KY
NO

Rouzer
Republican
NC
NO

Rutherford
Republican
FL
NO

Salazar
Republican
FL
NO

Scalise
Republican
LA
NO

Scott, Austin
Republican
GA
NO

Smith (NE)
Republican
NE
NO

Smucker
Republican
PA
NO

Stefanik
Republican
NY
NO

Strong
Republican
AL
NO

Tenney
Republican
NY
NO

Turner
Republican
OH
NO

Valadao
Republican
CA
NO

Van Orden
Republican
WI
NO

Wagner
Republican
MO
NO

Waltz
Republican
FL
NO

Wenstrup
Republican
OH
NO

Womack
Republican
AR
NO

Conservatives and progressives blamed congressional leadership for pushing against genuine privacy reform.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) wrote, “This is how the Constitution dies. By a tie vote, the amendment to require a warrant to spy on Americans goes down in flames. This is a sad day for America. The Speaker doesn’t always vote in the House, but he was the tie breaker today. He voted against warrants.”

This is how the Constitution dies.

By a tie vote, the amendment to require a warrant to spy on Americans goes down in flames.

This is a sad day for America.

The Speaker doesn’t always vote in the House, but he was the tie breaker today. He voted against warrants. pic.twitter.com/i49GnCzyPm

— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) April 12, 2024

Demand Progress Policy Director Sean Vitka said in a statement after the vote:

House Leadership has pushed its thumb on the scale against privacy protections throughout this debate, as it has done for more than a decade. After wrongfully stopping the House Judiciary Committee’s legislation from reaching the floor, denying a vote on closing the data broker loophole, and rewarding the House Intelligence Committee for operating in staggeringly bad faith.

We applaud the leaders of the House Judiciary, including Reps. Andy Biggs, Pramila Jayapal, Jim Jordan, Jerry Nadler, Warren Davidson, and Zoe Lofgren, for fighting tirelessly for over a year to advance the serious privacy protections that the public overwhelmingly supports and deserves. Their efforts were heroic and fundamentally changed this debate, which is all the more impressive considering the deceit and dirty tricks wielded against reform over the past year.

Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) wrote, “Here they go again, expanding FISA. Bipartisan skulduggery. A sad day for America.”

Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) wrote, “Today’s FISA warrant amendment vote was tied, which means every single vote was the deciding vote. Make your decisions about who represents you based on supporting your Constitutional rights.”

Today’s FISA warrant amendment vote was tied, which means every single vote was the deciding vote.

Make your decisions about who represents you based on supporting your Constitutional rights.

— Rep. Scott Perry (@RepScottPerry) April 12, 2024

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