FreedomWorks Key Vote NO on Eliminating Transparency in FISA Court Decisions

As one of our over 6.9 million FreedomWorks members nationwide, I urge you to contact your senators and ask them to vote NO on the McConnell amendment #1452, which would remove a crucial transparency section from the USA Freedom Act.

This amendment would also add in the provisions from Senator McConnell’s other amendments. These would lengthen the transition time of the bill (thus allowing bulk collection for longer), mandate that companies inform the government if they change the length of time that they hold onto their records, and further weaken the special advocate to the FISA Court.

Each of the above provisions is bad policy unto themselves, but worst of all is that this amendment in particular would strike the section of the USA Freedom Act which would give some measure of transparency to the FISA Courts. As written, USA Freedom requires that the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) review FISA court decisions and either declassify or at least summarize the court’s decisions. This would give the American public a better idea of how broadly the government is justifying data collection, and could at least alert citizens if the government was making an interpretation that allowed for overly broad (or illegal) data collection.

The lack of amendment votes granted to those who would like to increase the USA Freedom Act’s 4th Amendment protections is already a slap in the face to all innocent Americans who wish to see their privacy protected from an increasingly intrusive government. To weaken the bill further should render it unsupportable by anyone who supports any surveillance reform.

Thus, I hope that you’ll tell your senators to vote NO on the McConnell amendment to strip the FISC opinion declassification requirement from the USA Freedom Act. We will count votes against this amendment towards their score in FreedomWorks’ Economic Freedom Scorecard for 2015. The Scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the FreedomFighter Award, which recognizes members of Congress with voting records that support economic freedom and individual liberty.

Matt Kibbe

President and Founder,