Congress Might Expand the Patriot Act to Areas that Have Nothing To Do with Terrorism

Last summer, there was a legislative effort in the House of Representatives to expand the USA Patriot Act, the controversial post-Sept. 11 anti-terrorism law. Thankfully, the effort failed. But there are rumors from staffers on Capitol Hill that Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., the lead sponsor of the bill that failed last year, is currently shopping a new version in anticipation of reintroduction.

The "Anti-Terrorism Information Sharing Is Strength Act" (H.R. 5606), introduced by Reps. Pittenger and Maxine Waters, D-Calif., would have expanded Section 314 of the Patriot Act. This particular part of the 2001 law already provides for information sharing between financial institutions and the federal government to deter terrorism and significant money laundering schemes, but would have been expanded that existing system to include a host of non-terrorism domestic crimes listed in 18 U.S. Code 1956(c)(7).