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GOP Killed Bill That Would Have Stopped DOJ From Taking AP Phone Records

by David Badash on May 14, 2013

in Civil Rights,News,Politics

Post image for GOP Killed Bill That Would Have Stopped DOJ From Taking AP Phone Records

Congressional Republicans, among them, Congressman Darrell Issa, helped kill the very bill, the Free Flow of Information Act of 2007, that would have prevented the Department of Justice from being able to take the phone records of the Associated Press.

As the media today continue to focus on the news that the Department of Justice (DOJ) subpoenaed and retrieved phone records from 20 of the Associated Press’ phone lines — which members of the media as well as Democrats and Republicans have roundly condemned — it’s important to note that Republican Representative Darrell Issa, among the most powerful in Congress, voted against a media shield bill that would have protected the AP and others from this very action. Issa is now grandstanding about how “above the law” he believes the administration acts, when Republicans literally decided to not pass the law the administration would supposedly have been above.

House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa issued a statement slamming the administration,” Buzzfeed reports:

“This is obviously disturbing,” Issa said. “Americans should take notice that top Obama Administration officials increasingly see themselves as above the law and emboldened by the belief that they don’t have to answer to anyone. I will work with my fellow House Chairmen on an appropriate response to Obama Administration officials.”

Issa didn’t mention that he voted against a measure that would have protected the AP from the DOJ’s subpoena in 2007. Issa was one of 21 House members who opposed the Free Flow of Information Act of 2007, a measure that would have forbidden federal investigators from compelling journalists to give evidence without first obtaining a court order. The bill included a section that specifically forbid subpoenaing journalists’ phone records from “communication service providers” to the same extent that the law protected the journalists themselves.

Despite Issa’s “No” vote, the bill overwhelmingly passed the House 398-21. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, another California Republican who criticized the DOJ and the President in the wake of today’s news, voted for the bill. It was defeated, however, by a Republican filibuster in the Senate the following year.

“I would say the odds are Republicans killed media shield today,” Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy said at the time. The Senate bill garnered 52 supporting votes, including five Republicans who broke ranks with their party, but the bill’s supporters needed 60 votes to overcome the Republican filibuster.

This is typical for Issa. His recent false claims that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton personally signed cables denying security to diplomats in Benghazi were described by described by the Washington Post’s fact-checker as “absurd.”

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{ 1 comment }

Diogenes_Arktos May 15, 2013 at 1:11 am

Why aren't I surprised?

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