Bill of Rights Defense Campaign

BILL OF RIGHTS Defense Committee - Working with communities to uphold the Bill of RightsWe the People
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Raise Your Voice

Meet with your congressional representatives

With the USA PATRIOT Act up for reauthorization again, this is the perfect opportunity to ensure that Congress keeps your views in mind as it debates this dangerous—and now vulnerable—law.

  1. Find your members of Congress, including both senators and your representative in the House.

  2. Call the district offices nearest you and ask to schedule a meeting with the member of Congress or a legislative aide who addresses government surveillance issues, congressional oversight, or votes on matters referred to the Judiciary Committee. Introduce yourself as a constituent and offer your name and address.

    • You don't have to go it alone. Invite a few like-minded friends and colleagues in your congressional district to join you at the meeting.

    • Prepare. Before the meeting, go over the issues you want to discuss and prepare responses to common questions. Use our PATRIOT Act talking points to help you.

    • Check past votes. Look into how your members of Congress voted during the PATRIOT Act recent reauthorization process so you can either thank them for their votes or share your disappointment that they failed to support your constitutional rights.

  3. Meet with your elected officials. Arrive on time and dress professionally. At the meeting, always be respectful and polite—even with representatives who oppose your interests. Outline your requests:

    • Vote NO on reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act until it is amended to add strong protections for civil liberties.

    • Support the JUSTICE Act. The JUSTICE Act was first introduced a year ago and would provide civil liberties protections: it contains critically important new checks and balances to prevent abuse of the three expiring PATRIOT provisions, but also proposed many meaningful reforms to other surveillance powers. 

    • Rein in the FBI and COINTELPRO 2.0: Congress must conduct more careful oversight and prevent the FBI from investigating innocent Americans without any evidence or even suspicion of a crime; or profiling based on race, ethnicity, religion or political belief.

    • Cut spending: When addressing the bloated federal budget, start with wasteful programs justified in the name of national security that offend both fiscal conservatism and constitutional rights. See also: Specific budget recommendations.

  4. Ask for a response. Be sure you understand where your members of Congress stand on specific issues.

  5. Take this survey to let us know how your meetings went. Make sure your voice is counted!

  6. Follow up: write a letter in response to your conversation. This will help you build a relationship with your legislators, which will increase your influence on their actions in the future.