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August 22, 2005

Call Your Senator About PATRIOT Act Reauthorization Bill

Friends,

Senators Larry Craig (R-ID) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) are urging their Senate colleagues to sign the Dear Conferee letter below supporting the Senate PATRIOT Act Reauthorization bill (S. 1389), rather than the House bill.

  • If your Senators are not among the Senate conferees (see list below), please call them by phone or send a fax urging them to sign the letter. Find their phone numbers at http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/.
  • If your Senators are conferees, please urge them to stick with S. 1389, which the Senate Judiciary Committee passed unanimously, and which the Senate passed by unanimous consent, if you have not already done so.

Senate Conferees:
Alabama: Jeff Sessions (R), (202) 224-4124
Arizona: Jon Kyl (R), (202) 224-4521
Kansas: Pat Roberts (R), (202) 224-4774
Massachusetts: Edward Kennedy (D), (202) 224-4543
Michigan: Carl Levin (D), (202) 224-6221
Ohio: Michael DeWine (R), (202) 224-2315
Pennsylvania: Arlen Specter (R), (202) 224-4254
Utah: Orrin Hatch (R), (202) 224-5251
Vermont: Patrick Leahy (D), (202) 224-4242
West Virginia: Jay Rockefeller (D), (202) 224-6472

Sample Talking Points:

  • At a minimum, any bill to reauthorize the PATRIOT Act must include some factual link between the records sought and a foreign terrorist investigation under Section 215. The Senate version takes important steps in this direction while the House version basically substitutes synonyms for the current law which is severely flawed.
  • Please reject any effort to add administrative subpoena power (to give the FBI the power to write its own search orders for any tangible thing, without any oversight by a judge).
  • The four-year sunset in the Senate version is preferable to the ten-year sunset in the House version for Sections 215 (records searches) and Section 206 (roving wiretaps). Expiration dates for even more provisions would be preferable.
  • In light of the importance of civil liberties to everyone regardless of political affiliation, it is crucial that the conference process be seen by the public as open and nonpartisan. The nonpartisan process used in passing seven statewide and nearly 400 local resolutions critical of the PATRIOT Act is a good model for Congress.
  • If the Senate bill's reforms emerge from the conference, the PATRIOT Act will be improved, even though more reforms are needed to bring it in line with the Constitution. If the severely flawed House bill emerges from conference, our privacy and civil liberties will remain at great risk and that bill will be strongly opposed across the political spectrum.

More information on the House and Senate PATRIOT Act Reauthorization bills is at http://bordc.org/threats/legislation/index.php#reauth.

If you've been on vacation or away from email, see our Action Alert of August 11 requesting calls to House members urging them to sign on to the House Dear Conferees letter circulated by Reps. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and C.L. "Butch" Otter (R-ID).


Senate Letter to Conferees:
Dear Conferee:

We urge you to defend the Senate-passed version of the USA PATRIOT and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2005.

The Senate bill retains all of the new powers created by the PATRIOT Act, but places reasonable checks and balances on these powers. It takes important steps to protect fundamental constitutional rights while giving law enforcement the authorities they need to fight terrorism.

The House of Representatives bill reauthorizes all of the PATRIOT Act’s expiring powers, but it does not place limits on these powers that are needed to protect the constitutional rights of innocent Americans. Additionally, it includes controversial extraneous provisions that are unrelated to the PATRIOT Act, have not been requested by the Bush administration, and have not been considered by the Senate.

We respectfully request that you defend the Senate position in the conference on the USA PATRIOT and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2005. Thank you for your consideration.


Sincerely,


Bill of Rights Defense Committee

Web: www.bordc.org
Email: info@bordc.org
Phone: 413-582-0110
Fax: 413-582-0116