June 10, 2005
Action Needed Today to Ensure Passage of Sanders' Amendment
Please contact your House Rep immediately to Ensure Passage of Sanders' Freedom to Read Amendment to Appropriations Bill!
On Tuesday afternoon, June 14, or Wednesday morning, June 15, Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is expected to try again to pass his Freedom to Read Amendment, when the House of Representatives is due to consider the House Science, State, Justice, Commerce (SSJC) Appropriations Bill, which funds the Justice Department. The Sanders amendment would cut off funds for bookstore and library searches under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act.
Please contact your representative immediately. Speak out strongly in support of the Freedom to Read Amendment. Please e-mail, fax, or call your member of Congress now! Tell them that USA PATRIOT Act Section 215 threatens free speech for all Americans. It eliminates several important safeguards that prevent law enforcement officials in foreign intelligence investigations from engaging in fishing expeditions in bookstore and library records. FBI agents can search the bookstore or library records of anyone who they believe may have information relevant to a terrorism or espionage investigation, including people who are not suspected of committing a crime.
In 2004, when Rep. Sanders joined Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) and Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) in introducing the Freedom to Read Amendment to the Commerce, Justice, State Appropriations Bill, the House voted in favor of the bill; however, House leadership succeeded in forcing enough members to switch their votes to create a tie, thereby killing the measure. This year, there are 126 co-sponsors of Sanders' Freedom to Read Protection Act, which restores the safeguards for bookstore and library records that were eliminated by the Patriot Act. We hope that the widespread criticism that was directed against the House leadership's tactics last year will act as a restraining force this year and members will vote their conscience.
Act now! Your help in this fight has brought us this far, and now victory is within sight. E-mail, fax, and call your rep today!