New Congressional ‘Scoreboard’ Grades Congress Members on Surveillance Voting RecordsPosted 14:29 EDT on September 29, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 29, 2015
New Congressional ‘Scoreboard’ Grades Congress Members on Surveillance Voting Records
Online tool shows which lawmakers aced, failed, or were missing in the debate over mass spying. Numbers show that the majority of Congress members support reform, but leadership opposes it
As the battle over cybersecurity heats up in Congress, privacy advocates today launched a legislative ‘scoreboard’ that grades lawmakers on their commitment to surveillance reform.
See the scoreboard online here: DecideTheFuture.org
The scoreboard builds off a similar tool released last year by a coalition of privacy advocates, adding data from the current Congress, including the PATRIOT Act renewal fight, the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015 and other relevant legislation.
“We wanted to develop something simple and easy that would allow users to quickly see which politicians oppose mass surveillance, and who’s working to expand the surveillance state” says Alex Marthews, national chair of Restore The Fourth.
The new online tool, which is a joint effort by Restore The Fourth and Fight for the Future, allows users to input their state and find their legislators’ voting records. Visitors to the site are encouraged to call, email or Tweet lawmakers to demand stronger surveillance reform.
All 535 members of Congress are graded. 24 Senators got A grades, and 35 got Fs. In the House, 173 Representatives (40%) got A grades, and 10 (2.3%) got Fs.
The scoreboard shows strong support for surveillance reform in Congress, especially in the House; but that leadership in both Houses and the intelligence committees are strongly slanted against reform.
“Ever since Edward Snowden exposed the NSA’s worst abuses, members of Congress from both political parties have been under intense pressure from the public to rein in the U.S. government’s runaway surveillance programs,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, “The scoreboard makes it impossible for them to hide any longer; politicians from both sides of the aisle who attempt to block meaningful reform on this issue should expect to pay the price come election time.”
Looking at the states, legislators from Colorado, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin are most supportive of surveillance reform, while legislators from Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois and Mississippi tend to oppose reform more.
With so many key elections coming up, this tool provides a platform for voters to get involved. As Congress prepares to make decisions affecting the nation’s privacy and safety, we should all be aware of who is and isn’t fighting for our Fourth Amendment rights.
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