By: Thomas Nephew
If you haven’t checked your inbox yet, go have a look now — for an email titled “Russ Feingold needs our help *now*!”
We want to raise at least $1,000 for Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI). Why? As our email — announced here yesterday and developed jointly by Thomas Nephew, Harry Waisbren, and others — puts it:
As a supporter of getting FISA right again, and of repealing the PATRIOT Act, we probably don’t have to tell you Russ Feingold is our best ally in the Senate. National security and human rights advocates have had to develop separate scenarios for the post-election period, depending on whether or not Russ is re-elected. One activist tells us “Even if Democrats hold the Senate, if Russ Feingold is not among them, the dynamic (and the White House, internalizing the message that “civil liberties don’t sell”) will tack demonstrably to the right.”
It’s absolutely critical we help Russ out as much as we can.
If you haven’t already — please give now!! Senator Feingold is facing well-financed opponent and — (no) thanks to Citizens United — a tidal wave of uncontrolled campaign advertising by other groups. We need to have Russ’s back:
- Russ Feingold was the only senator to vote against the PATRIOT Act, presciently warning, “I am also very troubled by the broad expansion of government power under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as FISA. […] ….the government can apparently go on a fishing expedition and collect information on virtually anyone. All it has to allege in order to get an order for these records from the court is that the information is sought for an investigation of international terrorism or clandestine intelligence gathering. That’s it.”
- Senator Feingold’s principled stand against the PATRIOT Act gained him allies in the effort to block the Military Commissions Act in 2006. Speaking in opposition, Feingold said : “Under this legislation, some individuals, at the designation of the executive branch alone, could be picked up, even in the United States, and held indefinitely without trial and without any access whatsoever to the courts. …why would we turn our back on hundreds of years of history and our nation’s commitment to liberty — particularly when there is no good reason to do so?”
- Senator Feingold has worked with President Obama, but has called Obama to account when necessary. Feingold produced recommendations doubling as a scorecard for evaluating Obama’s performance on the rule of law in his first hundred days in office. The senator was among the first to criticize the Obama administration’s overuse of state secrets privileges — giving the Obama administration “Grade: D | Status: Troubling”
- And of course, Senator Feingold was at the forefront in fighting against the FISA Amendment Act ratifying lawbreaking by the Bush administration, joining Senator Dodd in proposing an amendment to keep the telecom companies on the hook for assisting illegal surveillance. Feingold: “…even as the administration sought and obtained broad new authorities to collect communications of Americans, the administration refused to even consider when it might be violating the Constitution. If the administration can’t assure us that they respect the Constitution, Congress needs to step in.”
Again — please give what you can, even give a little more than you planned to. And share this with your friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter (hashtag #feingolddem); when you donate, there will be buttons for spreading the word.
Let’s rally for Russ!