Posts Tagged ‘FISA’

ND College Republicans push Donnelly on oil drilling, Patriot Act; Donnelly reassures the Right he’s with them

June 7, 2008

(from the South Bend Tribune)

Article published Jun 6, 2008
Group to Donnelly: Back drilling
Representative’s campaign says he does — as part of a larger solution.

ED RONCO
Tribune Staff Writer

SOUTH BEND — A group of college Republicans wants U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly to “change his stance” and support domestic oil exploration.

But Donnelly’s campaign manager says the first-term Democrat is all for responsible domestic exploration — as long as it’s one part of a larger approach to energy independence that has to include other, more sustainable measures, too.

The Notre Dame College Republicans, including two people dressed as a dolphin and a caribou, presented a petition to Donnelly’s district director, Hodge Patel, for Donnelly to consider signing.

The so-called “American Solutions” petition calls on Congress to authorize exploration of “proven energy reserves.”

Translation: It’s asking Congress to allow more off-shore drilling and oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, or ANWR. Proponents think doing so would help lower the nearly $4 per gallon price of gas.Edward Yap, president of the Notre Dame College Republicans, said the price of fuel is a big issue for college students.

“We wanted to focus on ANWR and domestic drilling,” he said. “The last time I filled up my tank, it was $50.” Yap drives a 1998 Volvo sedan.

The College Republicans’ position echoes that of Donnelly’s fall opponent, Luke Puckett, who also has called on Donnelly to sign the petition.

Yap, the president of the college Republicans, is helping with the Puckett campaign. And Puckett’s campaign manager, Kyle Bailey, as well as Brian Sikma, the campaign’s deputy communications director, helped gather signatures for the petition Thursday in downtown South Bend.

And Donnelly’s position on domestic exploration for oil is clear, said Andrew Lattanner, his campaign manager.”In terms of drilling, with $4-per-gallon gas, Joe believes it’s absolutely necessary that we look at all our options, and one of those options is responsible exploration in the outer continental shelf, and in addition to that, he’s also in favor of increased oil production from shale on federal lands and he would support responsible exploration of oil reserves in ANWR,” Lattanner said.

But it’s important that the solution include many options, Lattanner said.

“We need a solution that involves all our options, whether that’s in additional exploration, biofuels, conservation, wind, solar — everything’s on the table,” Lattanner said. “There are good ideas on both sides of the aisle.”

***

The College Republicans also attacked Donnelly’s votes on extending the Protect America Act, which is part of the larger Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.Yap declined to answer further policy questions beyond what was on the group’s press release, which accuses Donnelly of a “flip-flop” on the issue (thus the person in the dolphin suit — it’s a “Flipper” joke).

But Donnelly actually supports the surveillance act.

He broke with House Democrats and voted to allow consideration of a 21-day extension of the act until a more lasting deal could be negotiated.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., recessed the chamber before a vote could occur.

“I support updating and extending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act,” Donnelly told The Tribune in late February, when Puckett criticized his votes. “On January 13, two days before the latest iteration (version) of the FISA law lapsed, I voted for a 21-day extension of that same law. I stand ready to vote for another extension or a permanent new FISA law.”

(bold type by Donnelly Watch)

Donnelly responds to LWV on FISA, civil liberties

April 6, 2008

(The following was passed along to DW from a reader who is also a member of the local League of Women Voters. The original letter-to-the-editor follows Donnelly’s response.)

April 3, 2008

Dear Ms. Plencner,

Thank you for taking the time to contact me about revisions to the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). I value your views, and your input helps
me to better represent the people of Indiana’s Second District in Congress.

My top priority as your Congressman is to ensure that our country is
equipped to prevent and respond to threats against American interests, both at home and abroad. Nothing is more important to me than protecting our nation from those who would do us harm.

As you know, the 1978 FISA law governs the domestic collection of foreign intelligence. Last summer, our intelligence agencies disclosed that a large backlog of FISA court warrant requests had formed because the law had not adequately been updated to take into account technological advancements. In addition, the decision by a federal intelligence court judge that even some foreign-to-foreign communications require FISA review further underscored the need to modernize existing surveillance law.

On August 4, 2007, I joined the House of Representatives in passing S. 1927, The Protect America Act, which the president signed into law the next day on August 5. S. 1927 was designed to temporarily allow the Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General to collect electronic surveillance of individuals reasonably believed to be outside the United States without a FISA court warrant. If the subject of the requested surveillance was located inside the United States, the FISA court was required to review and authorize the request before any surveillance was conducted. This six-month law, temporary by design to allow in-depth debate and the careful crafting of a responsible and permanent update to FISA law, expired on February 16, 2008.

On February 14, I voted to extend the temporary law for another 21 days to allow Congress and the President more time to complete an update of FISA law. The extension failed to pass the House and following that vote, I voted against a motion to adjourn for the upcoming Presidents’ Day recess because I felt that Congress needed to stay in session until we could bring the FISA matter to resolution. Although the Protect America Act has expired, America has not been left in the dark. Existing surveillance warrants authorized under the expired law will remain valid through August, and law enforcement and intelligence officials still possess all the tools they did prior to last August as the permanent, 1978 FISA law is still in effect.

As you probably know, one contentious issue has been whether Congress should provide existing immunity protections retroactively to telecommunications companies that may have cooperated with President Bush‘s now defunct warrantless surveillance program. To date, the full House has not considered any legislation providing retroactive immunity.

I believe Congress and the president should put aside their partisan differences and get down to the business of crafting a new FISA law for the 21st Century that provides the necessary tools to the intelligence community to keep American secure, while also safeguarding our civil liberties.

Thank you again for contacting me about this important issue. Please do not hesitate to write, call or email me again if I can ever be of assistance. Also, if you would like to receive regular updates on my actions on your behalf in Congress, sign up for my e-newsletter, The Donnelly Dispatch, at http://donnelly. house.gov.

Sincerely,
Joe Donnelly
Member of Congress

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VOICE OF THE PEOPLE

As reported in The Tribune, U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Granger, voted to allow a vote on a resolution to extend the Protect America Act. Although the measure failed, the House will likely revisit this issue in the future.

We, the board of the League of Women Voters of South Bend, urge Donnelly to take a stand against the administration’ s pressure to pass S. 2248, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act of 2007. We also urge Congress to support legislation that will ensure that government agencies obtain individual court warrants before wiretapping the communications of Americans and make sure telecommunications providers do not receive blanket retroactive immunity for violating the rights of innocent citizens.

For 88 years the League of Women Voters has been a strong advocate of the democratic principles that serve as a bedrock of our republic. Certain fundamental principles guard our freedoms and these must be preserved. These include independent judicial review of law enforcement actions and prohibition on indiscriminate searches.

While we recognize that our nation must guard against terrorism and other threats to national security, it cannot violate basic Constitutional principles while claiming to protect itself. As such, wholesale warrantless wiretapping of Americans is unacceptable.

Lisa A. Plencner

President, League of Women Voters, South Bend

Citizens voice opinions to Donnelly on surveillance bill, family planning services

March 7, 2008

[The following are two citizen-produced opinion pieces that appeared recently in the South Bend Tribune. – DW]

Donnelly Wrong on Surveillance Bill

As reported in The Tribune, U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Granger, voted to allow a vote on a resolution to extend the Protect America Act. Although the measure failed, the House will likely revisit this issue in the future.

We, the board of the League of Women Voters of South Bend, urge Donnelly to take a stand against the administration’s pressure to pass S. 2248, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act of 2007. We also urge Congress to support legislation that will ensure that government agencies obtain individual court warrants before wiretapping the communications of Americans and make sure telecommunications providers do not receive blanket retroactive immunity for violating the rights of innocent citizens.

For 88 years the League of Women Voters has been a strong advocate of the democratic principles that serve as a bedrock of our republic. Certain fundamental principles guard our freedoms and these must be preserved. These include independent judicial review of law enforcement actions and prohibition on indiscriminate searches.

While we recognize that our nation must guard against terrorism and other threats to national security, it cannot violate basic Constitutional principles while claiming to protect itself. As such, wholesale warrantless wiretapping of Americans is unacceptable.

Lisa A. Plencner
President, League of Women Voters,
South Bend area

:::::

Title X funds low-cost family planning services

I am writing in response to the Feb. 28 article in The Tribune by staff writer Margaret Fosmoe titled, “IUSB petitioners demand cost drop on birth control.” I applaud the students and employees who gathered signatures and delivered the petitions to U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Granger.

The article highlighted the need for individuals (including Donnelly) to be educated about the Federal Title X program and the Olive Street Health Center. The Olive Street Health Center is located on the west side of South Bend.

The Federal Title X program is designed to provide access to contraceptive supplies and preventive health services to all who want and need them with priority given to low-income persons. The U.S. government’s Title X program funds low-cost, confidential family planning services that would otherwise be out of reach for many women.

The Olive Street Health Center is funded by the federal Title X program through the Indiana Family Health Council Inc. Services are provided on a sliding scale based on income; people at or below the federal poverty level receive services at no cost. Most importantly, no one is refused family planning services because of inability to pay. Title X funds cannot be used to provide abortions. In fact, according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, publicly funded family planning services help women avoid an estimated 1.3 million unintended pregnancies each year, half of which otherwise would be terminated by abortion. Each year, approximately 4.5 million people receive health-care services at Title X-funded clinics.Being a publicly funded health center allows the center to qualify for discounted public health pricing on medications and contraceptive supplies. We also experienced a price increase as a result of the 2005 deficit reduction bill, however, not to the extent that the IUSB Health Center and other non-publicly supported clinics have experienced. The clinic continues to be able to assure that affordable birth control is available to those who want and need it. For example, the clinic charges $4 a month for birth control pills, $17 a month for the NuvaRing, and $8 for each dose of emergency contraception (Plan B/morning-after pill). This is significantly less than what the IUSB Health Center must charge to cover their cost for these same contraceptive supplies. The Olive Street Health Center also distributes free condoms.

In addition to contraceptive services and related counseling, the Olive Street Health Center also provides a number of preventative health services such as: client education and counseling; breast and pelvic examinations; cervical cancer, STD and HIV screenings; and pregnancy diagnosis and counseling. For many clients, Olive Street Health Center is their only source of health care and health education.

Title X regulations require that all clients, including adolescents, receive confidential care. Therefore, the Olive Street Health Center encourages but does not mandate parental involvement in an adolescent’s decision to seek services at the clinic.

I applaud The Tribune for covering important women’s health issues such as the need for continued access to affordable birth control. I ask for The Tribune’s assistance in educating individuals about the services offered at the Olive Street Health Center in their effort to focus on important women’s health issues. The Olive Street Health Center is located at 244 S. Olive Street, South Bend. The phone number is (574) 282-3230.

Melinda Konrath is director of the Olive Street Health Center. She lives in Mishawaka.

Colwell illustrates ineptitude of 2nd district challengers

March 3, 2008

(Jack Colwell, columnist for the South Bend Tribune and former host of WNIT’s “Politically Speaking” weighed in on Rep. Donnelly’s Republican challengers in a column published March 2.)

When Tony Zirkle said my column inspired him to add an f-word in the acronym he wants for his middle name, I was a bit concerned. No worry. Zirkle reveals that the word is “fluke” and that he uses it in a description of himself as a “homeless vet fluke.”

However, the former U.S. Naval Academy student uses the naval definition of “fluke” as the pointed part of an anchor or a harpoon.

Zirkle initially filed as a candidate for the Republican nomination for Congress in Indiana’s 2nd District with “Hvfvgpd” as his middle name. He deleted it in a changed filing to avoid a challenge to his candidacy. But he plans to go ahead with court proceedings to add the acronym officially as a middle name describing his campaign effort.

The middle “v” stands for “versus.” Kokomo Tribune columnist Scott Smith figured out from a clue about a Bill O’Reilly TV tirade that “h” is for “homeless” and the first “v” is for “vet.”

Zirkle gave me a clue revealing that “f” is for “fluke,” a word I used in a December column saying Republicans should seek a credible nominee to challenge Democratic Congressman Joe Donnelly rather than risk nomination of some “fluke.”

In a certain way, Zirkle said, he could be described as a “homeless vet fluke,” with naval definition of the f-word, versus whatever the rest of the acronym stands for.

:::

Luke Puckett, the candidate found by 2nd District Republican leaders as their credible challenger for Congress, joined in efforts to put Donnelly on the spot in the controversy over extension of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Efforts included TV ads by an organization called Defense of Democracies. Its listed directors and advisers include a preponderance of well-known Republicans and conservatives, including Newt Gingrich, Steve Forbes, Gary Bauer, Bill Kristol and Jack Kemp.

The group urged district residents to ask Donnelly to vote for the extension that President Bush seeks and the Senate has passed.

An ironic aspect is that Donnelly and some other members of the moderate House Democratic group known as the Blue Dogs have called for an extension with the immunity the president wants for telecommunications firms facing possible suits for illegal intercepts.

Donnelly was one of only seven Democrats to vote last week to consider the Senate version. The effort failed. Now a compromise is sought between those who claim the immunity goal is a cover-up of Bush administration wrongdoing and those who contend the objective instead is profits for trial lawyers.

The Defense of Democracies president, Clifford May, issued a statement praising Donnelly “for his principled stand — for resisting political pressures and supporting the much-needed terrorist surveillance bill.”

Puckett certainly wasn’t ready to join in praise of the man he hopes to defeat. He said Donnelly “must make it clear to the public that it is his Democratic Party that is making us less safe.”