No Game Changer Without You!


$128,478 raised so farEND DATE: January 1   
  • Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics
  • Lawmakers Who Upheld NSA Phone Spying Share Close Financial Ties to Defense Industry


    Vote to protect citizens privacy is struck down not based on party lines but campaign contributions from the defense industry -   October 3, 14
    Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here


      Share to Twitter
    Share to Facebook


    the name says it all...real news - yusuf
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

    Transcript

    Lawmakers Who Upheld NSA Phone Spying Share Close Financial Ties to Defense 
IndustryJESSICA DESVARIEUX, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore.

    On Wednesday, Congress voted against the Amash amendment. The amendment basically reined in the NSA's phone spying dragnet that costs roughly $600 billion. The vote was defeated, and was introduced by Michigan Republican Justin Amash. The amendment would have blocked funding for NSA surveillance activities that are not limited to specific persons of interest. Let's take a listen to what the congressman had to say on the House floor.

    ~~~

    JUSTIN AMASH, U.S. REPRESENTATIVE (R-MI-3): We're here for a very simple reason, to defend the Fourth Amendment, to defend the privacy of each and every American. As the director of national intelligence has made clear, the government collects the phone records, without suspicion, of every single American in the United States. My amendment makes a simple but important change. It limits the government's collection of the records to those records that pertain to a person who is the subject of an investigation pursuant to Section 215.

    ~~~

    DESVARIEUX: According to research by MapLight, the 217 congressmen that voted against the amendment received twice as much campaign financing from the defense and intelligence industry as the 205 people that voted for the amendment.

    Now joining us to unpack all this is Jay Costa. Jay is the program director of MapLight's web and data projects. He previously served on San Francisco's Sunshine Ordinance Task Force, chairing the group's Education, Outreach and Training Committee, and on Berkeley's Fair Campaign Practices Commission and Open Government Commission.

    Thanks for joining us, Jay.

    JAY COSTA, PROGRAM DIRECTOR, MAPLIGHT: Thank you for having me.

    DESVARIEUX: So, Jay, my first question is related to the numbers. Can you just break down what exactly you guys found in your report?

    COSTA: Absolutely. So at MapLight we track interest groups that support and oppose pieces of legislation like the amendment that we're discussing right now. So what we found is that defense contractors who didn't want to see the NSA surveillance curtailed, basically, they had given 122 percent more to the legislators who voted their way than they did to legislators who voted against how they wanted to see the amendment go.

    DESVARIEUX: Okay. And then so what does that mean, exactly? Does that mean that we're seeing people now that are voting, when it comes to defense bills, more on party lines? Or does it have to do with who's actually giving them campaign contributions?

    COSTA: Well, it's an excellent question, because, you know, especially these days in Congress, almost every vote happens along party lines. We have an extremely, extremely partisan Congress.

    This vote you actually saw quite bipartisan alignment. You saw Democrats and Republicans alike joining to say that this NSA surveillance program should be, you know, really reined in. And it turns out that the people who thought that the NSA program shouldn't be reined in have received quite a lot of tax cash in campaign contributions from defense contractors. So, you know, it really does raise the question of, well, nothing can promote bipartisanship like a common campaign donor.

    And, you know, it's really--that is a pattern that we at MapLight see again and again in Congress is a correlation between how members vote and who their donors are and what positions their donors are taking on the bills on which they are voting.

    DESVARIEUX: Okay. How much transparency is there to find out how much the NSA budget is, primarily, also how much of the NSA budget goes to these private defense contractors? Do you have any sense of that?

    COSTA: Yeah. Well, the specifics of the budget are classified, but it's thought that, you know, it's somewhere in the $10-20 billion range. And as much as 70 percent has been estimated to go to private contractors.

    DESVARIEUX: In your opinion, are we going to be seeing more of this? Is this really just an epidemic and this is just--or is this an isolated event?

    COSTA: No, I mean, absolutely. It's going to--this is business as usual for Washington. You have these high-contributing industries who have a stake, you know, in every piece of legislation that crosses a member of Congress's desk. They're the ones who went out.

    You know, we as voters are the ones who put members of Congress into office. We get to vote come election day. But we're not the ones who are really, you know, being served here. We don't actually get to choose who gets elected, because ultimately it's the members who are the best funded who are able to run the campaign ads that reach us, who are able to, you know, essentially run winning campaigns. And they do that using the dollars of the industry, including defense.

    But it's not unique to defense. You know, you see the same thing in agriculture, you see the same thing in, you know, energy industries and the banking industry. Any issue area, you see the prevalence of big industry making big contributions to members of Congress and getting their way on legislation. You know, there's no reason to think that it won't continue to happen when it comes to defense contracts.

    DESVARIEUX: Okay. Can we get some names? Like, who are these congressman that you would say are getting these big dollars and they are voting against things like the Amash amendment, both Democrats and Republicans? Who are we talking about?

    COSTA: Well, you see--well, so Amash himself actually is one of the lower recipients of money. He got, you know, somewhere in the $1,500 range, and he was in the bottom 50 recipients. You see Buck McKeon actually being the top recipient. He had over $500,000 from these industries. But, you know, right underneath them you have Ruppersberger.

    So it's really not--again, party is not a predictor of who's going to be receiving money. You have people on both sides of the aisle getting tremendous amounts of contributions and turning around and serving those who contribute to them.

    DESVARIEUX: Okay. Really interesting report, Jay. Thanks for joining us.

    COSTA: Thank you.

    DESVARIEUX: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

    End

    DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


    Comments

    Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

    Comments


    Latest Stories


    Video: The Revolution Is Being Televised Pt. 1
    Are You Watching But Not Donating?
    Die-In for Police Accountability Staged at Baltimore-Area Mall
    DOJ Misses Another Opportunity to Go After Banks
    Why Did The CIA Really Use Extreme Torture?
    Will the New Federal Racial Profiling Guidelines have Any Impact? (3/3)
    42 Billion in Tax Breaks Favoring Corporations Extended
    Identity and Collective Denial - Lia Tarachansky on Reality Asserts Itself (3/3)
    Case Filed in European Court Against Bush-Era Torture
    Fracking Opponents Celebrate Key Victories in New Brunswick, Quebec and New York
    iMixWhatILike | From South Africa to the United States: The Continuity of Black Consciousness Movements
    The Revolution Is Being Televised Pt. 2
    The Three Remaining 'Cuban 5' Go Home
    The US and Cuba Restore Diplomatic Relations With A Spy Swap
    Obama Admin Still Seeking Testimony From Journalist James Risen
    Identity and Collective Denial - Lia Tarachansky on Reality Asserts Itself (2/3)
    Will South America Bring Life to the Bank of the South?
    Identity and Collective Denial - Lia Tarachansky on Reality Asserts Itself (1/3)
    Hundreds of Thousands of Wrongfully Purged Votes Could Have Cost Dems Midterm Elections
    Budget Bill's Little-Known Provisions Affecting Marijuana Users
    Millions March Oakland: A Look Beyond the Violence
    Contextualizing Baltimore's Recent Police Shooting
    The Lima Accord: A Great Success or More Climate Catastrophe?
    Data Collection Law on Excessive Force Shown Ineffective in the Past
    Will the New Federal Racial Profiling Guidelines Have Any Impact? (2/3)
    Chris Hedges Answers Questions from Viewers - Chris Hedges on Reality Asserts Itself pt7
    Will the New Federal Racial Profiling Guidelines have Any Impact? (1/3)
    Russia Rejects South Stream Pipeline Through Europe
    A Second Mexican Revolution in the Works (2/2)
    Sharpton-Led March Alienates Youth Activists

    RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

    All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

    Problems with this site? Please let us know

    Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting