Politics

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
congress, immunity, telcos, wiretapping



As Expected, Republicans Push To Get Telcos Off The Hook For Illegal Activities

from the who-woulda-thunk-it dept

Back in February, we broke the story that some Republican Congressional Representatives were looking to circulate a discharge petition to force a vote on the FISA bill that would grant telcos retroactive immunity for any illegal activity having to do with wiretap activities. And, in fact, that's exactly what happened. Earlier this week, a group of Republicans started circulating just such a petition. This is an extremely rare move. A discharge petition hasn't been used successfully since 2002. However, the reasoning behind the supporters of this discharge petition is highly suspect and deserves to be examined. Rep. Roy Blunt stated:
"More than 66 days have passed since House Democrats allowed a key piece of terrorist surveillance legislation to expire--not because they had concerns with the bill, but because they were seemingly more concerned that not enough trial lawyers would be able to file enough expensive and frivolous lawsuits against U.S. telecom firms."
That's both incorrect and misleading at the same time. First of all, there were concerns with the bill: the concerns about giving telcos immunity for potentially illegal activities. As we've pointed out, there are really only three potential reasons for wanting immunity, and they certainly have nothing to do with filing frivolous lawsuits. If this was about frivolous lawsuits, immunity wouldn't be needed -- because the cases would get thrown out. The only real reason to push for immunity is because it's known that the telcos and/or the administration acted illegally. In such a case, immunity obviously shouldn't be allowed. No one has yet given a decent reason for immunity, and the statement here to back up the discharge petition is incredibly disingenuous. Hopefully, a majority of Congressional representatives will realize that and reject the petition.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. icon
    Mike (profile), 25 Apr 2008 @ 3:02am

    Re: Don't the Democrats

    How does the minority party have the ability to dictate to the majority party what bills will and won't be voted on?

    Hence the discharge petition...

    If you have specific examples where specific Republicans are causing problems, why don't you tell us?

    I thought I did. It's a group of Republicans (no Democrats) pushing the petition, one of whom I named in the post, and I quoted him blaming the Democrats... Which part did I leave out?

    I'm betting you're (At least) ignoring the fact that it's more than just Republicans causing the "problem", and you don't say anything about it because it doesn't fit your screed. Typical.

    What "screed" am I trying to fit? If you think this site is pro-Democrat, then you clearly haven't read it for very long. It's neither pro-Democrat nor pro-Republican. I tend to dislike both parties equally.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: I Invented Email
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.