One Of The NSA's Biggest Critics In The Senate May Lose His Seat

from the don't-let-that-happen dept

In the past, we've noted how unfortunate it was that the Senator who fought strongest for our civil liberties in Congress, Russ Feingold, got voted out of office back in 2010 -- in favor of a "Tea Party" candidate who has consistently voted in favor of the intelligence community since replacing Feingold. Since then, plenty of attention has gone to Senator Ron Wyden for picking up where Feingold left off, but with him on issues of civil liberties as it relates to the intelligence community has always been Senator Mark Udall -- who has been perhaps even more vocal than Senator Wyden on these issues.

And, worryingly, it appears that Udall may be facing a Feingold moment, where he's facing a candidate that has positioned himself more on "Tea Party" type issues. Udall hasn't campaigned very much on his amazing support for civil liberties, since many observers don't think that's an "election issue" in Colorado. However, recently, Udall has been willing to point to his important work on the Senate Intelligence Committee as one of a very small number of Senators who actually worked hard to push back against unconstitutional surveillance, to push for transparency and accountability for the intelligence community, and who pushed, repeatedly, to defend our civil liberties. It would be a huge loss for civil liberties if Udall were to lose this election, and a clear victory for the NSA, the intelligence community and those who like to spread FUD to retain power and take away your rights.
“I do think it would be a significant loss for the movement,” said Laura Murphy, the head of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington office.

[...]

“Were Sen. Udall to lose, I think he would be sorely missed,” echoed Scott Roehm, a senior counsel at The Constitution Project. “He was one of the earliest voices for meaningful surveillance reform even before the Snowden leaks.”
The Denver Post recently endorsed Udall's opponent, complaining that Udall wasn't enough of a "leader" in the Senate (not an easy thing to do as a first-term Senator). And while the editorial at least does call out Udall's work on the Intelligence Committee, it suggests that his opponent, Cory Gardner, is fine there too because he voted for the USA Freedom Act in the House. Except, of course, voting for a bill is one thing. Leading the charge on these issues is another thing altogether. Besides, the version of the USA Freedom Act that was voted on wasn't a good thing. It was the bill that the White House undermined at the last minute, leading all civil liberties groups to pull their support, and most members of the House who are big on civil liberties voted against the bill due to the compromises shoved into it. Voting for it didn't show a similar viewpoint, but rather the opposite.

There are lots of other issues for voters, of course, but feel free to check out Udall's stance on things. If you're in Colorado, please consider voting for one of the very few principled voices for civil liberties in Congress.

Filed Under: civil liberties, colorado, cory gardner, mark udall, nsa, surveillance


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  1. identicon
    Rudyard Holmbast, 22 Oct 2014 @ 8:28pm

    Yeah, Feingold was so big on our "civil liberties" that he made it his life's mission to pass laws that made it as difficult as humanly possible to criticize incumbent politicians. How anyone can claim that a principal author of a bill that made it illegal, FUCKING ILLEGAL, in the home of the First Amendment of all places, for groups to air ads that criticize a politician by name 60 days before an election is some kind of civil liberties hero is almost incomprehensible for its sheer ludicrousness. Thank goodness the decent people of WI had the sense to show his free speech-quashing ass the door. It's also worth noting that the Supreme Court smacked him down on numerous occasions by overturning the blatantly un-Constitutional laws that carried his name. But that hasn't stopped the supposedly civil liberties-loving Udall from rabidly pushing those laws again, because, as we all know, the greatest threat facing this nation is individuals banding together and pooling resources, in a democracy, to affect electoral change. This menace can only by fixed by Congress granting itself the authority to act as sole arbiter regarding exactly what citizens in a free society can say about politicians during election season, and when they can say it. Seriously, anyone who thinks it should be illegal, for example, to air a documentary critical of a politician(in the case of Citizens United, it was Hillary Clinton) prior to an election only makes an ass of himself when he claims he is such a strong supporter of "civil liberties". The same can be said of blatantly partisan websites making the same claims. You have absolutely no business harping about the trampling of civil liberties when you actively support such bullshit laws.

    Why don't the bloggers who run this site do us all a favor and quit pretending they wouldn't endorse the Democrat in CO no matter his record on "civil liberties". You aren't fooling anyone.

    Udall is toast, and all I have to say is "Good fucking riddance".

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