Search Representative Mary Jo Kilroy’s House website for references to “jobs,” and you’ll find 54 web pages. Search Rep. Kilroy’s House website for references to “FISA,” and you’ll find nothing. When I asked candidate Kilroy last summer for her position on the FISA Amendments Act, she said she had no position.
That’s odd, considering what a large issue surveillance, search and seizure without a warrant was in last year’s Congress. Last year, the House and Senate passed the FISA Amendments Act, a bill that permits the President to blow past the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and spy on Americans without a warrant. Earlier this year, that’s exactly what the Obama administration did. Liberal Americans howled when George W. Bush did it. But now, apparently, IOKIYBO.
The continued warrantless search and surveillance of Americans makes the issue current and germane. That’s why, when she took office, I wrote a letter to Representative Kilroy, the member of Congress for the 15th District of Ohio in which I reside. It took three months, two more letters, and repeated contacts with Kilroy’s office, but yesterday I finally received a response.
These were my requests for information to Representative Kilroy, verbatim from the final letter I sent to her office after others went unanswered:
1. Whether you support or oppose the warrantless search and surveillance authority granted under the FISA Amendments Act of 2008.
2. Whether you plan to take any legislative action regarding the provisions of the FISA Amendments Act during the 111th Congress, and if so, what action that might be.
3. Whether you plan to cosponsor H.R. 104, a bill to create a national investigative commission on presidential war powers and civil liberties, including authority to investigate practices of warrantless search and surveillance.
Her one paragraph of substantive response:
Should the issues surrounding FISA return to debate in the House, I will work to protect civil rights and ensure that our liberties are respected. I do not sit on the committee of jurisdiction that would handle any FISA related issues, but should any bill related to FISA reach the House floor, I will be sure to keep your concerns in mind.
On point 1, Mary Jo Kilroy gives a non-answer: nowhere in that paragraph does she indicate a specific position regarding the warrantless search and surveillance authority granted under the FISA Amendments Act of 2008. She writes that if the issues return to debate, “I will work to protect civil rights and ensure that our liberties are respected,” but that could mean anything. Indeed, those who voted FOR the FISA Amendments act used those very phrases. I have no more of an idea what Mary Jo Kilroy believes as a member of the House of Representatives in June of 2009 than I did when Mary Jo Kilroy gave me her non-response as a candidate in August of 2008.
On point 2, Mary Jo Kilroy is actually quite clear: she will not originate any bill regarding the FISA Amendments Act.
On point 3, Rep. Kilroy refused to respond entirely.