Did Michele Bachmann really apologize for her YES vote on the Patriot Act? Unfortunately not: that was an April Fools’ Day joke. But Rep. Bachmann really did appear, along with Representatives Allen West and Mike Pence, before a crowd of about 300 assembled in Washington DC on March 31 2011.
That crowd was gathered by Tea Party Patriots, Inc., which describes itself as “a non-partisan grassroots organization of individuals united by our core values derived from the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States of America, the Bill Of Rights.” The Constitution and the Bill of Rights more specifically contain the Fourth Amendment, which declares:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
On February 14 2011, the House of Representatives voted to renew three provisions of the Patriot Act, provisions that allow the government to engage in surveillance, search and seizure without constitutionally-required probable cause warrants.
Michele Bachmann voted YES to reauthorize the Patriot Act. Mike Pence voted YES to reauthorize the Patriot Act. Allen West voted YES to reauthorize the Patriot Act. Not one of them apologized to the Tea Party crowd for supporting the Patriot Act, which says something about the priorities of these members of Congress. The assembled Tea Party crowd cheered loudly for each one of them, which says something about the priorities of Tea Party activists.