Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Amash, Liberty Caucus stop Patriot Act expansion

Amash and Liberty Caucus Defeat Bipartisan Attempt to Expand PATRIOT Act Power Over Banks - Joe Wolverton II, New American:

July 13, 2016 - "Score one for the Constitution, as the House of Representatives rejected a bill that would have expanded the government’s police power under the PATRIOT Act.

"The bill, HR 5606, would have required financial institutions to inform the federal government of any transactions bank officials suspect could be connected to the funding of terrorism.

"While a majority of congressmen voted in favor of the bill — it was approved 229-177 — a procedural tactic deployed by opponents required a supermajority for passage of the measure — a bar it failed to clear.

"Leading the coalition against the bill was Representative Justin Amash (R-Mich.), a consistent foe of the expansion of federal surveillance and a consistent friend of the Constitution.

"In a statement posted on Facebook, Amash explained his position on the proposed PATRIOT Act expansion....
H.R. 5606 is not about anti-terrorism. The bill improperly extends an anti-terrorism statute, the Patriot Act, to the investigation of domestic, non-terrorism crimes. Section 314 of the Patriot Act encourages the government to share information on terrorism and money laundering with financial institutions.... Treasury regulations, however, have flipped Section 314 on its head; the department has applied the section to require financial institutions to share information with the government. If H.R. 5606 becomes law, this section of the Patriot Act will become substantially more powerful and susceptible to abuse, because the Treasury may require financial institutions to share information on countless private transactions that have no connection to terrorism.

H.R. 5606 violates our Fourth Amendment-secured right against unreasonable searches and seizures. Under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, the government may not conduct unreasonable searches and seizures. With limited exception, a search or seizure is unreasonable if it occurs without probable cause and a warrant. Section 314 of the Patriot Act attempts to sidestep this constitutional protection by treating a domestic criminal investigation like a foreign terrorism investigation, and H.R. 5606 extends the applicability to a much wider range of criminal investigations....
"Fortunately, H.R. 5606 did not become the law, an accomplishment Amash says was 'against all odds.' Amash went on to thank his 'amazing staff for their tireless work.'

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