Buchanan Gets 'A' for Protecting Privacy Rights
Privacy Groups Praise Congressman’s Record
Coalition includes Sunlight Foundation and Freedom of Press Foundation
WASHINGTON – A coalition of privacy groups honored Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-FL, this week for his actions in Congress to reform the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance programs and protect the constitutional liberties of American citizens.
Twenty-one groups – including the Sunlight Foundation, Reddit and Freedom of the Press Foundation – gave Buchanan an ‘A’ grade on its first annual “Stand Against Spying” Congressional Scorecard.
“We believe that people have a right to know whether their members of Congress are doing their jobs and helping to end mass spying,” the groups said on the website housing the scorecard. “Our scorecard shines a light on all members of Congress, allowing citizens of the Internet to see whether their elected representatives stand as champions or roadblocks to real surveillance reform.”
Buchanan’s score reflects his votes and leadership in Congress to end the NSA’s dragnet collection of Americans’ personal information. This includes Buchanan’s support last month for an amendment in the 2015 Defense Appropriations bill to block the NSA from conducting warrantless searches of innocent Americans’ communications records. The landmark amendment passed the House 293-123 and now goes to the Senate for consideration. Buchanan’s grade also reflects his co-sponsorship of the original USA Freedom Act, sponsored by Congressman James Sensenbrenner, to add essential oversight and transparency to government surveillance programs without weakening national security.
“I believe that our strength as a nation flows from the values and freedoms set forth by our founding fathers, including the right against unreasonable searches and seizures,” said Buchanan, a member of the Congressional Privacy Caucus. “It’s imperative that both parties work together and institute reforms to protect the privacy and liberties of the American people.”
Last week, The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that police must obtain a warrant to search a suspect’s cell phone – a sweeping endorsement for privacy rights.