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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Democratic Lawmakers That Switched FISA Vote, Made More From Telecoms Than Those That Didn't

The MapLight Org has found that 94 Democratic lawmakers that voted for the House version of the FISA bill, without immunity for the telecoms (which didn't make it passed the Senate without immunity for telecoms being added back in) switched their vote for the latest compromise bill that has just recently passed the House, which includes immunity for telecoms. Those members made more money from telecoms that those that did not switch their votes

MapLight director Daniel Newman, also points out that there are many reasons that affect a lawmaker’s vote but, unlike pressure from constituents, campaign cash is not a “democratic influence.”

The 94 Democrats who changed their positions received on average $8,359 in contributions from Verizon, AT&T and Sprint from January, 2005, to March, 2008, according to the analysis by MAPLight, a nonpartisan organization that tracks the connection between campaign contributions and legislative outcomes.

Retroactive immunity could squash about 40 lawsuits pending against telecommunication companies that helped the government monitor the telecommunications traffic of Americans without warrants. The telecom industry has lobbied hard to insure that the provision is included in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act update Congress is currently considering.

The 116 Democrats who remained opposed to telecom immunity received an average of $4,987 from the telecoms during the three-year period, the analysis showed.

This, of course has certain members of the blogosphere using words like "bribed" and so on and so forth, completely ignoring that the compromise bill took months of work from House negotiators, some knowing they would be slammed by their own constituency for doing so and leaving the immunity in the bill.

Bottom line on FISA is originally the Senate passed a version that had immunity, the house then set it aside while negotiators worked on it, they all finally came to an agreement, passed it through the house last week and sent it back to the Senate.

Reid and others will try to strip immunity out as they have tried multiple times in the past and failed, but they already know they have the votes needed to pass it, because they have already passed a version that they claim this one is better than.

Also, despite Senators Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) saying they will filibuster the bill with immuity that the house passed, the last time the Senate voted it was approved by 69 to 29, and 60 votes is all that is needed to bypass the filibuster, so it is simply a "show" for those gullible enough to believe it will do any good.