Tag Archives: Justin Amash

Reps. Amash, Massie Blast Congressional Spending Bill for ‘Unconstitutional’ Surveillance Measures

The last-minute addition of the Cybersecurity Act of 2015 to a massive Congressional spending bill has drawn criticism from Representatives who call the provisions unconstitutional, and say that they are an excuse for the U.S. government to expand warrantless domestic cyber surveillance.

In a statement to Truth In Media on Thursday, Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) said he does not support the bill, and he sees it as possibly the “worst anti-privacy vote” since the Patriot Act in 2001.

[pull_quote_center]A vote for the omnibus is a vote to support unconstitutional surveillance on all Americans. It’s probably the worst anti-privacy vote in Congress since the Patriot Act.[/pull_quote_center]

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) released a statement on his Facebook page on Wednesday, claiming that he learned of the addition of the “completely unrelated legislation to expand warrantless domestic cyber surveillance” on Tuesday night.

[pull_quote_center]We learned last night that in addition to unsustainable spending, the giant omnibus includes completely unrelated legislation to expand warrantless domestic cyber surveillance and to repeal country of origin labeling for meat sold in the U.S. I will be voting no on Thursday.[/pull_quote_center]

The Cybersecurity Act of 2015 brings together provisions from other bills that have been passed in either the House or the Senate in 2015, such as the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) and the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), which both give the U.S. government access to Internet traffic information from technology and manufacturing companies.

[RELATED: Surveillance Bill Masked As ‘Cybersecurity’ Close to Completion]

As previously reported, while “sharing of intelligence is supposed to be voluntary,” critics of the bill say the provisions “will only increase the indiscriminate monitoring of legal activity by giving companies immunity from lawsuits for sharing information with the government.”

Amash told Truth in Media he believes the surveillance provisions were “quietly slipped” into the massive spending bill in an attempt to “avoid full scrutiny.”

[pull_quote_center]These provisions were quietly slipped into the omnibus to avoid full scrutiny. We take an oath to defend the Constitution, and our Fourth Amendment privacy protections are as important as anything.[/pull_quote_center]

IVN: 5 Politicians Taking A Stand Against More Surveillance After Paris

By Carl Wicklander  Since the Paris terrorist attacks on November 13, various mainstream news outlets have noted that the politics of surveillance have shifted. A shift would indicate that instead of rolling back surveillance policies in favor of more privacy, more invasive policies could be enacted.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio used the attacks to accuse fellow Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Rand Paul of forcing a “weakening of our intelligence-gathering capabilities” that ultimately “leaves America vulnerable.” Yet despite this shift, there are still at least 5 politicians who remain consistent about surveillance after Paris.

1. U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (MI-03)

On Twitter, Amash, a noted critic of surveillance policies, wrote of Rubio’s support for a bill to extend the bulk collection of metadata that was a key provision of the Patriot Act:

.just cosponsored bill to extend unconstitutional spying on all Americans. He’d fit right in with GOP of past.

2. U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie (KY-04)

The Kentucky representative told ABC News over Thanksgiving weekend how the immediate aftermath of a tragedy is the time when the government tries to capitalize on citizens’ fears to expand its power:

“Within six weeks of 9/11 they passed the Patriot Act. And it’s only natural they would try to do the same thing this time.”

3. U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (KY)

Calling the argument that the Paris attacks required more surveillance “bullshit,” Sen. Paul also noted that surveillance policies of the past and present did not stop the Paris attacks:

“They are collecting your phone records as we speak, they did not miss a beat, even though we voted on reform, all your phone records are being collected and stored in Utah. Did it stop the attack in Paris? No.”

4. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (TX)

One of the candidates attacked by Rubio for opposing Patriot Act bulk collections, Cruz responded that his rival:

“…is trying to respond to the criticism that he has received that he is not willing to protect the Fourth Amendment privacy rights of law-abiding citizens.”

Separately, Cruz posted one of his endorsements on Twitter which noted his role in passing the USA Freedom Act:

“[Cruz] will use every tool we have to win, but he will never betray the very Constitution we are sworn to defend.”

Even before its passage, there was fierce debate about how much privacy the Freedom Act provided Americans, but Cruz’s positions have indicated that more surveillance is not the answer.

5. U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (OR)

The Oregon Democrat has long been a critic of Washington’s surveillance policies. Echoing some of the sentiments of Paul and Massie, Wyden explained that broadly-defined powers are not even effective, which was also the case in France where an aggressive surveillance law was passed following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January:

“While some people seem eager to seize on this crisis to resurrect failed policies of the past, the facts show mass surveillance doesn’t protect us from terrorist attacks.”



Republished with permission by IVN.

NSA Metadata Collection Has Come To An ‘Official End’

WASHINGTON, November 30, 2015– When the clock struck 12:00 AM on Thanksgiving weekend’s Sunday morning, the National Security Agency (NSA) was forced to end virtually all metadata collection of phone calls made in the United States. Key word: virtually.

In June, Congress passed the USA Freedom Act, which was signed by President Obama. The legislation vested the responsibility of data collection and storage with telecom companies, rather than a government agency.

Still, on both sides of the issue, some remain skeptics of the USA Freedom Act.

Judge Andrew Napolitano says nothing substantial has changed and that claims made by politicians that a ‘court order’ is needed under the USA Freedom Act, whereas one was not previously required, are misleading.

“When politicians tell you that the NSA needs a court order in order to listen to your phone calls or read your emails, they are talking about a FISA court order that is based on government need- not a constitutional court order, which can only be based on probable cause,” said Napolitano. “This is an insidious and unconstitutional bait and switch.”

However, even the most minuscule changes within the USA Freedom Act were enough for United States Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to fight against until the very last moments. The two attempted to use the Paris terror attacks as warrant for extending and strengthening the current NSA spy program.

Meanwhile, United States Congressman Justin Amash (R-Mich.) was an original co-sponsor of the legislation, but backed out of supporting the bill and actually voted against the final version because it was stripped down and “looked little like the original bill” he had worked to draft and lobby for.

Amash posted a lengthy explanation on Facebook in May:

“I am an original cosponsor of the Freedom Act, and I was involved in its drafting. At its best, the Freedom Act would have reined in the government’s unconstitutional domestic spying programs, ended the indiscriminate collection of Americans’ private records, and made the secret FISA court function more like a real court—with real arguments and real adversaries.

I was and am proud of the work our group, led by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, did to promote this legislation, as originally drafted.

However, the revised bill that makes its way to the House floor this morning doesn’t look much like the Freedom Act.

This morning’s bill maintains and codifies a large-scale, unconstitutional domestic spying program. It claims to end “bulk collection” of Americans’ data only in a very technical sense: The bill prohibits the government from, for example, ordering a telephone company to turn over all its call records every day.

But the bill was so weakened in behind-the-scenes negotiations over the last week that the government still can order—without probable cause—a telephone company to turn over all call records for “area code 616” or for “phone calls made east of the Mississippi.” The bill green-lights the government’s massive data collection activities that sweep up Americans’ records in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

The bill does include a few modest improvements to current law. The secret FISA court that approves government surveillance must publish its most significant opinions so that Americans can have some idea of what surveillance the government is doing. The bill authorizes (but does not require) the FISA court to appoint lawyers to argue for Americans’ privacy rights, whereas the court now only hears from one side before ruling.

But while the original version of the Freedom Act allowed Sec. 215 of the Patriot Act to expire in June 2015, this morning’s bill extends the life of that controversial section for more than two years, through 2017.

I thank Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte for pursuing surveillance reform. I respect Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner and Rep. John Conyers for their work on this issue.

It’s shameful that the president of the United States, the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the leaders of the country’s surveillance agencies refuse to accept consensus reforms that will keep our country safe while upholding the Constitution. And it mocks our system of government that they worked to gut key provisions of the Freedom Act behind closed doors.

The American people demand that the Constitution be respected, that our rights and liberties be secured, and that the government stay out of our private lives. Fortunately, there is a growing group of representatives on both sides of the aisle who get it. In the 10 months since I proposed the Amash Amendment to end mass surveillance, we’ve made big gains.

We will succeed.”

FOLLOW MICHAEL LOTFI ON Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn.

Rand Paul To Force The Expiration of NSA Spy Program

Senator and Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul (R-KY) will be spending Sunday forcing the expiration the Patriot Act’s surveillance provisions.

On Saturday, Paul made a declaration to refuse to allow any votes that would extend current law beyond its June 1st expiration, as well any votes for the USA Freedom Act that would reform portions of the Patriot Act.

Paul’s statement is in full below.

“I have fought for several years now to end the illegal spying of the NSA on ordinary Americans. The callous use of general warrants and the disregard for the Bill of Rights must end. Forcing us to choose between our rights and our safety is a false choice and we are better than that as a nation and as a people.

That’s why two years ago, I sued the NSA. It’s why I proposed the Fourth Amendment Protection Act. It’s why I have been seeking for months to have a full, open and honest debate on this issue– a debate that never came.

So last week, seeing proponents of this illegal spying rushing toward a deadline to wholesale renew this unconstitutional power, I filibustered the bill. I spoke for over 10 hours to call attention to the vast expansion of the spy state and the corresponding erosion of our liberties.

Then, last week, I further blocked the extension of these powers and the Senate adjourned for recess rather than stay and debate them.

Tomorrow, we will come back with just hours left before the NSA illegal spying powers expire.

Let me be clear: I acknowledge the need for a robust intelligence agency and for a vigilant national security. I believe we must fight terrorism, and I believe we must stand strong against our enemies.

But we do not need to give up who we are to defeat them. In fact, we must not.

There has to be another way. We must find it together. So tomorrow,

[bctt tweet=”I will force the expiration of the NSA illegal spy program. @RandPaul”]

I am ready and willing to start the debate on how we fight terrorism without giving up our liberty.

Sometimes when the problem is big enough, you just have to start over. The tax code and our regulatory burdens are two good examples.

Fighting against unconditional, illegal powers that take away our rights, taken by previous Congresses and administrations is just as important.

I do not do this to obstruct. I do it to build something better, more effective, more lasting, and more cognizant of who we are as Americans.”

Joining the fight against Patriot Act surveillance extension is Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI), who has been attending the House of Representatives’ pro forma sessions to block Speaker John Boehner from using low turnout to hold voice votes to extend the legislation’s spying provisions. Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY) has joined Amash in keeping watch over a mostly empty House floor. “It only takes one of 435 members to be here on the floor of the House to stop something from passing on unanimous consent,” said Massie.

Rep. Amash Skips House Recess to Make Sure Speaker Boehner Does Not Extend PATRIOT Act

Most of Congress might be away for the week, but the chess game between civil libertarians and security hawks over the USA PATRIOT Act’s expiring bulk phone records collection powers rages on unabated. After Senator Rand Paul ran the clock out on the PATRIOT Act by first filibustering and then objecting to even the briefest extensions of the legislation’s Section 215 spying authority until the moment the Senate left for recess, the Obama administration began to wind down the National Security Agency’s mass hoarding of Americans’ private data.

An emergency Senate session has been planned for May 31 as security hawks lobby to extend the expiring spy powers while civil libertarians attempt to hold the line and block any extension before the legislation’s June 1 expiration date. However, according to The Hill, pro-privacy Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI) fears that House Speaker John Boehner may attempt to take advantage of this week’s low turnout at pro forma House sessions to sneak through an extension of the PATRIOT Act via voice vote. Consequently, Amash has decided to skip recess and attend the pro forma sessions to ensure that a PATRIOT Act reauthorization or extension does not slip through the House of Representatives.

Though John Boehner’s aides have said that he will not use the underhanded technique to override the will of the House, Justin Amash tweeted the Ronald Reagan quote “Trust, but verify” as he left Tuesday’s uneventful pro forma session. Pro-privacy Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY) said last Thursday, “I just asked for an assurance [that Boehner will not extend the PATRIOT Act via voice vote] and they wouldn’t give it to me.”

Another pro forma session, viewed largely as a poorly-attended formality during recess weeks, is scheduled for Friday.

The Hill‘s Julian Hattem wrote, “Both Amash and [Congressman] Massie took up space on the Senate floor during the upper chamber’s frenzied voting late Friday night, and could be seen repeatedly huddling with like-minded Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who stood as an obstacle to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) plans for a ‘clean’ short-term extension… The House members’ presence at the Senate votes caused many watchers to speculate they would spend the week in Washington to keep an eye on the House.”

Though the House of Representatives did pass the USA FREEDOM Act, a bill that many representatives say does not include the sweeping Section 215 spy powers, Congressman Justin Amash has suggested that the legislation would instead force private companies to spy on behalf of the government. The USA FREEDOM Act has not yet prevailed in the Senate.

Earlier this month, a federal appeals court ruled that the NSA’s unpopular bulk data collection program is illegal.

Senate Majority Leader McConnell Pushes for Two-Month PATRIOT Act Extension

In the past, long term re-authorizations of the USA PATRIOT Act have sailed through the Senate without controversy, but recent events have set up en epic battle between privacy advocates and national security hawks. Earlier this month, a federal appeals court ruled that the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ cell phone records, authorized under the PATRIOT Act, is illegal. However, judges on the court stopped short of issuing an injunction that would terminate the program since its authorization expires on June 1.

Meanwhile, Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) are threatening to filibuster the renewal of PATRIOT Act section 215, which authorizes the NSA’s unpopular domestic cell phone spying program. The USA FREEDOM Act, which has been promoted by supporters as an effort to end the bulk phone records collection program, just passed the House of Representatives. However, congressional privacy advocates have said that the bill does not so much end the NSA program but instead outsources the job to private corporations by requiring them to, according to Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI), “hold, search, and analyze certain data at the request of the government.”

Now, National Journal is reporting that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has introduced a fast-track extension of the PATRIOT Act that would only re-authorize domestic spying through July 31. National Journal‘s Dustin Volz wrote, “By introducing a short-term clean re-authorization in addition to the House-passed reform measure known as the USA Freedom Act, McConnell may be seeking to forge some sort of compromise between the two measures. The Kentucky Republican and a group of GOP defense hawks have made a forceful case over the past month that reforms to the NSA’s surveillance operations could make Americans more vulnerable to terrorist attacks.”

Congressman Amash advanced his own theory on Twitter as to what McConnell intends to do and said, “McConnell is savvy. He likely supports #USAFreedomAct, b/c it authorizes bulk collection & NSA/FBI support it. But by pushing for clean #PatriotAct, McConnell buys leverage to make #USAFreedomAct even worse. He wins unless pro-privacy forces unite.”

Politico notes that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said, “How can one reauthorize something that’s illegal? This is not a partisan issue… Democrats and Republicans are united in reforming the National Security Agency and how they collect their data.”

A bipartisan joint statement by Senators Mike Lee and Ron Wyden read, “We will not agree to any extension of the NSA’s bulk-collection program, which has already been ruled unlawful by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. The Senate should not delay reform again this year.”

If the Senate does not act before June 1, the PATRIOT Act’s domestic spying provisions will expire. The Senate is preparing to consider three bills next week to address that controversy: the USA FREEDOM Act, a two-month extension of the PATRIOT Act, and a five-year PATRIOT Act re-authorization.

USA Freedom Act Passes Congress, Rep. Amash says It Will NOT End Bulk Data Collection

The USA Freedom Act has passed the United States House of Representatives overwhelmingly with 338 votes in favor and 88 against.  It now moves to the U.S. Senate.

Congressman Justin Amash, who has the strongest voting record in Congress on Constitutional issues, was one of the 88 votes against the “Freedom Act.”  On his Facebook page, Amash explains why he voted the way he did.  In part, he writes:

The bill’s sponsors, and unfortunately some outside advocacy groups, wrongly claim that H.R. 2048 ends “bulk” collection. It’s true that the bill ends the phone dragnet as we currently know it—by having the phone companies themselves hold, search, and analyze certain data at the request of the government, which is worse in many ways given the broader set of data the companies hold—but H.R. 2048 actually expands the statutory basis for the large-scale collection of most data.

H.R. 2048 does this by authorizing the government to order the production of records based upon a “specific selection term” (i.e., like a search term used in a search engine). The records sought still must be relevant to an investigation, so it’s possible the court’s ruling will continue to restrain the government in some fashion. But it’s more likely a court looking at H.R. 2048’s language will see the “specific selection term” as defining the outer limits of what Congress considers acceptably “relevant” under Section 215.- Rep. Justin Amash (R) MI

Proponents of the bill say that under the USA Freedom Act, the NSA would be prohibited from collecting telephone metadata under the Patriot Act. Instead, the agency would have to acquire a warrant every time it wanted to access phone records, which would be held by telephone companies. Officials would need to submit data requests via keywords in order to collect relevant data from companies.

The bill would also reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court) by setting up a five-person panel that would offer advise when intelligence agencies are seeking new interpretations of existing law. Some court rulings would need to be declassified.

CPAC Straw Poll Winner Rand Paul Battles The Bush Machine—Goldwater Style

WASHINGTON, February 28, 2015—As the winner of the past three Conservative Political Action Committee’s (CPAC) Straw Polls, Senator Rand Paul excels at generating meaningful political and economic discussions among college students and young professionals. The same generation that is known for speaking in bewildering acronyms continues to gather in force to ask and to answer difficult questions that are essential to the life and liberty of all Americans. Their answers will ultimately determine the future of the nation.

The Senator’s most recent economic stand will endear him to anyone who has ever interfaced with the Internal Revenue Service. He promised to introduce the largest tax cut in American history. In his speech to attendees of CPAC, he mentioned that he is poised to propose a tax plan “that would get the IRS out of our lives.” He indicated his intention to cut taxes “for everyone from the richest to the poorest.”

“It’s time for a new way predicated on opportunity and freedom!” said Paul to a wildly supportive crowd. The Senator attacked America’s indiscriminate foreign aid policies, especially the large sums of money sent without the permission of taxpayers to countries that consider The United States an enemy. “Not one penny more to these haters of America!” said Paul.

His speech had the tenor of a well-run, focused campaign and was eerily similar to comments made by Senator Barry Goldwater exactly 50 years ago on the campaign trail leading up to his landmark GOP presidential nomination. “You cannot stop a man who has vowed to bury you by handing him a shovel,” said Goldwater, “By feeding and clothing his friends, while denying your friends the means to help protect you!” Goldwater believed that removing foreign aid would ultimately prevent wars.

Several members of the Young Jewish Conservatives attending CPAC this year specifically mentioned the foreign aid issue as a driving force behind their support for Rand Paul for president. Paul’s straight talk appeals to countless concerned Americans who are fed up with politics as usual, feel betrayed by the Party Machine, and fear that the United States is on an irreversible course similar to that of the Titanic—or Greece.

Two weeks prior to CPAC, the Students for Liberty (SFL) held its national conference in Washington, D.C. More than 1,700 students from across the world attended. The group was largely inspired by the ideas presented to them by Senator Paul’s father, Congressman Ron Paul. Now it is the fastest-growing political group on college campuses globally, and is surpassing both the College Democrats and College Republicans groups on American campuses.

Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) is another group inspired by the Paul family’s articulation of limited government principles. Many YAL members were active in the GOP for years before they understood the liberty message, realized how well it resonates, and committed to passionately fight to preserve it. The large presence of both SFL and YAL at CPAC is telling, and has seemingly eliminated the establishment hostilities doled out to them by fellow attendees when they were the minority at previous conferences. The young libertarians gladly swap testimonies of political enlightenment with a fervor nostalgic of a tent revival meeting. They are also getting elected to offices across the land, a clear sign that they are not going away anytime soon.

Freedom is popular, it seems, and the Bill of Rights is back en vogue with a new generation of American rebels. This energy threatens to change the go-along-to-get-along, aging Republican establishment, which is why the party profiteers are so quick to strike back at the resurgence of old school conservatism.

The same Rockefeller Republicans who sandbagged Goldwater after he won the GOP nomination from the floor are currently working financial and legal channels on behalf of Jeb Bush. The 2016 Republican nomination is seemingly fixed for the top fundraiser and his delegate-donors, a complete violation of the nominating process. Sources say Jeb Bush bussed hundreds of people to CPAC from their Washington offices just to fill seats during his speech and to presumably raise his standing in the straw poll. This effort did not succeed in preventing him from being handily booed every time his name was mentioned, including while he addressed the attendees who remained after a protest/walkout. His temporary seat-filling strategy was met with disdain by attendees who saved and spent their own money to attend the duration of the event and cast their ballots.

One of Paul’s leading critics is fellow Senator and former GOP nominee John McCain, a man who praises Goldwater with his lips while shunning everything he stood for by his actions.  Just two years ago, the 80-year-old McCain called Senators Paul and Cruz, as well as Congressman Justin Amash, “wacko birds.” He called their supporters, the Under 40 crowd that supports Paul’s limited government principles, “impressionable libertarian kids.”

Yet, the vibrant, liberty-leaning younger crowd that has wrestled its way into the GOP is the only fresh blood coursing through the Party’s very old veins. Perhaps the current Republican Party leadership is not the right body from which to expect kind words of “big tent” gratitude. The crowds who now stand with Rand don’t seem to care. Their vision is clear, and they know they will eventually outlive the generation that got the country into this mess in the first place. They seem to be ready to get to work.

Rep. Justin Amash has tough questions for Obama after ISIS speech

GRAND RAPIDS, September 11, 2014 – Wednesday night, Congressman Justin Amash (R-Michigan) had several questions following President Barack Obama’s address to the nation regarding America’s response to ISIS. Obama announced plans to expand the U.S. air campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) through “a comprehensive and sustained greater terrorism strategy” and maintained that he had the authority to act without congressional approval.

Amash took to his Facebook page to express his concerns stating, “When our government orders our young men and women into harm’s way, our leaders have a duty to define the mission, set a plausible strategy, and explain why the risk of our children’s lives and our citizens’ resources is justified. President Obama has failed to fulfill those obligations.”

In Amash’s opinion, Obama’s speech lacked many basic, yet vital details the American people need before further military action is taken. Some of these details include the cost, duration, risk and contributions of allies for this undertaking. You can read Amash’s full comments here:

Follow Michael Lotfi on Facebook & Twitter.

Ben Swann: Is Rand Paul The Face Of “Justice” In The GOP?

Ben Swann, filling in for Steve Malzberg on NewsMaxTV interviewed contributing editor of Rare.us and former aide to Sen. Rand Paul, Jack Hunter. Hunter joins Ben to discuss his Politico column, “What Rand Paul Can Teach the Republican Party about Race”. The discussion covers whether Sen. Paul and Congressmen such as Rep. Thomas Massie and Rep. Justin Amash will be able to bring a sense of justice to the GOP.

Justin Amash To Opponent Brian Ellis After Primary Victory: “I Ran For Office To Stop People Like You”

Michigan Rep. Justin Amash defeated opponent Brian Ellis last night in the Republican primary for Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District Tuesday, winning with 57% of the votes over Ellis’s 43%. Amash voiced gratitude to his supporters, but did not hesitate to criticize Ellis for the methods used for his campaign.

After thanking grassroots support and expressing his satisfaction with the energy surrounding his campaign, Amash first berated lobbyist and former Michigan state representative Pete Hoekstra, who supported Ellis in the primary and made an appearance in an anti-Amash ad for Ellis.

“I want to say to lobbyist Pete Hoekstra- you’re a disgrace, and I’m glad we can hand you one more loss before you fade into total obscurity and irrelevance,” Amash said to the cheering crowd.

Amash then chastised Ellis:

“To Brian Ellis, you owe my family and this community an apology for your disgusting, despicable smear campaign. You have the audacity to try to call me today after running a campaign that was called the nastiest in the country. I ran for office to stop people like you. To stop people who are more interested in themselves than what’s doing best for their districts.”

Ellis had released a number of ads against Amash, including one in which Amash was accused of supporting abortion because he had voted against a gender-selection abortion ban due to the bill’s language and potential unintended consequences. In another Ellis ad, Amash was called “Al Qaeda’s best friend in Congress” for wanting to close Guantanamo Bay.

“I’m an Arab-American, and he has the audacity to say I’m Al-Queda’s best friend in Congress. That’s pretty disgusting, and he owes us an apology- he owes the community an apology for what he’s done,” Amash said in an interview with Fox17  Tuesday. Amash also asserted that he is “100% pro-life”.

Amash will now face Democrat Bob Goodrich in November’s general election.

Congressman: President’s Push To End Data Collection, Will Actually Increase Collection

Just by reading the name, the average American would believe that a new bill being crafted by the Obama administration to end NSA data collection, or a simultaneous effort being pushed through the House Intelligence Committee by Rep. Mike Rogers would lead to the end of data collection on hundreds of millions of Americans.  After all, these bills with names like “End Bulk Collection Act” sound like they will free the American people from NSA spying.

Newspaper, television and internet story headlines read “ White House plan would end NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone data”.  Sounds like the NSA spying program is coming to an end.

Not so, says Michigan Congressman Justin Amash who voted against the House version of the “End Bulk Collection” bill.  Amash, a Republican two term Congressman, was a guest on the Ben Swann Radio Show Wednesday.  He says the bill sounds like it will lead to the end of data collection but when you get into the details, the bill could actually expand collection.

“It actually expands the scope of collection, of unconstitutional collection.  It is called the “End Bulk Collection Act.”  It is like we are in some dystopian future where government calls a bill something that has the opposite affect of what title is.” says Rep. Amash.

The major point brought up by the Congressman is that despite the name “End Bulk Collection”, the bill does not to end collection of data, rather it shifts the responsibility of collection from the NSA to private phone companies.

“They are going to transfer where the phone data is collected so that it is not stored by the government but it is instead stored by the phone companies. Where it is stored is not really the main problem.”

Congressman Amash goes on to say that by correcting “who” is storing the information does not to resolve the constitutionality of bulk collection of data.

“The problem is the unconstitutional search and seizure of people’s information.  Even if it is stored about the phone companies, the phone companies are now acting as agents of the government and provide the government even more information than they have today.  That doesn’t put us in a better position, it puts us in a worse position.”

So how is it that the American public has no clue that the “End Bulk Collection Act” or the President’s new proposal would actually increase bulk collection?  Rep. Amash says you can blame that, in part, on a complacent media.

“Last night I saw all these headlines about how the President and the Intelligence Committee were going to end the bulk collection of data as though they are resolving the problem.  But the fact is they are not resolving the problem.  I would love to hear more about the President’s plan, maybe there are some good points to it.  But overall, when you look at the two proposals either from the President or from the Intelligence Committee, they sound like they’re not moving us in the right direction and they are not doing what the American people want which is to protect their privacy under the 4th amendment.”

Ben Swann Radio: Your Favorite Congressman & NY Times best-selling author Dr. Kevin Gutzman

LIVE on Ben Swann Radio this week, New York Times best-selling author, historian and professor Dr. Kevin Gutzman will join us this Friday. In addition to Dr. Gutzman, Politico calls him,”The House’s new Ron Paul.” Congressman Justin Amash (R-Mich.), currently locked in a fierce battle with the establishment, will be Ben’s guest on this Wednesday’s show.

Amash was first elected to US Congress in 2010 after serving on term as a Michigan state representative. His first bid for US Congress was endorsed by Congressman Dr. Ron Paul, FreedomWorks PAC and Club for Growth. Amash won reelection in 2012. Spectators noted that Amash may run for US Senate in 2014. However, Amash instead announced that he would run for reelection in the House.

Amash is currently the chairman of the United States House of Representatives Liberty Caucus. He has consistently been ranked the most conservative, liberty oriented federal representative in Congress. Brian Ellis, Amash’s current establishment Republican primary opponent, has unsuccessfully attempted to pain Amash as a liberal. The two are currently locked in a hot primary battle.

Amash will join us this Friday to discuss his reelection campaign, his congressional record and to answer a couple questions from callers.

Dr. Kevin R. C. Gutzman will follow Congressman Amash. Gutzman is a New York Times best-selling author of four books.  Professor of History at Western Connecticut State University, Gutzman holds a bachelor’s degree, a master of public affairs degree, and a law degree from the University of Texas at Austin, as well as an MA and a PhD in American history from the University of Virginia.  Happy to be a formerattorney, Gutzman devotes his intellectual energy to teaching courses in the Revolutionary and constitutional history of the United States, to writing books and articles in these fields, and to public speaking on related topics.

Dr. Gutzman’s first book was the New York Times best-seller The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution, an account of American constitutional history from the pre-Revolutionary days to the present. This work is unique in joining the fruits of the latest scholarship, a very readable presentation, and a distinctly Jeffersonian point of view. His second book,Virginia’s American Revolution: From Dominion to Republic, 1776-1840, explores the issue what the Revolutionaries made of the Revolution in Thomas Jefferson’s home state. After that, he co-authored Who Killed the Constitution? The Federal Government vs. American Liberty from World War I to Barack Obama with New York Times best-selling author Thomas E. Woods, Jr. Gutzman’s new book is James Madison and the Making of America, and he is already at work on Thomas Jefferson – Revolutionary (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2015 (forthcoming)).

Gutzman will be discussing the Fourteenth Amendment in detail concerning the incorporation doctrine with regards to the Bill of Rights. Gutzman will also clarify some misconceptions concerning James Madison and nullification. Finally, he will take questions from callers.

Be sure to check out all of this week’s great shows. You can catch the podcast on BenSwann.com, or on Youtube.

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Michael Lotfi will guest host on Friday. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter.

LOTFI: Is Rep. Justin Amash’s challenger doomed?

ellisIn a recent interview with the Weekly Standard, Brian Ellis, who is GOP Rep. Justin Amash’s primary challenger, provided a statement that should put the final nail in the coffin of his own campaign.

Ellis told the Weekly Standard that Amash should stop voting against bills because he thinks they violate the Constitution. “If something is unconstitutional, we have a court system that looks at that,” Ellis said.

Ellis’ statement needs to be dissected in order to understand the strain of big-government neoconservativism he personifies.

First, it should be noted that the oath of office demands that federal representatives are obedient to the Constitution itself, and not to the Court.

By Ellis’ logic, African-Americans are property and not humans. Why? The Supreme Court said so in Dred Scott v. Sandford.

By Ellis’ logic, the federal government can force you into the insurance market. What will happen if you refuse to comply? You will be forced to pay a “fine.” Why? The Supreme Court said so in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius.

By Ellis’ logic, a farmer can’t grow wheat for himself to feed his family and his animals during times of economic hardship. Why? The Supreme Court said so in Wickard v. Filburn.

By Ellis’ logic, the federal government can take all police powers away from the states. Why? The Supreme Court said so in Champion v. Ames.

By Ellis’ logic, the federal government can control essentially every ditch of rainwater, machine and employee, regardless of lines of commerce. Why? The Supreme Court said so in United States v. Darby.

The list goes on and on. It is essential for Americans to realize that the Supreme Court is not the final arbiter of law in this Republic.

It is important to remember that the Court offers an opinion, not a decree of final arbitration. We can refer back to Federalist No. 78 and Madison’s Report of 1800 to recall that the Court ceases being the final arbiter when the Court has become party to an unchecked, unconstitutional government. This right belongs to the people and the states respectively.

By Ellis’ logic, five individuals can pervert and redefine the Constitution at any given moment depending on the political and economic climate of the year.

If Americans wish to understand why our federal government has become a creature of vast usurpation of delegated powers, they should turn their eyes toward politicians like Ellis.

Rather than uphold their oath to the Constitution, they unconstitutionally delegate such tasks to a Court which hasn’t acted within its own constitutionally delegated power since Chief Justice John Marshall purposefully, and knowingly, corrupted the Court with his 1803 ruling on Marbury v. Madison.

With Ellis perpetuating such logic throughout the GOP, supporters of limited government need beware of his campaign to unseat Amash, a true champion of limited government.

(Opinion) Follow Micahel Lotfi on Facebook & on Twitter: @MichaelLotfi

Congressman Amash Raises Huge Sum Of Money In Less Than 48 Hours

Justin Amash

NASHVILLE, December 18, 2013 – The “money-bomb”, a fundraising tactic still foreign to many traditional campaigns, was exactly what Congressman Justin Amash (R-Mich.) needed to wage his war on the conservative establishment. The popular libertarian/tea party Republican’s Star Wars themed fundraising event, which was titled “The Establishment Strikes Back: Join the Rebel Alliance,” kicked off last Monday morning and was a huge success. In fact, the campaign website’s servers crashed due to large waves of donations flooding in.

The Washington Times conducted an exclusive telephone interview with the Amash campaign. “Originally we had only planned for a 24-hour event,” said Will Adams, an Amash campaign spokesman. “However, we extended the event an additional 24-hours due to the massive outpour of support.”

AmashForCongress.com crashed due to excessive volume shortly after 9:00 p.m. Monday. “After we hit $70k, the website was receiving so many donations that it crashed,” said Adams. Staffers quickly redirected the servers to the donation website to temporarily resolve the problem. According to Adams, the campaign event will finish with more than $100k before the 48-hour event ends.

The money-bomb is a relatively new fundraising tactic first developed by the campaign of former presidential candidate, Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas). Paul’s opponents were consistently shocked by his ability to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in a 24-hour time period through the internet. Campaign staffers and Amash, a close friend and ally to the Paul family, have taken note:

“The campaign team is thrilled with the donations and words of encouragement that have come in so far. It is an astonishing milestone to hit $100k in such a short amount of time. With continued support, we’ll be well-prepared to take on the PACs (political action committees) and special interests that want nothing more than to see Justin Amash out of Congress. This money-bomb shows that grassroots energy can go toe-to-toe with the Washington political class.”

Amash is being challenged by Brian Ellis, a Michigan businessman. Ellis, lacking parallel grassroots support, is heavily relying on moderate, establishment Republican PACs to fund his campaign against Amash.
Read more: HERE

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Rep. Justin Amash Destroys Challenger Brian Ellis on Local Talk Show

Michigan business leaders and the Republican establishment are putting money behind Brian Ellis to primary Rep. Justin Amash. They are unfairly blaming Amash for causing the Government shut down and criticizing his attempt to defund Obamacare.

On a local West Michigan radio show, Ellis said he is challenging Rep. Amash because his votes are not conservative enough, citing the Keystone Pipeline, the Paul Ryan budget, etc.

As Benswann.com’s Michael Lofti noted last month, Amash has a spotless record when it comes to core conservative values.

Ellis’ bizarre comment has sparked controversy in this heated race and is getting different reactions throughout the political spectrum.

“He’s the gold standard of principled constitutionalism in Congress,” Dean Clancy told The Hill. Clancy is the vice president of public policy at FreedomWorks and said, “We have heard that the K Street establishment wants to knock him off — and we intend to defend him punch-for-punch.”

The accusation of Amash’s voting record not being conservative conjured up a reaction from Amash himself who called the radio station to defend his record. Listen below.

Will Congressman Justin Amash Lose His Seat In 2014?

Congressman Amash (R-MI), a libertarian leaning republican, is a hero to those who support him. Amash has a spotless record when it comes to core conservative values. In fact, he’s even won awards for his strong votes. Yet, his support of civil liberties and sound economic policy have caused disdain from neoconservatives. Justin Amash

Karl Rove recently attacked Amash on national TV saying that he is far more liberal and votes with Nancy Pelosi more than any other House republican. In fact, the exact inverse is true. Amash votes against Pelosi more than any other House republican.

Regardless, businessman Brian Ellis is expected to formally announce his  campaign against Amash in the coming days. Ellis says that Michigan deserves a more “traditional conservative”. Perhaps he’s referring to the likes of George Bush, Lindsey Graham and John McCain.

Ellis’ campaign bio declares that he is a “fiscal and social conservative Republican who embraces traditional values, limited government, and strong national security.”

Ellis is reportedly well funded. A group of wealthy businessmen within the state are going to be backing him.  Karl Rove’s super PAC, “Conservative Victory Project”, could jump in to support Ellis. After all, Rove has already been misleading the country on where Amash stands, and the super PAC was created specifically to squash tea party/libertarian republicans from winning elections.

Members Of The House Say Boehner’s Days Are Numbered: “Farewell”

Speaker of the House John Boehner has been under the gun for well over a year now. In fact, conservative groups have attempted to campaign for the removal of the Ohio republican twice in recent months. Once over his actions with regards to the Benghazi scandal, and again after he removed some of the most fiscally conservative members of Congress from their positions of power. Congressman Justin Amash was among one of those removed.

When the time came to reelect Boehner there were a number of conservatives who voted against him. However, he kept his seat.

Judge Napolitano recently made an appearance on the Tom Sullivan Show where he discussed the passage of the recent continuing resolution, which reopened the federal government.

“I’m going to make a wild prediction. The next time there is a dispute of this magnitude, which will be February, a different human being will be the speaker of the House of Representatives,” says Napolitano.

Napolitano goes on to point out that Boehner no longer represents the leadership of the core conservatives in the House. His sources within the House clarify his prediction.

Sullivan points out that Boehner received a standing ovation upon passing the continuing resolution. “I think it was a farewell,” jokes Napolitano.

Napolitano clarifies that he has no problems with Boehner and believes that he is a wonderful person, but that he simply hasn’t done what he was elected to do.

You can watch the interview here.

Top Ten Moments In Conservative Politics For 2013 So Far

This year has played host to a paradigm shift in the Republican Party. That shift has been reflected in headlines again and again. The below list reflects that shift and some other top moments in 2013 conservative politics.


A satire piece, which jokingly cited Obama telling students not to celebrate the Fourth of July made headlines around the country last Summer. The piece was published just 2 days before the holiday and went viral. Viewed more than 500k times in only 2 days, many conservatives were enraged when they discovered the story they had shared was in fact satire.  As MSN News points out,

A label at the end of the short article reads in all capital letters: “POLITICAL SATIRE.” But not everyone reads to the end of articles, however short. For every hour Americans spend online, only two minutes is spent reading news, according to Experian, which doesn’t leave much time to absorb details like “satire” labels.

TheOnion.com ran a satire piece on Kim Jong-Un being the sexiest man alive a few months before this piece ran. Conservatives were delighted when the entire country of North Korea was fooled by the piece. However, when the tables were reversed it wasn’t funny. Perhaps the article taught us a lesson about actually reading versus seeing a 5 word headline and re-posting to our Facebook walls.


Conservatives knew they were onto something when Lois Lerner, a senior IRS official, took the Fifth claiming that she had nothing to do with the IRS targeting tea party political groups. They kept digging and discovered that Lerner was indeed involved. She had sent emails directly targeting the tea party.


Dr. Carson isn’t new to politics, but he made national headlines in his National Prayer Breakfast speech last February when he literally insulted Obama at an event where the President was featured to his face. Dr. Carson has been a household name since, and many are begging the Dr. to run for office.


A new libertarian leaning stronghold has emerged out of the United States Congress, and in 2013 their voices are being heard. Representative Justin Amash (R-MI) was attacked by Karl Rove, who called him, “The most liberal republican member of Congress.” Rove claimed Amash had the most similar voting record to Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Amash laughed back with facts. The fact is that Amash actually has the least similar voting record to Pelosi than any other member of the House. Rove Recently launched his Conservative Victory Project, which seeks to squash any tea party, libertarian leaning republicans who seek a run for office. Amash is joined by Rep. Thomas Massey (R-KY) who is being painted as Kentucky’s “Next Rand Paul”. United States Senators Mike Lee, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul form the Senate version. Harry Reid (D-NV) recently took to the Senate floor and proclaimed that Congress had been taken over by anarchists. The 5 horsemen are certainly not anarchists. They just aren’t socialists, and that upsets Harry Reid. Headlines around the country read, “Nation Has Arrived At A New Libertarian Movement” and these are its leaders.


Hillary Clinton, mulling over a presidential bid in 2016, gave conservatives all the ammunition they could ever need to take her down when she shocked the country by saying the talking points made no difference when it came to the Americans who had died in the Benghazi terrorist attack. To politicize Benghazi does no honor to the souls lost, but it’s the American way.


After the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy many in the country were calling for stricter gun laws. Democrats capitalized on the incident. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) made a name for himself when he infuriated Diane Feinstein (D-CA) with his Texas straight talk. Cruz challenged Fenstein’s knowledge and understanding of the Constitution to which she responded:

“I’m not a sixth grader,” said Feinstein. “Senator, I’ve been on this committee for 20 years. I was a mayor for nine years. I walked in, I saw people shot. I’ve looked at bodies that have been shot with these weapons. I’ve seen the bullets that implode. In Sandy Hook, youngsters were dismembered. Look, there are other weapons. I’ve been up — I’m not a lawyer, but after 20 years I’ve been up close and personal to the Constitution. I have great respect for it.”

 #4 Plead The Tenth

Nullification has experienced a recent renaissance in America. The Tenth Amendment Center, the driving force behind the rebirth of American nullification, has come under attack from mainstream democrats and republicans.

Michael Boldin, executive director, tells us:

“If you’re not catching any flak, you’re not over the target. Nullification is definitely over the target with the establishment on both the left and right using the same talking points to attack it. But truth seems to catch on, and the nullification movement keeps growing no matter what these people throw at us.”

It is the mission of the Tenth Amendment Center to pull back the hand of the federal government and return power to the states, which is where the Constitution delegates it. Polls show that more than 1/2 of Americans now support nullification.

#3 Ron Paul Retires From Congress

The man who quite literally started a revolution retired from Congress this year. Many heavy hearts watched his farewell speech and were sad to see him leave. Paul blatantly called his colleagues crooks to their faces, which they all applauded to by time the speech was over. It was quite comical.

 #2 John McCain To Retire? 

Thank God!

#1 “I will speak, until I can no longer speak.” -The Rand Paul Filibuster

My number one pick for conservative politics in 2013 so far was the Rand Paul filibuster. There’s no need to go into details about the filibuster as it made headlines around the world, and if you don’t know about it then you probably aren’t alive. Rand Paul became a viral sensation around the world that night. The 13 hour filibuster was front page news everywhere you looked. Paul trended to the top of Twitter, Facebook and Google. He also generated a new campaign slogan #StandWithRand. The “Stand With x Candidate” slogan has now been used in just about every republican campaign for the upcoming election. Even the establishment likes it. Except John McCain and Lindsey Graham of course who called Paul a wacko bird. Paul’s bone-chilling 13 hour speech captured the hearts and minds of the world, and many believe it is why he now sits at the top of the 2016 GOP Presidential polls.

Stay tuned and in 2014 I will update the list to include the Top 20 moments for the year.