Members of the House Freedom Caucus released a statement Wednesday morning vowing to vote against any reauthorization of the FISA court unless serious and substantial changes are made to the spying program.
"Members of the Freedom Caucus have long called for reforms to FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act). Recent revelations that FISA was severely and repeatedly used to spy on a presidential campaign are beyond the pale—if the government can misuse this system to spy on a presidential campaign, they can surely do it to any other American citizen," members of the caucus said. "As Congress considers reauthorizing FISA, anything short of significant and substantive reforms would betray the trust of the American people. The House Freedom Caucus will oppose any bill that does not meet a Constitutional standard for the protections of American citizens’ rights. We will also oppose any ‘clean’, short-term reauthorization of the current, harmful version of FISA."
Members of the Freedom Caucus include House Oversight Committee Ranking member Jim Jordan, Paul Gosar, Louie Gohmert, Matt Gaetz, Chip Roy and other long time critics of FISA.
The Comey FBI lied to the FISA Court 17 times.— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) March 6, 2020
They spied on Carter Page while he was exercising his right to affiliate with the political campaign of Donald Trump.
When secret courts undermine the First Amendment, we gotta change the law. FISA reform now.
The FISA draft is more than disappointing... it provides protections for politicians but not citizens. @realDonaldTrump should veto rather than perpetuating the very deep state swamp he went to DC to drain. #FISAReform— Chip Roy (@chiproytx) March 10, 2020
Former Congressman Mark Meadows, who is now President Trump's White House Chief of Staff, is also a founding member of the group.
"Enhanced penalties for abusing the system and additional layers of certification from the Department of Justice and the FBI are insufficient to gain our support, particularly when, to date, no one has been charged with a crime for previous abuses," the statement continues. "A proposal for additional scrutiny when elected officials and candidates are the target of investigations similarly misses the point: politicians don’t need more protection from government spying than their fellow citizens. More fundamental changes to standards of evidence and process that mirror as closely as possible our Article III courts are needed to gain our support."
Yesterday the House reached a compromise on how to move a bill, sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, forward for reauthorization of the program. It does not reform the system that was used as a political weapon against President Trump in 2016 and well into his presidency.
The House FISA deal doesn’t fix what’s wrong with FISA. It would not have stopped the spying that occurred against @realDonaldTrump. I will do everything I can to oppose it in the Senate. If it passes, @realDonaldTrump should veto it.— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) March 10, 2020
Even where the House FISA / PATRIOT Act deal claims to offer modest protection for political candidates and elected officials, it doesn’t provide the same protection for the American people! @realDonaldTrump has asked for real FISA reforms, not fake ones. Sad!— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) March 11, 2020