Press Release

Released: July 1, 2008

BURLINGTON, VT, our nations largest progressive political action community, this morning sent a message to its over 725,000 members asking them to take action to stop the reauthorization of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. DFA members will be visiting their Senators district offices to demand that they stop the Presidents attempt to grant retroactive immunity to the telecommunications companies that participated in his program of illegal wiretapping. DFA has been at the lead of efforts to block retroactive immunity.

Retroactive immunity is an assault on the Constitution, said Jim Dean, Chair of Democracy for America. President Bush and Vice President Cheney cannot be allowed to give their cronies at AT&T and Verizon a get-out-of-jail free card.

Democracy for America members will be delivering directly to their Senators a strong message of opposition to this boldfaced attempt to cover up the Bush administrations illegal activities. DFA members will be carrying a message which demands that senators support a filibuster of the compromise FISA legislation. (DFA handout attached to this email)

In November of 2007, Sen. Harry Reid was forced, after his office received thousands of calls from Democracy for America members, to pull a FISA bill that included retroactive immunity from Senate consideration.

In the days before this years State of the Union address, Democracy for America members funded a full-page New York Times ad that called on Senators Clinton and Obama to show leadership, return to Washington, and support the filibuster in opposition to this attempt at retroactive immunity. Again, retroactive immunity was defeated after the Senate failed to garner enough votes to block a filibuster.

And, in March, Democracy for America targeted House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes. Rep. Reyes had indicated he was open to compromise on retroactive immunity. After thousands of calls to his offices in El Paso and Washington and a full-page ad in his districts largest paper, Rep. Reyes thought better of the compromise. Rep. Reyes stood with Speaker Pelosi and his committee produced a bill that did not contain retroactive immunity.

Over the past two weeks, Democracy for America members made tens of thousands of calls to their senators. These calls pushed back consideration of the FISA compromise till after the July recess.

Democracy for America members have been working to stop retroactive immunity; they have made calls, they have written letters, they have shown the strength of grassroots action, said Arshad Hasan, Executive Director of Democracy for America. Today, they are going to show their senators the true face of America. DFA members will let their senators know the protections guaranteed by the Constitution are not optional.

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