Senate Majority Project

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Murkowski Gets Rolled on PATRIOT Act

Republican Left Off Committee, Fails To Deliver Republicans on Compromise

In her race for Senate, Lisa Murkowski promised to use her clout and influence with a Republican majority to help Alaskans. Now its looking more and more like she doesn’t have any. First, she was excluded from the mostly Republican panel negotiating a compromise, then her pleas to the team negotiating the deal went unheeded. Republicans virtually ignored her when the latest deal was struck to reauthorize the USA PATRIOT Act.

According to the Associated Press, House and Senate negotiators worked out a agreement that "would extend for now two of the Patriot Act's most controversial provisions -- authorizing "roving wiretaps" and permitting "secret warrants for books," records and other items from businesses, hospitals and organizations such as libraries. Those two provisions would expire in four years under the deal."

In April of this year, Murkowkski said, "While we certainly recognize the need for our law enforcement community to have the necessary tools to defeat terrorism, we can not offer security at the expense of the Constitutional freedoms that are at the heart of America."

In October, after the House backed the President rather than Murkowski, she said,
I encourage the conferees to accept our version and help achieve the result that we have agreed upon here in the Senate.”

And just last month she issued another plea to Republicans
“We have worked too long and too hard to allow this conference report to eliminate the modest protections for civil liberties”

Alaska TV Stations have said that Murkowski is “leading the fight,” but where Lisa Murkowski is leading, her Republican colleagues in the majority clearly ain’t following.

This, incidentally is not the first time in recent weeks that the Republican majority has tossed aside the concerns of their Alaska