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2005 Ron Paul 87:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.
The Acting CHAIRMAN. The Clerk will designate the amendment. mBR>
The text of the amendment is as follows: Amendment No. 19 offered by Mr. PAUL:
Add at the end the following: mBR>
SEC. 17. SENSE OF CONGRESS RELATING TO LAWFUL POLITICAL ACTIVITY.
It is the sense of Congress that the Federal Government should not investigate an American citizen for alleged criminal conduct solely on the basis of the citizens membership in a non-violent political organization or the fact that the citizen was engaging in other lawful political activity.
The Acting CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to House Resolution 369, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. PAUL) and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Texas (Mr. PAUL).
2005 Ron Paul 87:2
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 2 1/2 minutes.
2005 Ron Paul 87:3
Mr. Chairman, this is a straightforward amendment intended to modestly improve the PATRIOT Act, and let me just state exactly what it does. It is the sense of Congress that the Federal government should not investigate any American citizen for alleged criminal conduct solely on the basis of citizens membership in a nonviolent political organization or the fact that the citizen was engaging in other lawful political activity.
2005 Ron Paul 87:4
It seems like this should go without saying. I cannot imagine anybody disagreeing with this. But our history shows that there has been abuse in this area. As far back as the Civil War, World War I, and World War II, very often speaking out on political issues were met with law enforcement officials actually charging them with crimes and even having individuals imprisoned. In the 1960s we remember that there was wiretapping of Martin Luther King and other political organizations. In the 1970s we know about the illegal wiretapping and other activities associated with Watergate, and also in the 1990s we are aware of IRS audits of a political and religious organization based only on the fact that they were religious and political.
2005 Ron Paul 87:5
So this is a restatement of a fundamental principle that should be in our minds and in our law, but I think it is worthwhile to restate. And I do recognize that in the PATRIOT Act they recognize that the first amendment should be protected, and in this case I think it is an additional statement that we should be respectful of peoples rights to speak out and not be singled out for political or religious viewpoints.
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
2005 Ron Paul 87:6
Mr. PAUL. I yield to the gentleman from Wisconsin.
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Texas for yielding.
I support this amendment. I think it merely restates the fact that people who are not involved in criminal or terrorist activities have nothing to fear from the PATRIOT Act. The first amendment protects free speech. It protects political association. As long as the political association is not involved in criminal terrorist activities, we ought to encourage it even if their views are something that we disagree with.
The gentleman from Texas has done a very good service to this bill with this amendment, and I hope it is adopted overwhelmingly.
2005 Ron Paul 87:7
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.