What do Congressman Justin Amash, the libertarian-leaning Republican from Michigan, and former Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who mounted unapologetically progressive campaigns for the Democratic presidential nod, have in common?
They both think that the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution ought to be respected.
And they both know that’s not the case when personal communications are routinely monitored by the National Security Agency and when the Obama White House and the Congress fail to provide meaningful oversight of an ever-expanding surveillance state.
So Amash, who last summer worked with Congressman John Conyers, D-Michigan, to organize a House fight to defund the NSA’s bulk collection of data, and Kucinich, who in 2001 was one of the handful of House members who joined Senator Russ Feingold in opposing the Patriot Act, stood together Saturday with thousands of Americans who gathered in Washington for a groundbreaking “Rally Against Mass Surveillance.”
The boisterous rally, which took place on the twelfth anniversary of the signing of the Patriot Act, was backed by a remarkable left-right coalition that drew together organizations ranging from the American Civil Liberties Union to the Tea Party–aligned Freedom Works, from the very progressive folks associated with the Demand Progress project to the very conservative Young Americans for Liberty, from the Council on American-Islamic Relations to the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
Amash told the crowd in Washington: “This isn't a partisan issue. This is for Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, conservatives and liberals, everyone in between."
The coalition is “calling on Congress to take immediate action to halt this surveillance and provide a full public accounting of the NSA’s and the FBI’s data collection programs.”