Yesterday the Dodd campaign launched a Citizen Generated Whip Count operation on the Senate Judiciary Committee's position on retroactive immunity. So far we've had over 900 calls logged through the tool -- and been able to see where five of the Committee's nineteen members stand. Most offices don't have a public position on retroactive immunity yet and our past experience from whipping on the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act tells us that the Republican offices who are likely to disagree with callers from the netroots usually punt making a statement until it's time to vote.
We need you to keep calling the Senate Judiciary Committee through our Citizen Generated Whip Count tool -- and report the results so we can identify who needs to hear from their constituents so they vote the right way.
Here's the good news, straight quotes from people reporting back on the four Senators who have confirmed to callers that they are opposed to retroactive immunity for telecom companies.
Senator Feingold (D-WI):
Senator Feingold's aide said that he is absolutely against telecom amnesty. That's excellent news, I said.
Senator Kennedy (D-MA):
I asked how Senator Kennedy, as a member of the Judiciary Committee, stood on granting retroactive immunity to telecom corporations in the latest FISA bill. The person answered that the Seantor was voting against it.
Senator Biden (D-DE):
The Senator is 100 % behind Senator Dodd on this matter and is committed to doing everything within his power to NOT have the FISA legislation go forward with any kind of immunity for these companies.
Senator Cardin (D-MD):
As soon as I asked about the bill, the staffer I spoke to (sorry I did not catch the name) stated unequivocally that Sen. Cardin was against any bill that contained retroactive immunity for telecoms and would work to strip that provision from the bill in committee.
It's also been reported that Senator Schumer's (D-NY) office is "taking a tally" of who calls -- so don't stop calling his office. One caller writes:
No position as yet but they are taking on tally on the phone calls and I expressed my support for Sen. Dodds position and those expressed by Sens. Feingold, Kennedy, Cardin and Biden not to let a telecom amnesty bill out of the Judiciary committee.
In a somewhat surprising development, it's been reported that Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) is up in the air: "He said the senator first voted for it but is now reconsidering and researching." Let's make sure Coburn knows where Americans stand on this issue and ask him to oppose telecom amnesty.
But not every answer is positive. Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) has come out squarely in favor of amnesty for telecom companies:
The senator's position is that the telecoms were asked by the government to assist with national security matters, and they should not be held liable because they cooperated.
John Cornyn (R-TX) isn't looking promising, either:
The guy who answered said the Senator will be supporting the amnesty and I said to tell him that I am very disappointed and wish that he would oppose it.
Most everyone else has yet to start issuing consistent, clear statements on where they stand.
Senator Leahy's (D-VT) staff is telling callers that he will be holding hearings on the FISA legislation on October 31st -- next Wednesday.
Mark your calendars and keep the calls coming! We can win this fight for the rule of law with your help.
Take action now at http://chrisdodd.com/...
Disclosure: I proudly work for Chris Dodd's presidential campaign.