Democrats blocked FISA Reform so trial lawyers could file big lawsuits

Robert Novak has pieced together the evidence that shows that the House Democratic caucus torpedoed the FISA reform that passed the Senate last week in response to trial lawyers who had given millions of dollars in campaign contributions and wanted to be able to sue the Telecom companies for cooperating with the US Government in good faith on anti-terrorist investigations after 9/11.

Pelosi could have exercised leadership prerogatives and called up the FISA bill to pass with unanimous Republican support. Instead, she refused to bring to the floor the bill approved overwhelmingly by the Senate. House Democratic opposition included left-wing members typified by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, but they are but a small faction. The true cause for blocking the bill was the Senate-passed retroactive immunity from lawsuits for private telecommunications firms asked to eavesdrop by the government. The nation’s torts bar, vigorously pursuing such suits, has spent months lobbying hard against immunity.

The recess by House Democrats amounts to a judgment that losing the generous support of trial lawyers, the Democratic Party’s most important financial base, is more dangerous than losing the anti-terrorist issue to Republicans. Dozens of lawsuits have been filed against the phone companies for giving personal information to intelligence agencies without a warrant. Adm. Mike McConnell, the nonpartisan director of national intelligence, says delay in congressional action deters cooperation in detecting terrorism.

Big money is involved. Amanda Carpenter, a columnist, has prepared a spreadsheet showing that 66 trial lawyers representing plaintiffs in the telecommunications suits have contributed $1.5 million to Democratic senators and causes. Of the 29 Democratic senators who voted against the FISA bill last Tuesday, 24 took money from the trial lawyers (as did two absent senators, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama). Eric A. Isaacson of San Diego, one of the telecommunications plaintiff’s lawyers, contributed to the recent unsuccessful presidential campaign of Sen. Chris Dodd, who led the Senate fight against the bill containing immunity.

The trial lawyers want to be able to sue. They don’t care if the telecom companies refuse to cooperate with the government in further anti-terrorist actions. They don’t care if Americans die from terrorism. All they want is their 30% fee from lawsuits. And the Democratic Party Caucus in the House have sold their souls to the trial lawyers for a handful of silver.

They have betrayed their country’s security for campaign money, so that their pimps and panderers can suck money out of telecommunications businesses. I expect American telecom companies to move their headquarters off-shore in response.


Trackposted to Outside the Beltway, Faultline USA, Allie is Wired, Shadowscope, The Pink Flamingo, Big Dog’s Weblog, Dumb Ox Daily News, Right Voices, , and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

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