Congressman Matt Salmon claims to be concerned with “the erosion of our constitutional rights,” according to a recent press release on his sponsorship of the LIBERT-E Act. While he appears to have a legitimate concern for constitutional rights and liberties, his voting record begs to differ.
Let’s go back to the beginning of 2013. In February, CISPA was reintroduced to the House. This bill raised heavy criticism from both sides of the aisle as to the Internet surveillance powers it granted to the federal government. The bill passed with support from Congressman Salmon. Then, last month, the NSA leaks hit the press and government surveillance became the most discussed issue of the summer.
Kicking off the anti-NSA tirade was a congressional letter to Keith Alexander demanding answers to questions on how the FBI and the NSA collect internet information and cellular metadata. Among the 25 signatures on this letter was Rep. Salmon’s. Why is this Representative who voted to extend Patriot Act surveillance powers to the federal government suddenly interested in their use? After a call to his local office, a spokesperson claimed that he “regrets” voting in favor of CISPA. Congressmen don’t get to just regret a controversial vote.
Is Salmon’s sponsorship of the LIBERT-E Act a sincere effort to limit unconstitutional federal surveillance, or is it merely an appeal to the now-outraged conservative voting population he represents? Maybe the next time he votes he should listen to his constituent concerns rather than ignoring them until it becomes an unpopular practice.