According to U.S, News and World Report, Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan has flipped his vote on a measure moving through the U.S. Senate to expand FBI surveillance powers.
The article points to political “arm-twisting” being applied to Alaska’s junior Senator. That is consistent with reports TMS has heard from a few Alaskans that our Sullivan was given quite the dressing down by longtime decorum defending Senator John McCain (R-AZ) on the Senate floor in an attempt to move his vote.
The article states:
“A measure to expand FBI surveillance power appears to have the support needed to pass the Senate, but with a second vote not yet imminent privacy activists are working to flip senators so the amendment’s dramatic one-vote defeat last week does not become equally narrow passage.”
“The surveillance amendment would expand what the FBI can take with a national security letter (NSL) to include online records including browsing histories and email metadata — a category called “electronic communications transactional records” or ECTRs.”
“NSLs are issued when the FBI claims records sought may be relevant to an investigation into terrorism or espionage, but the letters are controversial because they do not require a judge’s approval and often come with an open-ended gag order on companies involved.”
“There were surprises in the original amendment vote. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, voted in favor, despite a history of speaking in favor of protections against government surveillance. He released a statement standing by his vote.”
“And Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan, another Republican, switched his vote to “yes” as the amendment came within striking distance of passing, with opponents speculating leadership arm-twisting was involved.”
“In a statement to U.S. News, Sullivan’s office says he intends to vote in favor of cloture again, but that he’s not sure he will support the bill in a subsequent up-or-down vote, which requires just 50 votes for passage.”
“Senator Sullivan had some concerns about the amendment and continues to,” spokesman Mike Anderson says. “But after further discussions with his colleagues, and given the importance of the issue, he ultimately believes that this amendment deserves an up-or-down vote.”
“That stance is not acceptable to privacy advocates who hope to corral enough constituent pressure to kill the measure. If Feinstein votes as expected, opponents likely need to break off one cloture supporter along with convincing all three absentees.”
Click here to read the full article.