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Disclaimer: The author of this site maintained the campaign weblog of John Kline's opponent in the 2006 election, which made Congressman Kline a bit testy.

As with all blogs, review the facts carefully and draw your own conclusions.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

John Kline is Just a Click Away

Of course, that doesn't mean he'll actually respond to the questions you send.

Last Thursday, I received a flier from John Kline's office --- printed and mailed at taxpayer expense --- publicizing Kline's new congressional website. In addition to summarizing the various features of the site, it also devotes about half of its content to discussing the possible ways constituents can contact Kline, insisting "Congressman John Kline wants to make sure you have access to him, and know how to reach him to share your views and concerns". This pitch was pretty much wasted on me, since I've made numerous attempts to extract information from Kline's office, and have received for my trouble only this mailing and another one like it on immigration reform.

Actually, I'm probably just whining. After all, the flier only says that Kline wants us to know we have "access to him" to "share our views and concerns", and encourages us to "contact him with questions or comments". It never actually says that Kline plans to answer any of those questions.

Still, on the assumption that Kline has, perhaps, turned over a new leaf, and given that emails sent to Kline's office apparently do get read, I decided to take another stab at getting an answer to one of my long-standing questions: where does Kline stand on Bush's illegal NSA surveillance of U.S. citizens? I sent in the following letter:

Yesterday, I received a mailing from your office, printed and mailed at taxpayer expense. The focus of this mailer was your new web site, pointing out among other things how accessible John Kline is.

I beg to differ.

I have called your office at least twice in the past 4 months (it may be more, I lose count) to get John Kline's answer to a very simple question, yet I have so far received no answer. Since you are now promoting congressman Kline's accessibility, I thought I would make the effort to ask again.

As you no doubt know, George Bush authorized the NSA to conduct surveillance on U.S. citizens without first obtaining a FISA court warrant. Bush has acknowledged making this authorization dozens of times, and has also made it clear that he intends to continue such authorizations. Despite some ex post facto rationalizations by the Bush administration, it is painful clear that the President is willfully and repeatedly breaking the law.

I was taught in my 5th grade civics class that Congress has a Constitutional obligation to act as a check on Executive abuse of power. Senator Russ Feingold, who clearly takes this obligation seriously, has introduced a resolution to censure President Bush for his lawbreaking.

I know that John Kline is a member of the House, not the Senate, but it is amazing to me that these NSA wiretaps have been public knowledge for more than four months, yet I am unable to find any public statement by Congressman Kline stating his position. So my question is very straightforward:

Do you believe it is appropriate for Congress to ignore willful, repeated lawbreaking by the President? And if not, what actions do you personally plan to take to hold President Bush accountable?

I plan to keep asking this question until I get an answer.


To be updated as events warrant (don't hold your breath).

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