CLEVELAND- The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio today called on Ohio Senators Sherrod Brown and George Voinovich to reject the FISA Amendments of 2008 Act (H.R. 6304). The bill would allow the federal government to continue its illegal warrantless wiretapping program without oversight from courts and would also grant immunity to telecommunications companies who have aided the program during the last seven years.

ACLU of Ohio Executive Director Christine Link said, “For seven years, the Bush administration has been allowed to spy on Americans without obtaining a warrant from a court. The result has been that countless people have been spied on who have no connection to terrorist activities and vital resources have been diverted from effective counter-terrorism measures.”

"It’s time for Senators Brown and Voinovich to stand up to President Bush and stop his unconstitutional wiretapping program," added Link.

In addition to continuing the President’s warrantless wiretapping program, the bill would also grant immunity for telecommunications companies who helped the government spy on Americans. Several people who were unlawfully spied on by the government have court cases against the companies for their part in supporting the unconstitutional program. All such cases would be dismissed if the companies are granted immunity.

On Friday, June 20, 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 by a vote of 293-129. The bill will next go to the U.S. Senate for a vote, likely to occur this week.

Link concluded, “The Bush administration should get the message that Ohioans will not tolerate their deliberate disregard for the Constitution. Senators Brown and Voinovich must do their part to stop the government’s reckless trampling of our most cherished rights.”

The nonprofit, nonpartisan ACLU of Ohio is based in Cleveland with community and campus groups throughout the state.  There are 30,000 ACLU members and supporters in Ohio and more than 500,000 nationwide.