Matt Stoller put up a post at Open Left today regarding the latest attempt to get retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies into the House version of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
As you may recall, the Senate version of the FISA bill includes retroactive immunity for telecoms. House Democrats have so far beaten back several attempts to add that provision to the House version of the FISA bill.
On Thursday, May 8, one of the Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee tried to get the Senate version of the FISA bill added to the fiscal 2009 Intelligence authorization bill. That effort was defeated by a vote of 11-10.
However, twelve Democrats serve on the House Intelligence Committee, which means that one of them voted with the nine Republicans to try to get telecom immunity in the FISA bill.
The question is whether the Democrat who voted with Republicans was our own Congressman Leonard Boswell. He is one of two likely suspects, because he and Bud Cramer (AL-05) were the only two Democrats on this committee to sign a letter in February advocating retroactive immunity for telecoms in the House version of the FISA bill.
In March, Boswell changed his position and stood with the majority of House Democrats who do not want to grant telecoms immunity in the FISA bill.
Democrats in the third district deserve to know whether Boswell has quietly reverted to his initial position, in favor of telecom immunity. According to the Open Secrets website, Boswell's PAC contributions for the 2007/2008 election cycle alone include $10,000 from AT&T and $2,000 from Verizon.
I am trying to get a comment on this from the Boswell campaign, and I will update this diary if and when I hear back from them.