NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union and the Tea Party Patriots are jointly sponsoring a week-long ad buy beginning today in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Washington, D.C. The spots highlight the overreach of government surveillance programs and call on Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) to stand up for Americans’ privacy rights.
The ads come in the wake of this month’s landmark federal appeals court decision in ACLU v. Clapper, which found the NSA’s nationwide call record program operating under Section 215 of the Patriot Act illegal. Recent weeks have seen increasing pressure from both sides of the aisle to modify or let sunset the three provisions of the Patriot Act set to expire on June 1 — including the controversial Section 215.
“It’s time for Congress to act to protect Americans’ privacy,” said ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero. “The courts have found the NSA’s collection and data-mining of citizens’ phone records illegal – now our legislators need to end these practices. It’s time for wholesale reform, not just tinkering around the edges.”
The ads follow yesterday’s release of new polling, commissioned by the ACLU, which found decisive support among voters for substantive reform to the U.S. government’s surveillance practices. The polling, which included a nationwide survey as well as polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, was conducted by a bipartisan pair of research firms. The surveys consistently found nearly two-thirds of voters believe that the Patriot Act should not be reauthorized in its current form. These results remain constant regardless of party affiliation, gender, or age.
“The need to curtail the government’s intrusion into innocent Americans’ lives is a bipartisan issue,” said Tea Party Patriots Co-Founder Jenny Beth Martin. “That’s why the Tea Party Patriots is joining the ACLU in this important message to our lawmakers. The courts have spoken, the American people have spoken, and now Congress needs to act to end the overuse and abuse of government surveillance.”
The ads will run in Iowa’s Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, and Quad City markets; in New Hampshire’s Manchester market; and in the Washington, D.C., market through the end of the week.