Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Does Kline Support Vigilantes?

Minnesota's Second Congressional Rep. John Kline's NO vote for the Homeland Security Authorization Act brings into question his motives in co-sponsoring a bill that would protect anyone who turns in someone else for suspicous activities. Kline, a Republican, says the passage of his cosponsered bill is an urgent matter.

"The core of our Homeland Security system is reliance on everyday citizens to report suspicious activity," Kline related to the Star’s Katherine Kersten.

But if Homeland security is so important wouldn't have John Kline voted for authorizing $39.8 billion in Department of Homeland Security spending for the 2008 fiscal year? (The House did the Homeland Security Act just last week!).

Could it be that Kline prefers to enforce homeland security through supporting vigilantes citizens as they turn in, report all suspicious black, dark, Arab-looking, non-whites, Jews, Muslims, non-Christians…seems like a law that was made more for Hitler’s Germany America when it had a wild west. If Kline really wants to support Homeland Security then he should voted to support funding the Homeland Security Act, not to allow ‘tin star’ cowboys to determine good and who’s bad. And if someone does act like a vigilante, shouldn't there be consequences to them and legal recourse for the victims?

Again we see Congressman Kline voting to not fund a program with check and balances, while supporting one currently completely devoid of common sense. If Kline wanted to protect a particular class, why not protect whistleblowers like Coleen Rowley (FBI)? Instead he voted against that legislation. Again, why?


Coleen Rowley said...


Coleen Rowley said...

What a coincidence that last week when I was in Washington D.C. to promote federal legislation for whistleblower protection, I attended a hearing of the Workforce Protections Committee that Kline sits on.

This Committee was hearing testimony from witnesses on the need to better protect company workers who report public safety issues and company malfeasance. The first witness was Jeffrey Wigand--remember the tobacco "Insider" (who was played by Russell Crowe in the movie) who went on "60 Minutes" and disclosed that big tobacco had knowingly covered up and manipulated the nicotine and addictive elements of cigarettes. The second witness was a trucker who had reported trucking safety issues but whose company had retaliated against him. Kline did not see me sitting in the audience in the committee room and he and the other Republican appeared to be snickering at these first two witnesses.

Since Kline, I think, has taken big campaign contributions from both tobacco companies as well as trucking companies, I guess it's not surprising he would not care about protection for these companies' employees even though they are just "everyday citizens who report suspicious activity" relating to public safety and security.

As it turned out, Kline and the other Republicans had apparently engaged a witness of their own, a corporate attorney who testified that protecting such employee- whistleblowers could hurt companies' profitability and is not needed as he believed that the majority of employees' disclosures and claims are "meritless".

So we'll have to follow Kline's voting actions on these issues. But it did provide a good glimpse of how the corporate "special interest corruption" that Kline thrives on can easily play out in actual congressional action.