Republican lieutenant governor nominee E.W. Jackson is raising issue with the federal government’s collection of Verizon phone records – and potential Democratic rival Aneesh Chopra’s knowledge of collection activities.
“The Verizon phone records sweep is further proof that the federal government is completely out of control and systematically violating the rights and freedom of Americans,” Jackson said in a statement on Friday. “We are not going to allow this to go unchallenged here in Virginia. Whether you are conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican, it has to send a chill down your spine that the government is monitoring your telephone, email and internet records.
“Anyone who ever doubted the unconstitutional nature of the Patriot Act should now be able to see clearly that the door to its abuse has been opened. This is outrageous. We are making a formal inquiry to the Attorney General of the United States to confirm whether or not Virginia’s citizens have been included in these phone record sweeps. If so, I urge Virginia’s Attorney General to bring suit to stop it as a violation of the Fourth Amendment rights of Virginia’s citizens. I will also urge the governor of Virginia to file a formal protest on behalf of Virginia citizens demanding that the federal government stop violating our privacy.
“We must have leadership willing to stand up to Washington excess and as lieutenant governor I will fulfill my pledge to work hard to reign in the scope of the federal government and reassert the power of the 9th and 10th Amendments of the Constitution on behalf of Virginians.”
Then today, Jackson campaign manager Greg Aldridge released the following statement on Chopra’s role as Barack Obama’s Chief Technology Officer.
“When Barack Obama announced Aneesh Chopra as his technology czar in 2009, President Obama said the position would include promoting technological innovation to help ‘keep our nation secure.’ As more information becomes public concerning the government’s efforts to monitor its own citizens in violation of the Fourth Amendment, Virginians have a right to know: What did Aneesh Chopra know about the PRISM program and other federal government efforts to archive our telephone conversations, e-mail and internet activity? If Aneesh Chopra can not stand up to his boss in the White House for the privacy of American citizens, how can Virginians trust him as lieutenant governor?”