Yet Another Reason to Vote Against Dennis Rehberg: His Disrespect for the Constitution

Throughout his flip-flopping career, Representative Dennis Rehberg has certainly taken a number of positions on the civil liberties enjoyed by Americans. He championed a draconian REAL ID Act before realizing it was politically unpopular back home. He repeatedly voted for the obscene USA-Patriot Act before realizing that Montanans aren’t going to stand for clear violations of the Bill of Rights.

But while he changed his mind on these two votes, Dennis never seems to learn the important lesson: that the Bill of Rights should not be violated because of a moment’s panic or fear. He keeps returning to the well, putting our civil liberties at risk over and over again.

In recent months, he voted to support a massive expansion of the federal government’s power on our northern border.

And today he voted to reauthorize the sweeping electronic surveillance authorized by the FISA Act, threatening the civil liberties of Americans in exactly the same way the Patriot Act did, authorizing warrantless searches and surveillance of electronic conversations.

Montanans of all political stripes value our right to lead our lives free of unnecessary government intrusion. Maybe Representative Rehberg will eventually vote the right way on FISA, like he finally did on REAL ID and the Patriot Act, but wouldn’t it be better to have someone who will get it right in the first place?

Don’t believe me that this was a bad vote? Ask the libertarians at the CATO Institute:

In short, the supporters of the FISA Amendments Act appear to misunderstand both what the law they just voted for actually does, and what broader defects in our intelligence system present the most serious risks to national security. If you’re wondering why we don’t have better intelligence policy, it’s not that hard to connect the dots.

Ask the ACLU:

Yet again, the House has rubberstamped a law so broad and vague that, despite its passage four years ago, we still have little idea how the government is using it. It is at the very heart of the Fourth Amendment that Americans and their communications are fiercely protected from government intrusion. This law should be amended to include much stronger privacy protections when the Senate takes it up later this year.”

Ask the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

The FISA Amendments Act (FAA) of 2008 gave the NSA expansive power to spy on Americans’ international email and telephone calls. However, last month, in a letter to Senator Ron Wyden, a government official publicly disclosed that the NSA’s surveillance had gone even further than what the law permits, with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) issuing at least one ruling calling the NSA’s actions unconstitutional. The government further disclosed that the FISC had determined the government’s surveillance violated the spirit of the law on at least one occasion, as well. EFF’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeks disclosure of any written opinions or orders from FISC discussing illegal government surveillance, as well as any briefings to Congress about those violations.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


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  • Yes, Denny is bad. But if you want to talk about disrespect for the constitution, Max Baucus is far worse than Rehberg.

    Not only is Baucus a worse vote in general on civil rights, but Baucus could have single-handedly stopped FISA and single-handedly stopped the retroactive immunity for FISA illegality.

    Denny hasn’t been supportive of rights until recently. But nobody in Montana’s congressional delegation — in the history of the state — has been worse on rights than Max Baucus. He doesn’t even allow you to write him about the topic on his website. He has nothing but contempt for people who support the Constitution and fundamental human rights.

    Denny has been bad, but not nearly as bad as Max Baucus when it comes to disrespect of the Constitution.

  • YOu always go after Max but he has done more for human rights then just about anyone in the senate, Sorry Bob But I have to again disagree.
    ? Rated 100% by NARAL, indicating a pro-choice voting record
    ? Rated 60% by the ACLU, indicating a mixed civil rights voting record
    ? Rated 86% by the NAACP, indicating a pro-affirmative-action stance.
    ? Rated 86% by UFCW, indicating an anti-management/pro-labor record.
    ?Rated 91% by the NEA, indicating pro-public education votes
    ? Rated 75% by APHA, indicating a pro-public health record.
    ? Rated 80% by SANE, indicating a pro-peace voting record.

    I don’t understand why you and others go out of your way to go after a guy who has a pretty good record cater to regular folks, hell he even has a 67% rating with gay rights. We aren’t all gonna get what we want but, until someone comes along that is better then that, and Schweitzer isn’t any better on those records. I would leave well enough alone. This is a guy, we dont want to rock the vote against, if we cannot find someone better. he is keeping our head above water.

    Rehberg, doesn’t have in his whole being, what Max has got in his pinky finger.

    • First, this was a post on the Constitution and specifically FISA. Which Max Baucus supported and allowed retroactive immunity for people who broke the law — something he could have single-handedly stopped. The only reason this post isn’t academic is because Max Baucus not only voted for the bill, but got people a Get Out of Jail Free card for people who had clearly violated the law.

      And this is a deal breaker issue, that’s why Don is pointing out the Constitution in the headline. Because Max Baucus took an oath to defend the Constitution and even just this issue proved that he lied. He not only violated the Constitution himself, he gave a Get Out of Jail Free card to those illegally spying under the last Bush Administration.

      If all these FISA voters were the only bad votes Baucus ever cast, he would deserve to be run out of town. This alone is so egregious that it should drive him from office. Even if he were perfect on everything else.

      But Max isn’t for Montana anymore, he hasn’t been perfect on anything else all century. Add in all the other crap he did for Bush, and you have legacy of Shame.

      Still supporting Max Baucus is failing a values test.

  • As you pointed out, the article was on the Constitution. What you failed to remember, though, is that the article was about Rehberg, not Baucus. Do I need to remind you that Baucus isn’t running for reelection this year? Rehberg is actively engaged in trying to take Sen Tester’s seat – a campaign Tester will win, BTW. Your attempt to redirect the argument to Baucus was weak-sauce at best. When Baucus is up for reelection, then talk about Baucus – hell, I even agree with some of what you say and won’t be voting for Baucus again. Unfortunately for you, Baucus is not the topic of discussion – Mansion Rancher Denny Rehberg is… Can you stay on topic?

    • The “he isn’t running for re-election this year” defense is never a valid argument, but especially absurd with Baucus running campaign ads *this* cycle.

      Still, glad you won’t be voting for him.

      • Bob, I don’t mind you having an Opinion. But Mine says your wrong. We can agree to disagree on Max anyday.

        Rehberg on the other hand, will tell out right lies to your Face, as he did to me and 8 of my friends who visited him in DC. According to Denny: Gun-Running Criminals, and Asian Sex slaves are sneaking into Montana through Glacier National Park via Canada. That’s why we need his border bill.

        The Irony of his foul statement is Breathtaking, especially since America sells more guns then any other nation over the table…. and most Montanans already own a gun. Think, just the mental vision of Little Asian women stumbling over some of the tallest mountains in the lower forty eight states, and wandering in the woods of Glaicer National Park….from Canada…. it’s pretty laughable stuff. But Denny tried to pass it off on us Montana folks, like it was Gospel, or a National statistic …what an Arse!

        And he also swore he never called Pell-Grants welfare????? Ya right!

        Dennis will go out of his way to destroy National Parks like Glacier with his border bill and earlier this year he tried to float a gas pipe bill running Gas lines through this nations most famous National Park as well…… Goofy

        Two Days ago He voted with the rest of his Party against National forests, like Canoe Park in Minnesota Have you guys ever seen this forest? It is arguably one of the nations most scenic and pristine in the nation.

        Yep Rehberg and the rest of his Ilk, they want to destroy a national forest that is headwaters for most farms, cities and towns in Minnesota for sulfide mining. So they can make their corporate buddies money, while poisoning water supplies for people and nature in that state.

        The man is sick with greed, hes corrupt, and he hasn’t done a thing of value for our state, except save a cement statute of Jesus…. and even that isn’t a done deal.

        Then there is other outright lies, about how he has continually taken, responsibility for good things, that John Tester and Max Baucus have done for our state.

        Doesn’t anyone remember his vote against the stimulus… but later he did photo ops within the state with Giant checks to companies of stimulus monies?

        How about the lie that he single-handedly kept Malstrom open, when it was our two democratic senators and Governor who carried that burden?

        Getting the government to allow Montanans to hunt wolves was Tester’s Bill, but Denny
        keep saying it was he that Magically got things going? Really?

        For months I have quizzed Montana Public officials in person, plus thrown out a plea on Mt Hashtags(#MTPOL,#MTLEG,#MTSEN #MTGOP) of twitter, asking any concerned Conservative voter or public official, including Denny to point out what he has done to help our state for the last 8 years….. the silence is deafening. Even Dustin Hurst, twitter star and Supposed reporter for Mt Watchdog. org could not answer that question

        This Guy Rehberg, gotta be booted in Montana Politics, and I guarantee, If my vote for Tester makes him one inch closer to the backdoor of Politics….. I am all for it!

        Don’t let that screen-door hit you in the caboose Denny, on the way out!

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