Rachel Bovard, the senior tech columnist at the Federalist, released a damning report about the U.S. Capitol Police’s intrusive information gathering practices.
While most Americans are led to believe that Capitol Police does the usual screening of visitors, namely, looking through their backpacks and purses, there’s more to the story than meets the eye.
Bovard noted that “tax records, real estate holdings, and social media posts” are now being looked at by Capitol Police without people even knowing of such actions.
In a POLITICO piece from earlier this week, Betsy Woodruff Swan and Daniel Lippman spilled the beans on a new Capitol Police program that looks into the lifestyle, background, and speech of the people members of Congress are dealing with. These people may include “donors, Hill staff, mayors, state legislators, and other Americans exercising their First Amendment right to petition their government”, as Bovard observed.
Swan and Lippman alluded to one example of a donor meeting in which Florida Senator Rick Scott attended the private home of a prominent donor. In effect, the homeowner and those attending the donor meeting had their social media snooped on by Capitol Police.
A donor meeting with Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise was apparently subjected to similar treatment.
According to this report, the Capitol Police were instructed to “search for any information about event attendees, including donors and staff, ‘that would cast a member in a negative light.’”
In both instances, the elected officials and attendees were not aware that these intrusive measures were taking place.
All of these measures are part of the broader “enhanced security measures” that were implemented after the January 6 storming of the Capitol to allegedly protect the area from disturbances.
So far, the Capitol Police have not provided any specific justification for their intrusive measures. In addition, they have not specified what they’re doing with the records they’ve compiled nor how long those records are being stored, or what other purposes these records will serve.
Bovard observed that “The agency is only subject to congressional oversight — not to public records requests.”
She also added that these new measures present a threat towards free speech, “which includes the right to petition the government ‘for a redress of grievances’ without fear of reprisal.”
North Dakota Congressmen Kelly Armstrong told POLITICO that these measures are tantamount to “spying on members of Congress, their staff, their constituents and their supporters.”
“Anybody involved with implementing this without making it known to the actual members of Congress should resign or be fired immediately,” Armstrong continued. “And I’m not big on calling for resignations.”
The implications of such measures are damning. For one, they’re designed to not only spy on otherwise lawful Americans but also limit constituents’ ability to interact with their representatives. Part of what makes America great is how citizens can use grassroots lobbying and be able to freely set up meetings with the people who purportedly represent them.
But with these measures in place, politicians will be shielded from grassroots accountability and allowed to operate in a more distant fashion from their constituents. This is just another way that the DC Swamp wants to isolate itself from the rest of the population and not be held accountable for its malfeasances.