KELLY WALKER: Is Arizona Congressman Juan Ciscomani a Democrat? | Joe Hoft

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KELLY WALKER: Is Arizona Congressman Juan Ciscomani a Democrat?

 

Is Arizona Congressman Juan Ciscomani a Democrat?

Guest Post by Kelly Walker 

In Part 1 of this series, we compared the performance of Arizona’s six Republican members of Congress. We unpacked their votes regarding the expulsion of representative George Santos from the US House, along with Rep. Thomas Massie’s amendment that would express the sense of Congress that the Department of Education should be terminated.

Our research revealed that, among two top political action groups, FreedomWorks and Heritage Action for America, Representative Juan Ciscomani scored the lowest among his peers. While Andy Biggs, David Schweikert, Paul Gosar, Eli Crane and Debbie Lesko all scored A averages, Ciscomani barely crossed the line with a D-grade.

To better understand why these groups rated him so poorly, we now turn to Ciscomani’s performance regarding three key issues: The national defense, FISA warrantless surveillance authorization, the War Powers Resolution to remove U.S. forces from Syria.

H.R. 2670: CONFERENCE REPORT FOR THE NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FY 2024

Ciscomani voted contrary to his five fellow legislators to reauthorize the FISA amendments allowing warrantless spying on Americans’ communications.

As FreedomWorks.org explains, the conference report for the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2024, H.R. 2670 includes language to reauthorize Title VII of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), otherwise known as “Section 702.” In January 2018, Congress passed the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act, keeping the surveillance authorities under Title VII of FISA alive through December 31, 2023. With the deadline approaching, congressional leadership included a reauthorization of Title VII in the NDAA to extend the surveillance authorities through April 19, 2024.

However, existing statutory “transition procedures,” found in 50 U.S.C. 1801 note, allow certification for surveillance under Title VII to continue for a year from the date the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) issues a certification for surveillance. In December 2017, as the expiration of Title VII authorities was looming, The New York Times noted that intelligence officials “acknowledged that the government believes it can keep the program going for months” after the expiration of Title VII. The reason the intelligence community argued that could legally continue to operate under Title VII was because the certifications wouldn’t have expired until late April 2019.

The current certifications were granted on April 11, 2023. Even if Title VII authorities lapse, the intelligence community would still operate under the existing certification until April 11, 2024. The date through which Title VII is reauthorized in NDAA gives the intelligence communities time to obtain recertification from the FISC before April 19, 2024. Any certification would be good for a full year, potentially until April 19, 2025.

So, while the language in NDAA has been framed as a short-term extension, it’s actually a 16-month extension. That means that this extension of FISA will perpetuate the FBI’s warrantless search of Americans’ communications for another 16 months.

The use of FISA to warrantlessly search Americans’ communications isn’t a theoretical notion. The intelligence community conducts more than 200,000 searches of Americans’ communications annually. FISA has been used to wrongfully spy on donors to a congressional campaign, individuals engaged in lawful First Amendment activities, journalists, and members of Congress without a warrant.

Put simply, extending Title VII for 16 months means the worst abuses of FISA could, and likely will, continue. Again, Congress has known for nearly six years that Title VII would expire. Still, because of the proclivity of congressional leadership in both parties for governing crisis, reauthorization without any reform, even into April 2025, is legislative malpractice. Members of Congress in both parties have offered reforms through the Government Surveillance Reform Act and the Protect Liberty and End Warrantless Surveillance Act. These bills protect America while securing our constitutionally protected civil liberties. Unfortunately, congressional leadership appears to be actively giving the intelligence community what it wants, which is to maintain the status quo.

H. CON. RES. 21: DIRECTING THE PRESIDENT, PURSUANT TO SECTION 5(C) OF THE WAR POWERS RESOLUTION, TO REMOVE THE UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES FROM SYRIA

The U.S. has had military personnel in Syria since 2015, when U.S. troops were sent to help train allies in the region to confront ISIS. This resolution would have directed Biden to remove U.S. Armed Forces from Syria no later than 180 days after its adoption.

Ciscomani voted against withdrawing our troops from Syria. Critics question why the U.S. is still in Syria and point out that, with no clear objective, troops are daily exposed as targets.

Actions—like votes on the House floor—speak louder than words. And sometimes the words of the opposing party speak volumes as well.

In a February 3, 2023, Tucson Sentinel article titled “Ciscomani’s smart early moves were undermined because GOP loves fire,” Blake Morlock, former communications director for the Pima County Democratic Party, praised Ciscomani, writing he’s done “pretty good so far,” and “in pretty good shape” heading into 2024.

“Ciscomani won,” wrote Morlock, “largely because he stayed away from the likes of failed candidates like Kari Lake, Blake Masters and Mark Finchem. His trick is to stiff-arm those characters without letting go of their supporters.”

Morlock seems to consider Ciscomani the Great Hispanic Hope for the Democrats, embedded in the Republican Party: “Ciscomani has a ton of power to stop all manner of insanity. His vote is just as important as Gosar’s or any of the five who held McCarthy’s speakership hostage a month ago. He can, along with four other normal-ish Republicans, tell Greene that he’s not going to let the party destroy itself.”

Among the Republicans Morlock lumps Ciscomani together with as “normal-ish,” he mentions Mitt Romney specifically.

If “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” what does that make the friend of my enemy?

Most of Arizona’s Republicans, Libertarians, and Independents likely did not anticipate that a number of Ciscomani’s votes on key issues would be consistent with the “Uniparty” military-industrial complex agenda. Perhaps this election cycle, he should go ahead and run as a Democrat.

They’d probably give him higher marks than conservative watchdogs have.

Walker interviews Rep Andy Ogles TN of FreedomTalk

Kelly John Walker is an American statesman, senior writer, and entrepreneur. He is Founder of FreedomTalk, Host of FreedomTalkTV, and a freelance writer published in George Magazine, The Washington Times, Gateway Pundit, The Epoch Times, Andrew Magazine, Townhall, and others. Kelly holds a BA in English & Theology, and a Master of Science degree on a graduate fellowship with the US Department of Defense. He had a distinguished career as a conservation professional before founding two award-winning advertising agencies. His newest project is the “Fathering in a World Gone Mad” series featuring Eric Metaxas, Victor Marx, Sheriff Mark Lamb, Clay Clark, and more. Find out more at RealFreedomTalk.com.

 

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