Politics makes for strange bedfellows, and on H.R. 3523, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, (CISPA), Seventh District Republican candidate Lee Byberg is bunking with the likes of DFL incumbents Tim Walz, Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum.
The measure passed the House of Representatives on April 26, with Byberg's opponent, Congressman Collin Peterson, joining House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence member Michele Bachmann (an original co-sponsor of H.R. 3523), Chip Cravaack, John Kline and Erik Paulsen in supporting the bill.
The Fargo Forum reports in Concordia Republicans, GOP candidate:
Lee Byberg, Republican candidate for Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District House seat, took part in an event Thursday hosted by the Concordia College Republicans.
Byberg talked about the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act and the National Defense Authorization Act. . . .
The Concordia students expressed their concerns about CISPA by wearing blue tape over their mouths, signifying the chilling effect they fear the law could have on free speech.
Kate Engstrom, president of the Concordia College Republicans, said the group was protesting Internet “censorship acts like CISPA, which ultimately limit the freedoms of American citizens online.”
“I think maybe they have good intent,” she added, “but ultimately they will limit our freedoms and that can spill over into areas where people are not doing anything wrong and still being penalized.”
Engstrom said one point of Thursday’s event was to educate students on where the candidates stood on the issues.
She said Democratic incumbent Collin Peterson “did specifically vote for this. I think he co-wrote it,” she said, referring to CISPA.
The bill was introduced on November 30, 2011, with Bachman as an original co-sponsor. John Kline joined in sponsoring the bill on February 29, 2012, with Peterson among the last representatives adding their namesto the bill on March 29, 2012. Cravaack and Paulsen joined Bachmann, Kline and Peterson in voting for the bill, which passed 248-168.
Ron Paul supporter Davis Gerson made a symbolic primary challenge to John Kline; Gerson's campaign manager criticized the GOP congressional delegation for the vote. Although Paul was a vocal critic of the bill, he missed the vote on CISPA.
At the time of the vote, the gentlewoman from Minnesota's Sixth issued a statement, Bachmann Votes to Defend Against Cyber Threats:
“I voted for H.R. 3523, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, more commonly known as CISPA. We live at a time when everything is online, from personal information to financial data to entire databases. One cyber attack and information that is necessary for our modern-day existence could be wiped away, or, even worse, in the hands of our enemies.
“As a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, I know that the threat of cyber attacks is very real. We know, for example, that the Chinese government has been hacking into, stealing and duplicating sensitive information from Western companies. It remains crucial that the U.S. government take action and protect American industries and their millions of users. This legislation enhances cyber security by allowing companies to voluntarily provide information to the U.S. government when there is a credible threat to their servers.
"This legislation was carefully crafted after considering the input of over 100 private companies, trade groups, and civil liberties organizations, and the final version reflects their opinions. I commend Chairman Mike Rogers (MI-08) for his diligent work to account for privacy and constitutional concerns. Cyber threats are now clearly defined, the bill contains no mandates or increased regulations, and it provides vital assistance to our national defense.”
Peterson told the Forum:
Peterson said he voted for CISPA based on endorsements from House intelligence committee members he trusts.
“This is not focused on average citizens,” he said, adding that similar legislation has helped disrupt terrorist plans.
Bluestem isn't sure if one of those folks Peterson trusts is Bachmann, whose MICHELEPAC gave Byberg $1000 in 2010.
Photo: Lee Byberg's signs and Concordia College students occupy Michele Bachmann's office to protest her signing on as an original sponsor of CISPA. Just kidding: they're protesting about Peterson joining the Minnesota's Republican delegation in voting for the bill in April.