Congressman boasts on Twitter about the money he got to support CISPA, then thinks better of it

CISPA is a bill before Congress that will radically increase the ease with which the government and police can spy on people without any particular suspicion. It is being rammed through by people like Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), who received a small fortune in funding from the companies that stand to get rich building the surveillance tech CISPA will make possible.

What's more, Rogers admits it, and even tweets about it! Nicko Margolies from the Sunlight Foundation writes,

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), a co-sponsor and major supporter of the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), deleted a retweet of an analysis of contributions to lawmakers from pro-CISPA companies. MapLight looked at the powerful House Intelligence Committee, where Rep. Rogers serves as Chairman, and followed campaign contributions to the members who are currently considering the bill that would allow companies to share more information on Internet traffic and users with the U.S. government.

Rep. Rogers, or possibly a member of his staff, retweeted the story that identified that members of the House Intelligence Committee "have received, on average, 15 times more money in campaign contributions from pro-CISPA organizations than from anti-CISPA organizations." He retweeted MapLight's tweet of this information from his iPhone and after 23 minutes thought better of it and removed it. Fortunately the Sunlight Foundation's Politwoops project caught it and archived this change of message and of heart. According to the MapLight piece, Rep. Rogers received $214,750 from interest groups that support CISPA.

The EFF has more info on CISPA, and ways you can help kill it.

Pro-CISPA Lawmaker Deletes Retweet about Money Received from Pro-CISPA Groups (Thanks, Nicko!)


    1. It’s so disgusted. I want a parliament, negative votes, and the ability to pull representatives out of Congress with a vote. There needs to be a way to get these people out without murdering them, and unfortunately that’s the only solution currently available.

      1. Have you considered any of Larry Lessig’s answers. I was impressed with “Republic Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress–and a Plan To Stop It” partly because of Lessig’s description of how we can say money corrupts Congress without saying any particular someone in Congress has been corrupted. Lessig has some good, concrete answers as to how we can fix this mess we’ve got ourselves into, but none of them involve throwing up your hands and giving up. It’s being put into action at right now. So murder isn’t the ONLY solution available, you see?

      2. There’s already a system in place “to pull representatives out of Congress with a vote.” It’s called a recall. You can also simply vote against them the next time they’re up for a vote. If you’re really angry, then actively take part in the Democratic system. The problem with most Americans is that they bitch a lot about politics but refuse to act. Action can be very effective, but you have to, you know, fucking get off your ass.

          1. Not that it really matters. In the last election we soundly rejected the governor’s emergency manager law, so he and his buddies just passed a new one into law without public debate or discussion during a lame duck session.

        1. Hey, I can see what the problem is right there… you call it the Democratic System. If’n y’all called it the Republican System it’d darn well work right… ‘sp’tooon… p-ding…

      3. I half remember an old Sci-fi short story, probably by Ray Bradbury, in which politicians are fitted with explosive collars triggered to detonate if the wearer becomes too unpopular with the electorate. Of course, the Internet has proven that (a) lack of responsibility in the user breeds irresponsibility and (b) trolls will do anything for a laugh. I guess this idea wouldn’t work in the real world.

  1. It shouldn’t even be legal. What better use for $1.2 BILLION could there be, than to support the top 2 presidential candidates?

          1. Cat shit coffee may taste like pumpkin pie, but I’d never know ’cause I wouldn’t drink the filthy mofo.

  2. Well, thanks to Scalia’s creative application of imagined legislative history, one can extend the argument to documented legislative history… right?

  3. Ya know, I wanna be angry. I want to be really, really angry. And I will be, and it will make me give even more money to EFF. But all I could think of when I read the beginning of this was “You mean there are still people who believe you can remove something from the internet?!? Really? And we have elected some of these people to represent us in Washington? Wow.”

      1.  I believe the point he was making is the same one you are. That those who have the most money to give are pro-CISPA. This means that pure financial support isn’t indicative of broadly based support which is what the Congressman’s tweet seems to be implying. “Hey, we didn’t get much money from anti-CISPA people so they obviously don’t hate it THAT much.”

        1. Ohhh, I was trying to figure out why the Congressman tweeted this in the first place, as it seems so damning, but you’ve hit it. He’s equating money with popular support.  My mind boggles at the perversity of his conflation.

          1. Unless a retweet is sarcastic  or mocking the original author it’s most common purpose is something like “seconded!” or “this is good, please read” So yeah, that seems to be exactly what he’s doing.

          2. It’s the fact that he (re)tweeted it at all.  The alternative explanation is that in so tweeting, he’s saying: “Hey, look how corrupt I am!”  Which seemed unlikely, even if meant to be ironic.

  4. Cory, I respect your right to a political opinion, and I probably even agree with the underlying thrust of your post, but as a public voice that people reflexively agree with, I think it’s a bit irresponsible for you for you to frame a re-tweet as “boasting.” You do this all the time (especially with abortion topics where I agree with you even more wholeheartedly,) and it’s disappointing to see you contributing to the dumbening of our political discourse.

      1. Not only do I get the point, I agree with it. I disagree with the framing of “RT” because people retweet stuff for all sorts of reasons.

        1. So you think the Congressman actually thought it was awful and it was an “ironic” or “comic” retweet?

          If it was so innocuous than why delete it?

          1. My point is that it is ridiculous to frame a re-tweet of a fact as boast “about the money he got to support CISPA” and that Mr. Doctrow (again, whose political positions I usually agree with) is helping degrade political discourse by framing it as such. My point has nothing to do with whether the politician thought it was awful or ironic or comic, it’s just that it’s not a “boast,” that’s your assumption, not mine.

          2.  If not a “boast” then what was the intent, do you imagine, with the RT? And keep in mind, the original intent was potentially damning enough to warrant a deletion. I think it was indeed a boast, because he sponsored the bill and scads of corporate money flowed his way. Its obvious that he feels more validated by money than by what is right and proper with regards to We The People. I heartily disagree with your assessment.

          3. To Meester Creester (no “reply” link on your comment for me for some reason):
            People retweet things for all kinds of reasons, so I can only speculate as to what Rep. Rogers’ intent was. My guess is that he’s using the amount money supporting an issue as a proxy for popular support/value of the issue to defend supporting that side of the issue. After all (so goes the politician’s thinking,) why would one side spend 5 times the money as the other side if there wasn’t value in their position? ** IT’S BULLSHIT, I AGREE. ** But what no one, not Cory, not Navin, not you, has done is demonstrate how “RT” meets any definition of boasting.

            Getting worked up over his so-called boastfulness 1) draws away from the real problem with his retweet (equating $ w/ correctness of policy) and 2) demonizes him. Drawing attention away from the real issue inherently dumbs down debate, and demonizing people leads to coarsening of discourse. Sure, lots of people do that (see: Limbaugh, Rush, et. al.,) but it’s disappointing that Cory is choosing to be part of the problem instead of part of the solution.

          4. I don’t see you really having a point as much as a bunch of “concerns” or gripes that don’t really hold water. I don’t really think anyone reading buys these “concerns” about political discourse either. At least I certainly don’t.

          5. Getting worked up over his so-called boastfulness 1) draws away from the real problem with his retweet (equating $ w/ correctness of policy)

            Above you said that this was impossible to imply by his RT…

          6. Again, I’m not seeing a “reply” link on Navin’s posts so I’ll answer here. I hope Navin can find it here so he doesn’t have to complain that I’m not responding. Again.

            Navin, if you can’t see my point in my posts, you’re not trying very hard. My concerns about the level of discourse you scare-quoted and dismissed are exactly the point. To have a real discussion of the issues, you can’t go in calling names. That’s why Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer, not a policy maker. Cory marginalizes his voice by being so petty.

          7. @Antinous_Moderator:disqus ,
            Indeed, I just see a lot of irrelevant “concerns” and transparent attempts to divert the discussion away from the fact that the Congressman was indeed crowing about how much money he got from the side that supports/bought his position. I see the same thing going on in the Schumer piece as well….

    1. “…that people reflexively agree with…”

      If I cannot make up my own mind, then that is a “me problem”.

      Taken at face value, the re-tweet comes across as eye opening and concerning, but not particularly boastful. That it was taken down speaks louder than the original message.  I can only wonder at how that little WTF moment played out.

    2. I disagree. Rep Rogers is boasting about the deep support that one of the bills he sponsored has received. And the bill does have deep support. The problem is that the deep support comes largely from amoral entities who stand to directly financially gain from the bill. Furthermore the deep support is counterbalanced by extremely broad disapproval.

      The boasting isn’t the problem. The problem is that Rep Rogers seems to think that lobbying money is an acceptable basis for congressional action. 

  5. Wait, let me get this straight….Youre telling me that in America, it is *legal* for corporations and interest groups to just give money to members of their parliament to support laws they want made?

    How is this *not* bribery and corruption?

    As far as im aware, in most western democracies, this sort of anti-democratic behaviour is very illegal, and obviously unethical.

    What gets me, is that the American people are happy to allow this….that they are OK with systemic corruption at all levels of the legislature.

    What ever happened to “by the people, for the people”. What ever happened to “democracy”?

    What a joke.

    1. As far as im aware, in most western democracies, this sort of anti-democratic behaviour is very illegal, and obviously unethical.

      How do you think that parties in the UK get their funding?

      1. UK party funding is at least generally more indirect, being done via the party as a whole. Direct donations/services to individuals, especially individuals responsible for particular issues, is comparatively more rare and can lead to prosecution.

    2. Japan’s govt. is every bit as corrupt as ours is, if not worse.  Korea’s, if anything, more so.   This certainly happens in Canada (cf oil companies lobbying Harper’s government) and Australia.  Spain and Portugal and especially Italy are at least as bad as the US.  I don’t know for sure about Germany, France, or the Scandinavian countries, but I’m wondering what country you’re talking about where you Imagine this doesn’t happen.

      1. The difference in Canada at least is you can’t directly give money from a corporation to a campaign. There are other issues, but campaign finance is a lot better than the US system.

      2. In Norway public funding accounts for around 75% of politician’s/party income, and all political advertising is banned from tv and radio. Fights over politicians tax records are non-existent because anybody has a right to request access to them. I wouldn’t be surprised to see similar measures against corruption from the other Scandinavian countries. I think public funding accounts for an even larger percent in Sweden.

        Our politicians in the U.S. spend more time raising campaign and party money than they do making policy, and when they do make policy it’s usually with their donors in mind and holding their hands.  We need to shake off the ridiculous notions of cash as free speech and maybe we can get somewhere.

        1. There are no restrictions on private funding of political parties in Norway, but as of 2005 there is a law that requires all political parties to report all funding. Up until recently the only private entities who’ve sponsored political campaigns to any serious degree has been some of the big unions, but as a response to the current government’s long standing election streak, some very wealthy and entitled norwegian merchants have promised a good deal of money to the election campaigns of the opposition:
 (In norwegian)..

          And I don’t like to be a pessimist and I’m not especially proud of the current crop of so-called social democratic leaders, but I can’t see anything good come of this. The major opposition party, Right (the opposite to left, not the moral choice) have promised to start massive privatization programs if they are elected.

          1.  Thanks, I got my info from a CNN article IIRC. It would be a real shame if your country strayed away from successful progressive policies to a more neoliberal direction. I’d warn you all to look at the U.S. if you want to see how disastrous that direction is. Generations have an awful habit of getting restless about a good thing and choosing to fix what isn’t broken. In the U.S. our “boomers” (the “me me me generation”) did this. After enjoying the benefits of (somewhat) progressive polices for ages they decided they’d be selfish and give neoliberalism a try. We know how that turned out: Reagan, debt, increasing inequality etc. etc.

    3. Well, I’d agree with you, but you’ve oversimplified it, and “the American people” are not very happy with it, matter of fact. But political parties in the UK also have to get money from somewhere–you don’t run for office for cheap. The obvious answer is to pay for political campaigns from taxes and not allow anyone to use any money other than the allotted tax dollars–putting everyone on equal footing and eliminating the constant need for elected officials to fund-raise. 

      What doesn’t seem productive is criticizing American CITIZENS because the need to constantly raise campaign funds has corrupted the political system.

  6. If you go to Mikey’s Twitter page, his last 3 tweets have him discussing the “positive” parts of CISPA, as in this gem:

    #CISPA doesnt require anyone to provide anything to the government. All sharing of cyber threat information would be voluntary #CISPAalert

    Sure Mike, just keep digging that hole. At least there’s people calling him on it.

    Whoops, forgot the link:

  7. A small point, but any time I see the word “cyber” used seriously by current-day politicians and not in a bad, cheap science fiction movie of the 1980s or 90s, I die a little inside.

  8. F Mike Rogers and his district. His district is full of morons still clinging to the fears of Detroit white flight even though the district is well removed from Detroit and it’s inhabitants are a generation away from anything Detroit except for the occasional jaunt to a Tiger or Red Wing game. This is how Rogers still gets elected.

    That said, all Rogers ever has been and ever will be is a shill. He gets bought and sold. He offers very little positive to America’s electorate. Think of him as a male Michele Bachmann, just less Jesus juice, and full on corporatocracy.

  9. Orrin Hatch’s NSA Data Center is almost complete in Utah. It has an acre of floor space and Rocky Mountain Power/Utah Power and Light dedicated a new generating station to power it, and it alone.

    Electric bill is rumored to be $5M a month.

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