Amash Presents Purple Heart Medal
Third District veteran receives honor for wartime service
Grand Rapids, Mich. – Rep. Justin Amash presented the Purple Heart Medal to Daniel James Vander Molen at a ceremony held at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum on Thursday, May 28.
Retired Specialist Vander Molen is an Army veteran of the Vietnam War. He sustained injuries on Easter Sunday, March 30, 1970. Because the multiple shrapnel wounds to his back were treated on site and Specialist Vander Molen courageously returned to his duties as the platoon leader’s radio telephone operator, his injuries were never noted in his military records. After considering the eyewitness accounts, including those of his company commander, the platoon medic, and several of his platoon members, the United States Army approved Specialist Vander Molen’s Purple Heart in April 2015.
The Purple Heart Medal is awarded in the name of the president of the United States. First issued under the administration of George Washington, this prestigious award signifies that, as the result of hostile actions, the recipient was wounded or killed while actively serving our country in the United States Armed Forces.
Pictures from the ceremony are included with this release.
Amash opposes latest USA FREEDOM Act
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Justin Amash released the following statement regarding Section 215 of the Patriot Act and H.R. 2048 - USA FREEDOM Act of 2015:
Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the bulk telephone metadata program run by the National Security Agency (NSA) is not authorized by Section 215 of the Patriot Act and is thus unlawful. The ruling is a big win for privacy and civil liberties advocates who have long argued that Section 215 clearly does not contemplate the type of mass collection we now know is occurring. But the win will be short-lived if H.R. 2048, the latest version of the USA FREEDOM Act that’s scheduled to be considered by the House of Representatives this afternoon, becomes law.
Section 215 authorizes the government to collect records and other “tangible things” that are "relevant" to a terrorism or foreign intelligence investigation. To support the bulk collection of data pertaining to millions of law-abiding Americans, the government has effectively claimed that all records everywhere are potentially relevant to a current or future investigation, and thus all records are fair game for collection. In its ruling, the Second Circuit had little choice but to reject the government's broad interpretation of "relevant," given that the rest of the statute gives no indication Congress ever contemplated collection on such a mass scale.
So far, so good.
But H.R. 2048 threatens to undo much of the progress resulting from the Second Circuit’s opinion. The bill's sponsors, and unfortunately some outside advocacy groups, wrongly claim that H.R. 2048 ends "bulk" collection. It's true that the bill ends the phone dragnet as we currently know it—by having the phone companies themselves hold, search, and analyze certain data at the request of the government, which is worse in many ways given the broader set of data the companies hold—but H.R. 2048 actually expands the statutory basis for the large-scale collection of most data.
H.R. 2048 does this by authorizing the government to order the production of records based upon a “specific selection term” (i.e., like a search term used in a search engine). The records sought still must be relevant to an investigation, so it’s possible the court’s ruling will continue to restrain the government in some fashion. But it’s more likely a court looking at H.R. 2048’s language will see the “specific selection term” as defining the outer limits of what Congress considers acceptably “relevant” under Section 215.
Indeed, the Second Circuit encouraged Congress in reforming Section 215 to make a “congressional judgment as to what is ‘reasonable’ under current circumstances.” Unfortunately, “specific selection term” is defined so broadly under the bill as to have little effect on narrowing the scope of items the government may obtain through a 215 order.
A “specific selection term” may be a specific person (including a corporation, such as Western Union), account, address, or personal device, but it also may be “any other specific identifier,” and the bill expressly contemplates using geographic regions or communication service providers (such as Verizon) to define the records sought, so long as it's not the only identifier used as part of the specific selection term. In other words, the bill doesn't let the government require Verizon to turn over all its records without limitation, but nothing appears to prevent the government from requiring Verizon to turn over all its records for all its customers in the state of New York. Only a politician or bureaucrat wouldn't call that "bulk."
H.R. 2048 gives our intelligence agencies, for the first time, statutory authority to collect Americans’ data in bulk. In light of the Second Circuit’s opinion that the NSA has been collecting our information in bulk without statutory authority for all this time, it would be a devastating misstep for Congress to pass a bill that codifies that bulk collection and likely ensures no future court will ever again be positioned to rule against the government for over-collecting on statutory grounds.
H.R. 2048 falls woefully short of reining in the mass collection of Americans’ data, and it takes us a step in the wrong direction by specifically authorizing such collection in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. Americans, and members of Congress, should demand that Congress instead pass the original, bipartisan version of the USA FREEDOM Act from 2013, which strengthened—not weakened—Section 215’s relevance standard to end bulk collection, while still allowing the government the flexibility it needs to pursue genuine threats against the United States.
Amash praises Second Circuit ruling
Grand Rapids, Mich. – Rep. Justin Amash released the following statement in response to the Second Circuit’s ruling that the NSA’s bulk collection program is illegal:
From day one following the revelation of the NSA's bulk collection program, I have said that the warrantless collection of records on all Americans violates both the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution and the plain reading of Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Today's Second Circuit ruling makes clear that the executive branch's interpretation of the statute—interpreting records "relevant" to a terrorism investigation to mean all records everywhere—is "unprecedented and unwarranted." In light of this ruling, Congress must not proceed with the latest version of the USA Freedom Act. While limiting certain types of bulk collection, the latest USA Freedom Act would authorize bulk collection of Americans' records for the first time, thereby undoing some of the progress resulting from the Second Circuit's decision. Instead, Congress should pass, and the president should sign, the original USA Freedom Act, as introduced in 2013 before amendments, that protects the liberty and privacy of all Americans while providing the intelligence community the authority necessary to deal with those who seek to harm us.
Amash to host town halls in Byron, Marshall, and Ionia
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) announced town hall meetings in Byron, Marshall, and Ionia.
The town halls are open to the public.WHAT: Town Hall Meeting WHEN: Wednesday, May 6, 2015 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. WHERE: Byron Township Office 8085 Byron Center Ave SW Byron Center, MI 49315 __________________________________________________________ WHAT: Town Hall Meeting WHEN: Thursday, May 7, 2015 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. WHERE: Calhoun County Building 315 West Green St Marshall, MI 49068 __________________________________________________________ WHAT: Town Hall Meeting WHEN: Thursday, May 7, 2015 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. WHERE: Ionia City Hall 114 North Kidd St Ionia, MI 48846
Amash announces winners of art competition
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) announced the winners of the 2015 Congressional Art Competition for Michigan’s Third District at an awards ceremony at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum on Saturday, April 18.
Marissa Drew’s piece, Untitled, was named the grand prize winner and will be on display in the U.S. Capitol for one year alongside winners from other congressional districts. Grandma’s House by Grace Meade (Hastings Area School) and Winter Night Scene by Meg Fanco (Caledonia High School) were the Member’s Choice winners and will be displayed for one year in Amash’s congressional offices.
Drew, a student at Caledonia High School, will visit Washington, D.C., this June for a reception honoring the winners. Pieces from Jack Corcoran (Caledonia High School), Savanna Skye Kittell (East Kentwood Freshman Campus), Natalie Tavarez (East Kentwood High School), Max Condon (East Grand Rapids High School), Anna Herscher (East Grand Rapids High School), Ryan Martin (Caledonia High School), and Rachel Glenn (Northview High School) were named honorable mentions.
Art Center of Battle Creek, ArtPrize, Grand Rapids Art Museum, Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University, Kent Intermediate School District, Portland Community Arts Council, and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts were sponsors and participated in the judging committee.
The Congressional Institute sponsors the art competition in cooperation with the House of Representatives. The annual competition is open to high school students and more than 650,000 have participated in the competition since it began in 1982.
A copy of the grand prize winning piece is attached to this release.
__________________________________________________________WHAT: Town Hall Meeting WHEN: Wednesday, February 18 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m WHERE: Miller Stone Building 77 Capital Ave NE Battle Creek, MI 49017 ### Read More
Amash to host town hall in RockfordGRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) announced a town hall meeting in Rockford. The town hall is open to the public. WHO: Rep. Justin Amash WHAT: Town Hall Meeting WHEN: Saturday, January 24, 2015 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. WHERE: City of Rockford Offices 7 S Monroe St NE Rockford, Michigan 49341
114 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Representative Justin Amash (pronounced uh-MOSH) represents Michigan’s Third District in the 113th United States Congress. He was elected to his first term on November 2, 2010.
Justin was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He received his bachelor’s degree with High Honors in Economics from the University of Michigan and his Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School. He worked for his family’s business, as a business lawyer, and as a Michigan state representative before his election to Congress.
Justin has never missed a vote in Congress or in the Michigan Legislature out of more than 3,000 roll call votes. He is leading the incorporation of Facebook and other social media into his work as an elected official by posting an explanation of every vote online, and he has set new standards for transparency and accountability.
Justin believes government overspending is one of the biggest threats to our economic health and national security, and he has introduced an innovative balanced budget amendment—the Business Cycle Balanced Budget Amendment—to control government spending and reduce the national debt. He supports a fair and simple tax code and a regulatory environment that promotes economic prosperity.
As an ardent defender of Americans’ civil liberties, Justin has been a leading critic of theunconstitutional suspicionless mass collection of all Americans’ phone records, the indefinite detention provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA).
When asked by a New York Times reporter to describe his voting methodology, Justin explained: “I follow a set of principles, I follow the Constitution. And that’s what I base my votes on. Limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty.”
Justin is a member of the Joint Economic Committee and Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (OGR). He serves on the OGR subcommittees on National Security andGovernment Operations. Justin chairs the House Liberty Caucus.
Justin lives in Cascade Charter Township with his wife Kara, a graduate of Calvin College and a former elementary school teacher. Justin and Kara have three children.
Ready to block anything that violates the rights of Americans.
Thank you, Daniel James Vander Molen.
My friend Congressman Thomas Massie led us in the pledge as we watch over the House chamber to stop any #PatriotAct extension.
Honored to present the Purple Heart on Thursday to Sp4 Daniel Vander Molen. Thank you for your courage and sacrifice.