U.S. Senator Ron Wyden will hold a town hall meeting Thursday, October 12 at the Oregon Veterans’ Home in The Dalles, beginning at 5 pm. Below are some recent news releases detailing his stand on different issues:
Wyden questions Justice Department about spying on journalists, urges reforms
Questions Follow Trump Administration’s vow to crack Down on leaks; Wyden urges DOJ to require warrants to obtain reporter phone and email records
Washington, D.C. – Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today asked the Department of Justice how often it spies on journalists as part of leak investigations, following Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ vow to crack down on leaks to reporters.
“Journalists play a critical role in our democracy and the chill associated with the government obtaining their communications records in order to identify their sources cannot be overstated,” Wyden wrote in a letter to Sessions today.
Wyden urged Sessions to require search warrants to obtain reporters’ phone and email records to guard against unnecessary spying on journalists.
Read the full letter here.
Wyden asked Sessions to answer the following questions by November 10:
For each of the past five years, how many times has DOJ used subpoenas, search warrants, national security letters, or any other form of legal process authorized by a court to target members of the news media in the United States and American journalists abroad to seek their (a) communications records, (b) geo-location information, or (c) the content of their communications? Please provide statistics for each form of legal process.
Has DOJ revised the 2015 regulations, or made any other changes to internal procedures governing investigations of journalists since January 20, 2017? If yes, please provide me with a copy.
Background: In 2015, DOJ revised its guidelines for investigations of members of the media, following several incidents in which DOJ abused its surveillance authority by targeting the press to identify their sources. For example, in 2013, DOJ obtained telephone call records for 20 Associated Press phone lines, including the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters.
The 2015 revised regulations include a requirement that the Attorney General personally approve all subpoenas and applications for court orders and warrants served to or about members of the news media. This includes including legal demands for telephone and internet records, which could reveal a journalist’s sources. The 2015 revisions, while an improvement, still do not go far enough to guard against unnecessary interference in legitimate newsgathering.
Wyden, Merkley slam Interior Department’s attempt to undermine local management of sage grouse lands
Friday, October 6, 2017
Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley slammed a decision by the Interior Department to cancel parts of federal sage grouse plans created by local communities to prevent an Endangered Species Act listing of the Greater Sage-grouse.
This week, the administration officially withdrew its application to prevent surface mining on areas with habitat of critical importance to the Greater Sage-grouse. The withdrawal upends years of local collaboration between farmers, ranchers, and state, local and federal officials to establish local land management plans to keep the sage grouse off the endangered species list.
“Secretary Zinke’s ill-conceived scheme endangers the livelihoods of local communities that rely on the multiple uses of public lands and blatantly ignores the sound science the Bureau of Land Management used to create the sage grouse plans. Throwing these plans in the trash can undoes years of successful collaboration between local residents and will almost certainly lead to a listing of the sage grouse, locking up federal lands for years to come,” Wyden said. “This is a clear signal from the Secretary of the Interior just how willing he is to put mining companies above the needs and wishes of Oregonians, westerners, and the farmers and ranchers he claims to support. I will keep working with the Oregon communities who rely on access to public lands to fight this spiteful effort to endanger their livelihoods.”
“This decision is an affront to the Oregon ranchers and farmers who have worked collaboratively for years to avoid a sage grouse listing,” said Merkley. “There is no excuse for throwing out their extensive work—and endangering family farms and ranches in the process—just to pad the profits of mining companies.”
Farmers, ranchers, environmentalists, and industry stakeholders spent years developing the current federal sage grouse habitat management plans to prevent an Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing of the Greater Sage-grouse. Opening up this land to oil and gas development will almost certainly lead to an ESA listing of this species. A listing would do irrevocable harm to ranchers, conservationists, sportsmen and industry stakeholders in Oregon and the West by creating both uncertainty and potential regulatory actions over the management of local public