Skip to comments.The Heat Is On: Congressman’s Office Says Constituent Calls Are ‘Harassment’
Posted on 03/19/2010 11:46:01 PM PDT by Schatze
Yesterday, I decided to call Rep. John Garamendis (CA-10) office in Washington, D.C. Hes my representative and I wanted to voice my opposition to the Senate Health Care Bill. I spoke with a female staffer and politely told her that, while I support health care reform, I oppose the Senate Bill because it wasnt true reform. She said the Congressman thinks its a good bill and that he campaigned on health care reform. I told her I knew that. I also mentioned that I voted for him. When I tried to give her specific reasons why the Senate Bill would harm our system rather than reform it, she refused to listen. She said she was very busy and hung up on me. Being the persistent person that I am, I kept calling back. Each time I tried to finish my point, she hung up.
I called one more time. This time she said, If you call one more time, we will notify Capital Police. I asked why my conduct warranted involving federal law enforcement agents. She said I was harassing her. I tried to explain that trying to convince a representative to change his or her vote didnt constitute harassment. Before I could fully explain, she hung up again.
I called back. This time, I asked to speak to her supervisor in order to report her repeated hanging up as well as the threat she made. I was placed on hold. Thinking I was holding for her supervisor, I was shocked when a Federal Agent with the Capital Police picked-up the telephone.
At first, the Agent was curt with me. He claimed I was harassing Mr. Garamendis staff by continually calling after being told to stop calling. I asked him when it became a federal crime to lobby a congressman. He said that it wasnt but it was a crime to harass congressional members and staff pursuant to 47 U.S.C. 223. I told him I was an attorney (which I am) and that I would research the statute he had cited.
After researching 47 U.S.C. 223, I called Mr. Garamendis office again and asked to be transferred back to the Capital Police Agent. The Agent picked up the phone and I explained to him that the statute he cited was not controlling since it only prohibits people from calling with the specific intent to harass. I further explained that I was simply trying to voice my concerns with the intent of getting Mr. Garamendi to change his mind, not to harass his staff. The Agent eventually agreed with my position and said he would call Mr. Garamendis office and instruct his staff that I was within my rights to call my congressman and voice my concerns.
After I hung up, I realized that this story should be told. Besides being an attorney, Ive also had the privilege of serving this great country in the United States Marine Corps. Having seen the ugly legislative process the Senate Bill had been through, I saw this as not just another tactic to pass the Senate Bill at all costs, but also as an affront to our liberties.
While Im fortunate enough to be able to legally challenge what happened today, others arent. The sad part is the democrats know this. They know that Americans unfamiliar with federal jurisprudence can easily be silenced when threats to involve federal agents are made. They know that most Americans dont want trouble and theyll go away rather than face the possibility of having to explain themselves to federal agents. Thats why I found this tactic appalling, as a Marine, as an attorney and as a proud American.
During my final contact with Mr. Garamendis staff, it was confirmed to me that he would vote for the Senate Bill no matter what. I was told that I was wasting my time by calling. Mr. Garamendi is a junior member of the House of Representatives. He was just elected via a special election last November. He has made it clear that he is willing to forsake his constituents in order to please the Speaker of the House.
Speaker Pelosi has said that she will stop at nothing to get the Senate Bill passed. She publicly stated that she would pole vault over a wall if barriers stood in her way. While that may be an amusing spectacle, it is indicative of what happened to me today. Apparently, threatening Americans with federal crimes to silence them is the latest tool in Speaker Pelosis dirty bag of tricks.
In the coming days, Im sure more stories will develop illustrating the win at all costs tactics being employed by democrats. Its these tactics that have appalled a majority of Americans to the point that the Senate Bill has overwhelmingly been rejected by the American people. When we try to explain that to Speaker Pelosis Caucus, we are threatened with criminal sanctions. We are told to shut up or face federal agents. Such treatment may be acceptable in the former Soviet Union, but its repulsive in the country I love and served. Is this hope and change?
Well, Marine... forget the damn legal BS... We are past that nonsense... It is time to take up your RIFLE. The enemy is already WITHIN the gates. There is only ONE ROE... If it talks like a Marxist, fire for effect.
A standard legislative bribe (”Cornhusker Kickback, et al) to these guys can’t cut it when they know a “yes” vote will get them turned out of office in November.
The only explanation that makes any sense is the promise of a cushy job/appointment for life after they get tossed out.
I just want to see one, one! dem congresscritter to get fed up and hold a press conference in the Rotunda cataloging the juicy offers he’s been made. Maybe even a recorded phone call from Rahm?
I guarantee that if you notify Bill O’Reilly’s people (or Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck’s people) you will be on national TV.
Bill O’Reilly thrives on stuff like this. Send this story to him immediately; please.
“representatives” like this guy and his staff need be ran out of DC on a rail - after being placed in stocks and publicly humiliated.
Call it in F O !!!!
Yep, these democrat congressmen dont have the slightest concern for their constituents. All they care about it maintaining a good relationship with the democrat establishment so they can get a cushy, high-paying job at some think tank or college after they ultimately lose an election some day. The liberals are totally corrupt now, with no concern for their country and the future of our nation. Its all about them and their miserable little careers. They will go down in history as trivial people with no courage, no intelligence, and no leadership ability.
You have more patience than I do. Also more legal training. As you pointed out most of us are not lawyers. I wouldn’t have been intimidated though. Federal law or not I would have told Mr. Capital Agent where to stuff it. They are acting like they are above the law. Do they think we’re not capable of that?
Wow, that’s quite a story. They knew they had one smart cookie on their hands with you. Thank you for your service, and for sharing this story. God bless.
I know G. He is a stuffed-shirt demo that would drink Nancy Pelosi’s bath water. The worst kind of robo-democrat that would do anything for the party & nothing for the country. Doesn’t surprise me how his office reacted at all.
It’s going to come to blood.
Since when is it harrasment for people to call Congress?
It isn’t and this Congress yellow belly should be put on display for his lies.
John Garamendi was on HIllary’s Secret Task Force and he is an advocate for single-payer. That’s what this bill amounts to and that’s why he is for it. He’d never vote against it.