Mar 24 2006

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced more than $7.1 million dollars for criminal justice programs in South Carolina. The South Carolina Department of Public Safety will receive a $3,610,292 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant. The funds will be used in a cooperative effort among federal, state, and local agencies to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the criminal justice system. The money can be used for programs in law enforcement; prosecution; prevention and education; corrections; drug treatment; or planning, evaluation, and technology improvement. The South Carolina Office of Victim Assistance will receive a $3,543,000 Victims of Crime Act Compensation Grant to enhance compensation payments to eligible victims. Both grants were awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice. ####

Mar 20 2006

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham's (R-South Carolina) budget amendment to restore the full funding of $27 million to keep Project Seahawk operating at the Port of Charleston has unanimously passed the Senate. “Project Seahawk is on the cutting edge in how we should address the security problems facing our ports,” said Graham. Graham noted this was the first step in securing full funding for Project Seahawk and the budget process is far from complete. “The U.S. Senate is on record in full support of Project Seahawk,” said Graham. “This is a solid statement as we enter the appropriations process, and I am committed to working with my colleagues to keep the program fully funded. Project Seahawk is not only important to Charleston, but the nation as a whole.” The Fiscal Year 2007 Budget Resolution must now be passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. ####

Mar 16 2006

Today, Senators Mike DeWine (R-OH), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) introduced the Terrorist Surveillance Act of 2006, a measure that would provide a statutory framework, with congressional and judicial oversight for the President to conduct electronic surveillance on the international communications of suspected terrorists, while protecting the rights and liberties of American citizens. “As the President has said, when terrorists call the United States, we want to know who they’re talking to. This bill gives the President the limited authority to do just that,” said Senator DeWine, a member of both the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Judiciary Committee. “It does not, however, give the President a blank check. The Terrorist Surveillance Act authorizes a limited, but necessary, program. It requires the President to go to court as soon as possible. And, it establishes an unprecedented Subcommittee with the power to oversee this program and protect the rights and liberties of American citizens.” “My goal is to ensure the spying program, which has been effective and vital to our national security, is able to continue by ensuring we have the appropriate checks and balances in place,” said Senator Graham. “I believe our legislation strikes that balance and will allow us to continue monitoring the enemy while protecting the rights of American citizens.” “As communications technology and the terrorist threat evolve, we must ensure the security of the nation by updating our laws. This legislation creates a 21st century law to address 21st century threats," said Senator Hagel, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. "We cannot lose our focus on national security. But we must not forget the critical roll that the legislative and judicial branches play in the governance of this nation. This bill ensures substantive Congressional oversight and reinforces the authority of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.” “Today, I join with my colleagues – Senators DeWine, Graham and Hagel – in introducing legislation to bring the NSA’s surveillance program out of the shadows by reasserting the necessary constitutional checks and balances that both the legislative and judicial branches government have over the Executive. Information is the bedrock of this legislation. The more we learn about the NSA program, the better we are able to adopt measures necessary to protect our treasured constitutional rights without sacrificing our safety as a nation. This legislation is the first of many steps, but one that is critical to safeguarding our security and freedom,” said Senator Snowe. Under the Terrorist Surveillance Act, the President is given the limited authority to conduct surveillance of the international communications of terrorists for 45 days. To engage in such surveillance, the President must have probable cause to believe that the target of surveillance is a member of or affiliated with a terrorist organization. And, he must believe that the surveillance is necessary to protect the United States from a terrorist attack. Under the bill, the President is permitted to reauthorize the Terrorist Surveillance Program every 45 days. To ensure that the President does not overstep his limited authority, the Terrorist Surveillance Act adds important safeguards to current law to protect the rights and liberties of ordinary Americans.
  • The bill mandates that the President obtain a warrant for surveillance on a suspected terrorist once he has sufficient evidence to do so.
  • For those unusual cases where the President does not have sufficient evidence to obtain a court order, but still wishes to conduct surveillance on a suspect, the bill requires that the Attorney General certify, under oath, that continued surveillance is necessary to protect the United States.
  • Finally, the bill establishes a Terrorist Surveillance Subcommittee within the Senate Intelligence Committee with the exclusive jurisdiction to oversee and monitor the details of the Terrorist Surveillance Program. That Subcommittee is empowered to obtain any and all information about the surveillance of any individual in order to ensure that the President is not abusing the rights of law-abiding Americans.
#### Terrorist Surveillance Act of 2006 DeWine, Graham, Hagel, Snowe The Terrorist Surveillance Act provides limited statutory authority to the President to conduct electronic surveillance of suspected terrorists in the United States, greatly enhances Congressional oversight of the Terrorist Surveillance Program, and requires that electronic surveillance be conducted under FISA when the President has sufficient evidence to do so. Authorizes the President to conduct an electronic surveillance program, without court order, for up to 45 days, provided that --
  • The President determines that the surveillance is necessary to protect the United States, its citizens, or its interests;
  • Protections are in place to ensure that the program is reasonably designed to acquire only international communications;
  • There is probable cause to believe that at least one party to a communication is a member of, affiliated with, or working in support of a terrorist organization. The President must submit a list of designated terrorist organizations at least annually; and
  • Minimization procedures are in place to limit the acquisition, retention and use of non-public information about U.S. persons.
Requires Program Review and Reauthorization Every 45 Days
  • Every 45 days, the Attorney General must review the program and certify in writing and under oath whether the program meets the requirements set forth by Congress;
  • The President may then reauthorize the program for another 45 day period, but only if he determines that the program remains necessary to protect the United States, its citizens, or its interests.
  • The Attorney General must provide notice of the decision to continue or terminate the program to the congressional intelligence committees within 72 hours.
Requires Review of Surveillance of Individual Targets Every 45 Days
  • Every 45 days, the Attorney General must also review the surveillance of any individual targets under the program.
  • If, at any time, the Attorney General determines that he has sufficient evidence to obtain a FISA warrant, he must seek a FISA warrant to continue surveillance on that target.
  • If the Attorney General determines that he does not have sufficient evidence to obtain a FISA warrant, but nonetheless wants to continue surveillance, then he must certify in writing and under oath to the Terrorist Surveillance Subcommittees the following four things: 1) that all previous surveillance complied with this Act; 2) that there is insufficient evidence to obtain a warrant under FISA; 3) that the President has determined that continued surveillance of the target without a court order is necessary to protect the United States, its citizens, or its interests; and 4) that continued surveillance is being undertaken in a good faith belief that it will result in the acquisition of foreign intelligence information.
No target may be subject to surveillance beyond the 45-day reauthorization period unless the Attorney General obtains a FISA warrant or files a certification, in writing and under oath, with the Terrorist Surveillance Subcommittees. Regular, Ongoing, and Vigorous Oversight of Terrorist Surveillance Program
  • The Act calls for the creation of Terrorist Surveillance Subcommittees within both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.
  • To ensure confidentiality of the Terrorist Surveillance Program, these Subcommittees, along with bipartisan congressional leadership, will have sole oversight responsibilities of this program.
  • The President must submit information on the management and operational details of the Terrorist Surveillance Program generally and any specific surveillance conducted by this program whenever requested by the Subcommittees.
  • Every 6 months, the President must also submit a report to the Subcommittees, which, among other things, will include: 1) A complete discussion of the management, operational details, effectiveness, and necessity of the program and all electronic surveillance conduced under the program during the 6 month period; 2) Total number of United States persons targeted for electronic surveillance; 3) For any targets subject to surveillance for longer than 45 days, an explanation why the target was subject to continued surveillance without a FISA warrant; and 4) A description of the nature of the information sought under the program, the types of communications subject to the program and whether the information could have been reasonably obtained by less intrusive investigative techniques.
Program Sunset: 5 years Enhanced penalties for disclosure of classified information related to the Terrorist Surveillance Program
  • Maximum fine of $1 million and/or 15 years in prison. This provision does not apply to journalists.
###

Mar 16 2006

WYDEN, GRAHAM UNVEIL NEW SENATE CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM PROPOSAL

Legislation would amend Senate rules to limit fundraising by incumbent U.S. Senators to 18 months prior to a general election

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) today unveiled bipartisan legislation to limit campaign fundraising for incumbent Senators. Specifically, the Senate Campaign Reform Act of 2006 would change Senate rules to prohibit Senators and their staffs from fundraising for re-election before the eighteen months prior to the date of the next general election for that office. Amidst a culture of lobbying reform and scandals involving money in politics, the Wyden-Graham legislation seeks to reform Senate rules to allow Senators to spend more time and energy on their official government work. “Our proposal aims to not just treat the symptoms of scandal and corruption; it aims to cure the overall disease wrought by money in politics and lets senators return to spending the majority of the people’s time on the people's business,” said Wyden. “Today in the Senate, after an election is held the first Tuesday in November, people sleep in on Wednesday, and then the fundraising chase starts all over again on Thursday. Under this proposal Senators will go from raising campaign money all six years of their six year term down to eighteen months. Shorter campaigns will result in less partisanship, less scandal, and more good government.” “Unfortunately, Senators find that too much of our time is diverted to fundraising,” said Graham. “Our legislation allows every Senator to focus on their job for the first four of their six year terms and puts off the money chase till the end. Senators would spend more time legislating and conducting oversight on how tax dollars are spent, and less time acting as perpetual candidates. Everyone would be in the same boat and the rule would apply to all Senators equally. It would make the Senate a much different place.” Under the bipartisan Wyden-Graham proposal, the Senate rules would be changed to prohibit sitting Senators from making any efforts, personally or through senate or campaign staff, to amass funds or pledges of funds, for a Senate re-election campaign or leadership PAC until the eighteen months immediately before a general election. During this time period, it would also make it impossible for unsolicited funds to be contributed to a re-election campaign fund. The prohibition under the Senate rules would be lifted once any other candidate for the same office raises or spends $100,000. The Wyden-Graham legislation has received statements of support from a number of public interest groups, including U.S.PIRG, Common Cause, and Democracy 21. Wyden and Graham are two of the Senate’s leading advocates of substantive campaign finance reform. In 2004, the two Senators introduced legislation to make candidates for Federal office take more explicit personal responsibility for ads on the Internet, in print or in prerecorded phone calls referring directly to the candidate's opponent. The Political Candidate Personal Responsibility Act of 2004 followed Wyden's original “Stand by Your Ad” provision on which current accountability rules for TV and radio ads are based. ###

Mar 15 2006

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Charles E. Schumer (D-New York) today announced they will visit China next week along Senator Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma). “The trade deficit between China and the United States is unhealthy,” said Graham. “We’re going to let the Chinese government know their business practices are causing problems in our relationship. Whether its currency manipulation, theft of intellectual property, or other issues, there’s no doubt that Chinese trade practices are taking a toll. For China to be a respected member of the international community, they must reform their business practices.” Schumer said, “We are going to China next week because this is a critical time for global trade and our relationship with the world’s most populous and fastest growing country. Today, we have the largest trade deficit in history with China. If China is to be a player in the world economy, they must play by the rules every other country has to play by. I want to be clear about one thing: Lindsey Graham and I are not protectionists. We are pursuing the currency issue so strongly because it’s our view that if you believe in free trade, then the biggest economies in the world have to play fair and abide by the rules of the game. We hope we are given some reason to be hopeful that China will revalue its currency and play by the rules while we are there.” “With well over one billion citizens, China can be a large market for American manufacturers to sell their products,” said Graham. “However, if we are to realize the potential of this emerging market, we must have a comprehensive strategy to deal with China. This includes mechanisms to ensure that the Chinese play by the rules.” Graham and Schumer have been promised a vote on their bipartisan bill to encourage China to revalue its currency by the end of March. ####

Mar 14 2006

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint today announced the U.S. Senate has unanimously confirmed Edwin ‘Ed’ Foulke of Greenville for the position of Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA.) A Greenville resident, Foulke is an accomplished labor law attorney, who boasts a wealth of knowledge and experience in occupational safety and health related legal issues. He has served with distinction for over fifteen years as a member of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) and is a natural fit for this important post. “All South Carolinians should be proud that President Bush selected Ed and he was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate,” said Graham. “This is a very important job for the American workforce and business community. We need someone with his talents at OSHA to oversee worker safety and ensure the government regulations placed on businesses meet the common-sense test. I strongly supported his nomination and know he will serve our nation well in this position.” “South Carolinians can all take pride in Ed Foulke's successful confirmation," said Senator DeMint. "I'm confident he has the common sense and experience to take the lead at OSHA. Throughout this process, Ed has proved he will serve our nation well. He's a man of principle and integrity that will be an important ally of American workers and businesses." A graduate of Loyola University (New Orleans) School of Law, Foulke was a partner with Jackson, Lewis, Schnitzler & Krupman practicing out of the firm’s Greenville and Washington offices. He is admitted to practice in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, the District of Columbia, the Fourth, Eleventh, and District of Columbia Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal as well as the United States Supreme Court. In addition to publishing extensively on a number of topics related to employment and labor law, Foulke has guest lectured for several Universities and business organizations. He also holds a LLM Masters in Law from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington. #####

Mar 13 2006

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on a resolution offered by Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin) to censure President Bush for the NSA wiretapping program. “The censure resolution smacks of a political stunt at a time when we need serious and thoughtful discussions about how to succeed in the War on Terror. While I disagree with some of the legal arguments put forth by the Administration, the law in this area is evolving and less-than-settled. “A censure resolution would do tremendous damage to the President’s standing during a time of war. Based on the facts and law, it is not justified.” #####

Mar 10 2006

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint today announced community health centers in Spartanburg and Timmonsville will receive Community Health Center grants totaling more than $1.19 million. Community Health Center grants are designed to promote the development and operation of community-based primary health care service systems in medically underserved areas. Spartanburg ReGenesis, Inc. will receive a $508,543 grant to support health services. Timmonsville Black River Healthcare, Inc. will receive a $684,750 grant to open a new satellite facility in Timmonsville. Black River is headquartered in Manning and has satellite facilities in Greelyville, Kingstree, and Olanta. The grants were awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. ####

Mar 09 2006

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on the recent statistics showing the South Carolina unemployment rate has dropped a full percentage point down to 6.2 percent. “The dramatic drop in our unemployment rate is a sign of things to come as state government continues to provide incentives for businesses to locate and grow here. “There’s no doubt Governor Sanford’s effort to bring about government reform and restructuring is beginning to pay dividends. With the prospects of further tax cuts and spending controls, the outlook for greater employment opportunities in South Carolina in the coming months is very bright.” #####

Mar 09 2006

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today said the Senate Judiciary Committee’s ongoing work on comprehensive immigration reform will hopefully pay dividends in helping to eliminate illegal crossings on our nation’s southern border. “The first issue to address in immigration reform is border security,” said Graham. “Without strong physical border security no immigration reform will be successful in stopping the flood of illegal crossings. The porous nature of our border doesn’t just pose immigration problems, but national security ones as well.” The Judiciary Committee has discussed whether to create a real or virtual fence along the United States-Mexico border. A virtual fence would rely on cameras, motion detectors and other technological devices to monitor illegal crossings into the United States. A real fence would be similar to the San Diego Border Fence, a state-of-the-art nearly impenetrable barrier which made illegal entry into our nation much more difficult. The San Diego area was once a haven for illegal crossings but the Border Fence nearly stopped the flood of border crossings from Mexico into the area. “The Border Fence has worked in California and I’m ready to expand it to protect additional miles of our border,” said Graham. “It would cost an estimated $5 billion to construct, but that is a small price to pay when it comes to protecting our national security and relieving the pressure we face from a tidal wave of illegal immigration. Unfortunately, I have serious doubts about whether there is enough support in the Senate today for construction of a Border Fence. “The committee has already agreed to increase the use of technology and passed an amendment I authored that would that would allow more Border Patrol agents with military backgrounds to enforce our nation’s borders,” said Graham. “Due to modernization, in the coming years we’re expected to have a reduced number of people serving in some areas of the military. These veterans, with years of military experience and training, are excellent candidates to serve in an expanded Border Patrol.” “While many issues surrounding immigration reform are contentious, there is broad agreement among many Republicans and Democrats that maintaining the status quo along the border is simply unacceptable,” concluded Graham. Next week the committee will continue to work on the best way to increase security along our nation’s southern border. #####