NEFAC, Press Groups: U.S. Senate Amendment Allowing Lawmakers to Scrub Data Online Would Chill Reporting

CONTACT Justin Silverman | 774.244.2365 |


The New England First Amendment Coalition and 30 media organizations are urging the U.S. Senate to oppose a proposed amendment to the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act that would insulate members of Congress from news media scrutiny under the guise of security.

SA 218, introduced by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), would make it possible for federal lawmakers to scrub information about them and their families from the internet, including home addresses and personal email addresses. The lawmakers argue that the bill is necessary to protect themselves from threats and harassment.

In a July 20 letter sent to the U.S. Senate on July 20, 2023 — and drafted by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press — the media coalition argued that the amendment is likely to chill reporting. If passed, SA 218 “would pose a threat to lawful newsgathering and reporting about members of Congress and their families, and raise serious First Amendment concerns.”

NEFAC is the region’s leading advocate for the First Amendment and the public’s right to know about government. All coalition briefs, advocacy letters and statements can be found here.

NEFAC was formed in 2006 to advance and protect the Five Freedoms of the First Amendment, including the principle of the public’s right to know. We’re a broad-based organization of people who believe in the power of an informed democratic society. Our members include lawyers, journalists, historians, academics and private citizens.

Our coalition is funded through contributions made by those who value the First Amendment and who strive to keep government accountable. Please make a donation here.

Leadership Circle donors include the Rhode Island Foundation, The Boston Globe, Paul and Ann Sagan, and the Robertson Foundation. Major Supporters include Hearst Connecticut Media Group, Boston University, the Academy of New England Journalists, the Society of Professional Journalists Foundation, Genie Gannett for the First Amendment Museum, Linda Pizzuti Henry, the Champa Charitable Foundation Fund and Connecticut Public.