Tuesday, March 28, 2006

When is listening in on American citizens a good thing?

According to Representative Jim McDermott (D-Wash) as well as ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and several others it's when you tape a conversation between Republicans and distribute their private conversation to the press. Fortunately a Federal appeals court didn't agree.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal appeals court ruled today that Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., violated federal law by turning over an illegally taped telephone call to reporters nearly a decade ago.

In a 2-1 opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that McDermott violated the rights of House Majority Leader John Boehner, who was heard on the 1996 call involving former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

The court ordered McDermott to pay Boehner more than $700,000 for leaking the taped conversation. The figure includes $60,000 in damages and more than $600,000 in legal costs.

Maybe McDermott can appeal it further and see if can get his "phone" bill up to an even million.

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