Politics

Rand Paul Supporters To Pack Senate Gallery For Patriot Act Debate

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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Anticipating drama, young supporters of Rand Paul’s presidential campaign are acquiring Senate gallery passes for Sunday night in case the Kentucky Republican tries to protest the Patriot Act with another marathon speech.

On a pro-Paul Facebook group, supporter Brittany Wilson wrote: “Attention Rand Paul supporters in the DC area: IT’S HAPPENING. This Sunday Rand Paul is going to take the Senate floor once again to filibuster against the Patriot Act and in support, we are planning to fill the seats in the Senate chamber.”

In a subsequent phone call with The Daily Caller, Wilson backtracked on whether Paul would actually “filibuster.”

“It’s not confirmed, by any means,” she said of Paul’s plans. “But we have a really good suspicion that he’s going to make a statement. It might be two minutes, it might be 5 hours. I’m not sure.”

When TheDC on Thursday asked a Paul aide if a filibuster of sorts is planned, the aide simply responded: “TBD.”

In the Facebook post, Wilson told supporters that they must abide by several rules in order to use one of the passes they obtained for the afternoon. That includes wearing a “Stand With Rand” t-shirt, remaining quiet and respectful while in the chamber and arriving on time.

“Let’s fill the Capitol with support for our future president,” Wilson wrote.

On Capitol Hill and on K Street, the Facebook post provoked chatter about whether Paul’s office is working with the group. But a Paul aide told TheDC they are “not coordinating” with these supporters.

According to the Senate website, “Passes are required to enter either gallery at any time. Visitors may obtain gallery passes from the offices of their senators or representatives.”

Asked how they obtained the passes, Wilson said: “There is someone in our group, not connected with the Rand campaign at all, who has that sort of access, but I’d rather not give out names.”

The same group of young supporters demonstrated on the Capitol steps last week when Paul delivered a speech for nearly 11 hours on the floor of the Senate, railing against the Patriot Act and the National Security Agency’s program that collects bulk phone record data of American citizens.

With time running out, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is calling lawmakers back to the Senate for an afternoon session on Sunday afternoon to try to pass an extension, hours before the Patriot Act expires at midnight.

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