“This is an incredible story.”

That’s what Norah O’Donnell, co-host of CBS News This Morning, said earlier today when reporting on our #NullifyNSA campaign.

The entire CBS News report today was old-fashioned fact-based reporting on the effort, something that doesn’t happen too often these days. And while they didn’t take a position in favor, they also didn’t do what most mainstream media seems to do about state-level efforts -take an obvious position against. 7.5 years ago, when I registered the TenthAmendmentCenter.com domain name, I never would have expected this kind of legitimate coverage in the mainstream media.

I never would have expected it last year either. But it’s happening more and more these days.

WATCH IT (how this happened, below):


After months of preparation last fall, researching and finding where NSA relies on help from states, drafting legislation, building a new website and creating a coalition of organizations, we had hoped to see five states introduce our 4th Amendment Protection Act this year. Maybe ten. If we were lucky.

The goal was to get the ball rolling, and start educating people who weren’t already on board with our message and work to realize that there is another path possible, not just waiting for Washington DC to fix Washington DC. We would work hard to get as many of those bills passed this year as possible. Then, come back in 2015 and strengthen those laws, plus get a few more introduced and passed. This would have to be a multi-year campaign against mass-spying by the federal government.

To help that happen, I contacted Jason Rink to help us put together a video which would explain the issue to the general public. We spent about $2000 to get a nice quality video done. (Jason, sorry if I’m advertising below-market costs for you!)

Those five states came pretty quickly, and then ten, and more. Currently, the tally is fifteen. All of this has generated some attention and interest. As each bill gets introduced in one state, we hear from people in another, and another.


But this week is when things really took off. In a surprise move, a handful of legislators in Maryland submitted a 4th Amendment Protection Act which targeted water and power to NSA Headquarters. That was a big enough story to get picked up by US News and top-linked at Drudge Report. From there, a number of alternative media sites covered the story. And then RT and Fox News did so as well.

That was Monday.

On Tuesday, Mike Maharrey (our national communications director) and I were talking about the pending introduction of the Utah 4th Amendment Protection Act. Knowing that the general public would consider this the “crown jewel” in comparison to other states, we wanted to do what we could to get it some media coverage around the country. But, since our best media contacts had already covered the Maryland story just one day earlier, it wasn’t looking like anyone wanted to cover it again on Wednesday in Utah.

So I mentioned to Mike that he should reach out to some reporters at The Guardian, where Glenn Greenwald used to work, and where he initially broke the NSA story last summer. Mike contacted some reporters who continued to follow the story and ended up on the phone with people there off an on throughout the day. They had been aware of what was happening on the state level, but were still cautious about reporting the Utah story.

At some point, Mike told me that they had said they would likely break the news on Wednesday, as long as it was exclusive. They did, and the story immediately got some significant worldwide attention.


Then, on Thursday morning, the Associated Press picked up the story and released it to the newswire, where ABC News covered it online. Later in the afternoon, a producer from CBS News contacted us. They had been researching the story and were fascinated by how far beyond Utah the effort was reaching. If it were just Utah, they likely wouldn’t have considered it a national story. But since 15 states had introduced legislation, they were looking at covering it – fast.

After a 20 minute chat with the producer, she asked if I’d be interested in coming to the studio for an interview – in 1-2 hours. She said she’d call back if they decided to do the story, and when thanking her, I mentioned that even if “today’s not the right day, we can do it another time.”

A little over an hour later, she called back, saying that if I could get to the studio – in Studio City – they’d like to do the story. I told her I’d need about 30 minutes to get ready and would be on my way. A quick, overpriced rental car – then ten miles and almost 90 minutes of driving in the heaviest LA rush hour traffic from Downtown LA (my apartment and home office) to Studio City up the 101 freeway, and we were ready to roll.

The result was the video you see above.


Why am I sharing all this with you?

Just because I run the Tenth Amendment Center doesn’t mean we’re not all in this together. This is a group effort, and it takes a lot of time, energy, and money to make happen.

Without the money to keep a roof over my head, I couldn’t put the 60-80 hours a week in to run this operation. Without the money to have some support – Mike Maharrey and others wouldn’t have the time to help out. Without the volunteers that pick up the slack for some of the mountains of work our small paid team can’t get to, we’d be stuck in the mud. There’s so much to do and we barely get to about 10-20% of it. Without good people like Jason Rink and others willing to help us build creative projects to educate people, we wouldn’t have the reach we have.

And without doing this same thing relentlessly for over seven years now, we wouldn’t be in a position to get the legislation introduced, reported on around the globe, and eventually passed.

Every piece of the puzzle is an important piece, no matter how big or how small.

So please consider this a call to arms.

If you have an hour a week to help out, please do so. If you have $50 you can chip in, please send it our way. If you can help produce video, or write articles, or do research, let us know! If you have $100,000 – just think of what we’d accomplish.

At the top of our website, you’ll see a Latin phrase, Concordia res parvae crescunt. It means small things grow great by concord.

Every piece of the puzzle is an important piece, no matter how big or how small.

Email us if you can help out – team @tenthamendmentcenter.com
Make a donation to help us growhttp://rally.org/tenthamendmentcenter

Open to a large gift of $10,000 or more? Call. Anytime. 213.935.0553

Please join in this effort, and help us turn this incredible story into one for the history books. With enough people rallying to support us, that will happen. I believe it with every ounce of my existence.

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