WASHINGTON -- GOP Senate candidate Mike McFadden said Tuesday he favored a proposal introduced this week in the House that revokes passport and re-entry privileges for American citizens who fight overseas for Islamic militants.
The bill was introduced by Rep. Michele Bachmann Monday.
Bachmann's bill, dubbed the Terrorist Denaturalization and Passport Revocation Act, amends existing laws and rescinds re-entry privileges for people who join terrorist armies overseas. A companion measure was introduced by Texas Republican Sen. Cruz that goes a step further and allows the U.S. government to strip citizenship of any person joining military forces with countries at war with the United States.
McFadden's spokesman said he thinks Cruz's bill could be unconstitutional based on previous Supreme Court rulings on citizenship revocation.
McFadden said in a statement Tuesday: "It is necessary that we have policies and procedures in place to prevent this from occurring and to ensure that trained terrorists do not come back to the United States with the ability to launch terror attacks here at home."
McFadden is hoping to unseat Democratic Sen. Al Franken in November. Expecting a Franken response to the legislation in the next couple hours.
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann told Fox News host Greta Van Susteren that Americans who join, support or fight with Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant should lose their U.S. citizenship, and touted her legislation that would bar anyone who does so from returning to the country.
On Monday, Bachmann introduced her “Terrorist Denaturalization and Passport Revocation Act.” Upward of 100 Americans are believed to be fighting with ISIL. Federal authorities say at least a dozen Somali men and three women from Minnesota are among those who have fled the country to fight alongside or aid extremists in the Middle East.
“The FBI … told me yes, there are Minnesotans that are in Syria fighting for the Islamic State. I asked them … if these individuals want to come back to the United States, they have U.S. passports, would be allowed to do so,” Bachmann told Van Susteren. “I was blown away when the FBI told me they could come back into the United States … as many of them have.”
Islamic State's advances and reports of brutality, including the videotaped beheading of two U.S. journalists, have ramped up pressure on Congress to support efforts against the militant group.
Bachmann’s measure would amend existing U.S. law to make becoming a member of, fighting for, or providing material assistance to a designated foreign terrorist organization the equivalent of renouncing U.S. citizenship. The bill is similar to legislation that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is advocating for in the upper chamber.
The House Intelligence Committee, of which Bachmann is a member, met Monday to discuss ISIL and other international threats.
Piggybacking on Bachmann's bill, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden also called for strict penalties for Americans going abroad to fight with ISIL and like-minded groups.
"It is necessary ... to ensure that trained terrorists do not come back to the United States with the ability to launch terror attacks here at home," McFadden said in a statement.
On the day Congress reconvenes, U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden’s campaign has reprised its criticism of inaction in Washington, particularly his Democratic oppnent Al Franken.
McFadden’s latest charge comes on the wake of a Star Tribune report that proceedings are underway to determine who is behind efforts to convince Minnesotans to fight in the Middle East. Federal authorities say upward of a dozen Somali men and three women from Minnesota have fled the country to fight alongside or aid extremists in the Middle East. The Republican investment banker hopes to unseat Franken.l
Last week, following the second beheading of an American journalist by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Franken called the Obama Administration’s lack of a strategy to take on ISIS “troubling” and asked Attorney General Eric Holder to focus Department of Justice resources on recruiting at home. McFadden said the efforts were too little, too late.
“As Senator, Al Franken has prioritized issues such as ‘net neutrality’ rather than concerns that extremists groups are recruiting from out of our own back yard. Our leaders need to have their priorities straight,” McFadden said in a statement. “This recruitment has been occurring for years, yet Sen. Franken has kept his head down and has only recently begun to address the situation.”
On the day Congress returns to session from its summer break, McFadden urged a bipartisan effort “to combat attempts by terror-related organizations to recruit young Americans to fight against freedom.”
In a statement, Franken spokeswoman Alexandra Fetissoff deflected McFadden’s criticism, saying Franken has spent years focusing on battling terrorism at home and abroad.
"We're delighted with Mr. McFadden's newfound concern with terrorism. We note that last year, he was the only candidate who hid from the press rather than state his position on Syria, and just a few months ago, actually fled from a voter who asked him his position on the PATRIOT Act.” She said. “Senator Franken has been working on these issues since his first FBI briefing on terrorist recruitment in our communities soon after joining the Senate in 2009."
In a new 30-second ad, Sen. Al Franken criticizes opponent Mike McFadden's business ties to global investment firm Lazard Ltd. for its incorporation in Bermuda, accusing "McFadden's business" of avoiding paying taxes in the U.S.
The ad, which blurs distinctions between the parent firm and subsidiary McFadden co-ran, opens with scenic views of Bermuda, the subtropical island 640 miles east of North Carolina. A narrator says "McFadden's company" uses "a special tax loophole to list its headquarters offshore" for the purposes of tax evasion.
Lazard is the parent company of Lazard Middle Market, a firm it acquired in 2007 when the GOP challenger was co-chief-executive. McFadden is on leave while he runs for office. At the time of the deal, McFadden's private investment bank was named Goldsmith Agio Helms.
Lazard Middle Market is based in Delaware. It pays U.S. taxes on revenue generated in the country. Parent company Lazard is incorporated in Bermuda for tax purposes.
McFadden's campaign on Friday bit back against the campaign ad.
"It's either sloppy or malicious,” said McFadden deputy campaign manager Tom Erickson.
McFadden, through a spokesman, said that a “favorable and stable business environment” was the reason Lazard Middle Market is based in Delaware.
Deputy campaign manager Erickson said that McFadden, in his role as co-CEO of Lazard Middle Market, had no say in Lazard’s headquarters decision.
The Franken campaign, however, does not accept that distinction.
“There is no difference between the two. They are the same company,” said Alexandra Fetisoff, communications director for Franken’s Senate campaign.
Fetisoff notes that when McFadden sold his firm to Lazard in 2007, he did so knowing that Lazard was based out of the country.
Earlier this year, McFadden himself has blurred the lines between the parent company and subsidiary.
When news outlets reported that Franken holds a mutual fund invested in parent company Lazard, McFadden said in a radio interview that, “Al Franken owns stock in my firm.”
The ad is hitting airwaves across Minnesota and comes on the heels of an announcement by Burger King Worldwide Inc. to move its headquarters to Canada once it finalizes a merger with Tim Hortons Inc., a Canadian doughnut chain.
-- Blog post by Ricardo Lopez and Rachel Stassen-Berger
Minnesota's U.S. Senate race is hitting metro hot spots this week.
On Wednesday, it was New York for Republican Mike McFadden. On Friday, Democratic Sen. Al Franken will travel to Chicago.
The reason for both trips? Cash.
McFadden was in New York City for a high dollar fundraiser with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Franken will travel to Chicago for a low-dollar fundraiser with Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin.
Both also have spent time campaigning in Minnesota this week.
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