Democratic Senate candidate confuses what Patriot Act is and launches into speech on tariffs instead

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A Democratic candidate for Senate confused the Patriot Act with trade policy during a video call with potential voters.

Barbara Bollier laughed after telling members of the Kansas Farm Bureau that she hadn’t read the Patriot Act and asked for the questioner to tell her “what specifically you want to know about that.”

The questioner told Bollier that she was concerned with “the extraordinary powers that were given to the executive branch under that, perhaps they need to be reviewed.” In response, Bollier said she thought the question was about the executive’s power to “impose tariffs, et cetera, unilaterally.”

“I’m very, very opposed to that. It has to be reexamined. Must be. Because that just isn’t something that should happen unilaterally. I understand why it went into place when it did, but it has to be reevaluated, and I don’t think one individual should have the ability to just pass something like that unilaterally,” Bollier told the farmers. “That’s why we have a Senate and a House. And I would work very hard to change that. I forgot that’s what it was called. I apologize, but I do know about it.”

The video, which was circulated by Joe Gierut, who works for the right-wing America Rising PAC, was verified by the Kansas City Star.

The Patriot Act was passed after the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, expanding the government’s surveillance powers, roving wiretaps, and removing barriers to intelligence sharing among intelligence agencies.

A spokeswoman for Bollier, Alexandra De Luca, told the Kansas City Star that the state senator had “misheard the question.”

“This was a Zoom meeting with the Farm Bureau where Barbara was discussing ag issues. She misheard the question and thought she was getting asked about the Trade Authority Act, which is legislation requiring congressional oversight of trade agreements.”

The Trade Authority Act would place limits on the president’s power to impose tariffs for national security reasons and require the president to submit new tariffs to Congress for review.

De Luca added that Bollier “supports giving the intelligence community the tools they need to keep our country safe. There are aspects of the law that can be improved to better protect Americans’ privacy, rights and freedoms.”

Bollier is competing for a Senate seat held by Republican Pat Roberts, who is retiring. Roger Marshall, who currently serves as the representative for Kansas’s 1st Congressional District, won the Republican primary in August.

A Sept. 30 poll shows Marshall leading by 7 percentage points against Bollier, with a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points.

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