The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Texas Congressman Ron Paul’s campaign treasurer after the man was detained and questioned by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents for carrying approximately $4,700 in cash at an airport.
According to the ACLU, Rep. Paul’s campaign treasurer Steven Bierfeldt was detained and interrogated on March 29, 2009, at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport after he passed a metal box containing cash through a TSA security checkpoint X-ray machine. The cash had been collected at an event held for Campaign for Liberty, a political organization that grew out of Rep. Paul's 2008 presidential campaign.
“I do not believe I should give up my constitutional rights each time I choose to travel by plane. I was doing nothing illegal or suspicious, yet I was treated like a potential criminal and harassed for no reason,” Bierfeldt told the ACLU. “Most Americans would be surprised to learn that TSA considers simply carrying cash to be a basis for detention and questioning.”
Charging that “unconstitutional searches and detention by TSA agents have become the norm,” the ACLU’s lawsuit claims that “TSA agents are using heightened security measures after 9/11 as an excuse to exceed their search authority and engage in unlawful searches that violate the privacy rights of passengers.”