Kansas state senator and U.S. Senate candidate Barbara Bollier (D.) revealed Tuesday that she did not know what the Patriot Act was.
Asked about the landmark law enacted in the aftermath of 9/11 to strengthen counterterrorism efforts, Bollier said she wasn't sure what to say because she had "not read it yet." Bollier requested more specifics on the question and then claimed to remember the legislation, only to reveal that she mistakenly thought it was about tariffs.
"I think what you're talking about is the ability to impose tariffs, et cetera," Bollier said. "Yes. I’m very very opposed to that. It has to be reexamined—must be—because that just isn't something that should happen."
Bollier went on to argue she would work hard to get Congress to reevaluate the tariff powers in the Patriot Act, emphasizing that she does "know about" the law.
"I had forgotten that is what it was called," Bollier said. "I apologize, but I do know about it."
The Bollier campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
The Patriot Act became law following the terrorist attacks on Sep. 11, 2001, and its purpose was not to expand tariff powers. The law contains a range of provisions to enhance federal agents' latitude to counter terrorist threats, while critics have argued the security powers it gives the government are too expansive. Those powers are unrelated to tariffs.
Bollier is running against Rep. Roger Marshall (R.) to replace retiring Republican senator Pat Roberts.