Jessica M. Karmasek Mar. 14, 2013, 3:45pm

AUSTIN, Texas (Legal Newsline) -- Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says President Barack Obama and his administration are disregarding the U.S. Constitution if, according to reports, they plan to give U.S. spy agencies access to Americans' financial information.

"The Obama administration continues to erode the Constitutional principles on which our country was founded," Abbott said in a statement Wednesday.

"First it was the administration's deceitful policy that would allow drones to spy on Americans, now it is attempting to give U.S. spy agencies access to the financial data of all Americans."

According to a Treasury Department document seen by Reuters, the administration's plan would give all U.S. spy agencies full access to a database containing the financial data of American citizens and others who bank in the country.

The proposed plan -- which legal experts say is permissible -- would help intelligence agencies better spot and track down terrorist networks and other criminal activity, Reuters reported Wednesday.

Abbott, a staunch Republican, said this week he is concerned with the plan.

"Although cloaked in the appearance of fighting terror -- which of course all Americans are in favor of--- the scheme in reality exposes virtually all American citizens to having their personal financial files rifled through by unelected officials," he said. "This appears to be a blatant threat to the 4th and 5th Amendment principles and protections enshrined in our Constitution."

He continued, "We are a nation of laws, not of men. This is just the latest demonstration of disregard by this administration."

In his statement, Abbott vowed to protect the privacy of Texas residents against an "overreaching federal government."

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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