Is An Autopen Kinda Like Docusign?

It sounds like President Obama used something like Docusign to sign the Patriot Act extensions.

In typical government fashion, it sounds like they have found the most difficult and inefficient way to do something that is really quite simple. (bolding mine)

WASHINGTON — President Obama has taken advantage of a little-known and infrequently used device called an autopen to put his signature on legislation extending the government’s post-Sept. 11 powers to search records and conduct roving wiretaps in pursuit of terrorists for anther four years.

Earlier on Thursday, Congress passed a four-year extension of the Patriot Act. Votes taken in rapid succession in the Senate and House came after lawmakers rejected attempts to temper the law enforcement powers to ensure that individual liberties are not abused.

With Obama currently in France at a G-8 summit, the White House said the president had instructed use of the autopen machine, which holds a pen and signs his actual signature. It is only used with proper authorization of the president. Obama was awakened at 5:45 a.m. in France so that he could review and approve the bill and authorize his signature, the White House said.


Wow. He reviewed the bill for minutes? Glad our privacy warrants minutes of consideration.

My clients actually read and discuss the merits of our offers, contracts and decisions, focusing on what and why we’re signing rather than whether to sign.

Electronic signatures have been legal since 2000.

So, now, you troglodyte banks, if the President can sign remotely, why must you require wet or faxed signatures for Contracts?


The focus on the use of an (“the” seems more appropriate; surely there isn’t more than
one autopen, is there?) The focus should be both on 1) Whether he (or any member of Congress) read the bill and 2) Shouldn’t there be a debate on the bill?

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