Lawmakers report threats after vote

WASHINGTON — A fax bearing the image of a noose. A bullet through a window. Bricks thrown, a gas line cut.

Democrats and Republicans revealed new details of threats against them Thursday in the aftermath of the passage of the health care overhaul. On one point Thursday, there was bipartisan agreement: No act of Congress — health care reform or anything else — merits threats of violence against lawmakers or their families. House Republican leader John Boehner met with Speaker Nancy Pelosi about the incidents and both condemned them.

At least four Democratic offices in New York, Arizona and Kansas were struck, and at least 10 members of Congress have reported threats, including obscenity-laced phone messages and a fax bearing the image of a noose, congressional leaders said.

U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Fla., who voted against the health care bill, said she received a threatening voice mail at her Brooksville office Thursday morning that said, "Just wanna let you know I have 27 people that are going to make sure that this b---- does not live to see her next term. Goodbye."

Also Thursday, Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio, and House Republican Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia said they, too, had been menaced. Schmidt released a recording of a voice mail she said she received in which a man repeatedly accuses Republicans of being racists. Cantor said a shot was fired at his office in Richmond, Va.

Richmond police said later Thursday that the bullet had been randomly fired skyward. A statement said the bullet was fired into the air early Tuesday and hit the front window of a building that houses Cantor's campaign office as it fell to back to earth at a sharp angle.

The round landed on the floor of the office a foot inside a broken window pane. No one was in the building at the time, police said, and an investigation has yielded no suspects.

A threat to assault a member of Congress in retaliation for the performance of official duties is punishable by up to a year in prison.

Among other incidents:

• Ohio Rep. John Boccieri, one of eight Democrats who switched to "yes" on the most recent House vote, said he had received threats.

• E-mails sent to Rep. Suzanne Kosmas, D-Fla., another member who switched her vote, urged her to commit suicide and said she and her family should "rot in hell."

• Rep. Louise Slaughter, a New York Democrat and chairwoman of an influential House committee, said someone had left her a voice mail that used the word "snipers."

• Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., received a fax with a picture of a gallows and noose with "Bart (SS) Stupak" on it. It was captioned, "All Baby Killers come to unseemly ends Either by the hand of man or by the hand of God."

Lawmakers report threats after vote 03/25/10 [Last modified: Thursday, March 25, 2010 11:22pm]

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