01:44 GMT +316 November 2019
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    The US Capitol is seen in Washington, DC, April 28, 2017

    Threats of Violence Against US Lawmakers on the Rise

    © AFP 2019 / SAUL LOEB
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    More actionable threats have been documented against Washington lawmakers so far this year than were counted in all of 2016.

    According to the US Capitol Police, the federal law enforcement agency that protects lawmakers on Capitol Hill, nearly 1000 documented threats have been made against Congress members in 2017 to date, as opposed to 902 tallied in all of 2016.

    House sergeant at arms Paul Irving stated that Washington's Capitol Police have investigated more than 950 threats in 2017 aimed at House representatives "because of their profile as elected representatives or members of Congress," according to The Hill.

    In a June 21 letter to Steven Walther, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) chairman, Irving noted that the rise in actionable threats "constitutes the new daily threat environment faced by Member[s] of Congress."

    The information contained within the letter is in response to a request to the FEC for guidance regarding the appropriation of campaign funds to pay for additional security systems for lawmakers' homes — both in Washington DC and in their home states, according to The Hill.

    Several FEC rulings issued earlier on a case-by-case basis have allowed lawmakers to use campaign money to pay for security systems including for former Representative Gabby Giffords (D-AZ), who was shot at an outdoor speaking event in 2011.

    Now lawmakers are streamlining a program to allow the use of additional campaign resources to pay for personal security, particularly after last month's shooting at a GOP baseball practice.

    Earlier, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) informally introduced a plan in which the FEC would detail protocols for elected officials to legally use campaign funds to pay for personal security at home and at work, as well as for their families.

    Sergeant at arms Irving's letter to the FEC was seen to be a formal request to the agency to document how such a system could be put in place, cited by The Hill.

    "It is my position that Members of the US House of Representatives require a residential security system due to the threat environment," Irving wrote in his letter to the FEC.

    Numerous lawmakers on Capitol Hill have received death threats this year, including Representatives Martha McSally (R-AZ) and Tom Garrett (R-VA), from people who claim to be angry with the Republican lack of planning to replace the Affordable Healthcare Act, as well as decrying the actions and behaviors of US President Donald Trump.

    After calling for Trump to be impeached, Congressional Black Caucus member and Democratic Representative from Texas Al Green received lynching threats.


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    Campaign Contributions, security measures, threat, US Capitol Police (USCP), Federal Election Commission, Martha McSally, Al Green, Gabrielle Giffords, Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, Washington, DC
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