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Lawmakers have already received more threats this year than they did during all of last year, ac ccording to a letter written by Paul D. Irving, sergeant at arms at the House of Representatives.
In a letter to the Federal Election Commission, Irving said that House of Representatives members have received at least 950 threatening messages this year – already surpassing the 902 threats made during all of 2016.
The Sergeant at Arms is the chief law enforcement officer of the House of Representatives.
“The increased useofsocial media has created a new avenue for individuals with ill intent to publish threatening messages directed toward Members of the House of Representatives,” Irving wrote.
He then asked the FEC to clarify whether all Members may use funds from their campaigns to install residential security systems. Currently, only those who have received direct threats are mentioned in advisory letters on the matter from the commission.
Earlier this month, when an armed shooter shot Republican House Majority Whip Steve Scalise during a congressional baseball practice, both Republicans and Democrats received threatening messages, with one message reading “1 down, 216 to go.”
Irving went on to argue that, given the current political climate, members of Congress need extra protection in the form of security systems at home.
“The anonymous nature of these postings makes it particularly challenging for the United States Capitol Police (USCP), and it is imperative that we do everything possible to protect our elected representatives,” he wrote.