Portraits of would-be American assassins

Congressional death threats: the last truly bipartisan issue

Written by Michael Morisy
Edited by JPat Brown

The FBI released 225 pages of threats against members of Congress made in 2009, including specific threats to 8 individuals the agency had investigated. While the release may not be comprehensive (ongoing investigations, for example, are exempt from FOIA), the pages do paint a picture of the typical investigated threat: mentally unstable, intoxicated, or both.

While this information is a small sample size, it is interesting to note that four of the threats were driven by traditionally liberal causes, two traditionally conservative causes, and none stemmed from organized political groups.

Below are summaries of the threats, but you are also invited to read the detailed reports yourself. Notice anything interesting? Let us know at info@MuckRock.com.

  • Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln: Drunken threat “because she claims to be for government-run healthcare when she actually is not for government-run healthcare.”
  • Democratic Congresswoman [Zoe Logfren](https://www.muckrock.com/foi/united-states-of-america-10/2009-death-threats-against-federal-lawmakers-387/#files): Threatened to hurt congresswoman based on stances on immigration and nuclear energy. Listens to Lou Dobbs, "mentally deficient".
  • Democratic Congressman [Heath Schuler](https://www.muckrock.com/foi/united-states-of-america-10/2009-death-threats-against-federal-lawmakers-387/#file-3441): "If you don't vote for stimulus package, I'm going to kill you. As simple as that." Individual had shown signs of "mental instability," including hearing voices.
  • Republican Senator [John Cornyn](https://www.muckrock.com/foi/united-states-of-america-10/2009-death-threats-against-federal-lawmakers-387/#file-2940), Democratic Congressman Ciro Rodriguez: Threatened by individual with "depression, anxiety and a sleep disorder" after he was denied retirement benefits.
  • Republican Representative [Paul Ryan](https://www.muckrock.com/foi/united-states-of-america-10/2009-death-threats-against-federal-lawmakers-387/#file-2928): Threatened with "a bulls eye on his head" for supporting Iraq war.
  • Democratic Senator [Debbie Stabenow](https://www.muckrock.com/foi/united-states-of-america-10/2009-death-threats-against-federal-lawmakers-387/#file-2927): Threatened with assassination for supporting "fairness doctrine" by drunken individual.
  • Democratic Senator [Sherrod C. Brown](https://www.muckrock.com/foi/united-states-of-america-10/2009-death-threats-against-federal-lawmakers-387/#file-2941): Threat to kill unless Congressman "supports clean energy."

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