U.S. Congressman Harry Mitchell

Harry Mitchell - Taking your money - Micro-managing your life


Will any of these angry people carry out their threats?


Mitchell, family targets of threats, harassment

by Dan Nowicki - Mar. 26, 2010 12:00 AM

The Arizona Republic

WASHINGTON - Rep. Harry Mitchell received death threats and his wife and son have been harassed in connection with his vote in favor of President Barack Obama's landmark health-care overhaul.

Mitchell, D-Ariz., represents a Republican-leaning congressional district that includes Scottsdale, Tempe, Fountain Hills and parts of Phoenix and Mesa. He is one of a group of at least 10 lawmakers that House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., this week said had been targeted with threats.

"Congressman Mitchell has received physical threats, including threats on his life, both before and after a vote on health-care reform," Adam Bozzi, his spokesman, said in a written statement released Thursday. "Recently, the congressman received a call from an individual who said she was so filled with rage that she warned the congressman to 'watch his back' and called for a bomber to blow up his Scottsdale office."

Mitchell and his office in Scottsdale also have received numerous hostile phone calls as well as notes attached to animal feces throughout the past year, Bozzi's statement said. His wife "has been harassed at their Tempe home" while his son, Tempe City Councilman Mark Mitchell, also received "menacing calls," Bozzi said.

Details about other disturbing incidents directed at pro-health-reform lawmakers have emerged since the House's historic Sunday night action to pass the health bill.

Around 2 a.m. Monday, just hours after the vote, a vandal shattered, possibly with a pellet gun or air pistol, a glass door and adjacent glass panel at the Tucson office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz.

Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., on Wednesday announced that someone threw a brick at her Niagara Falls district office and left a message "referencing snipers" on her campaign office's answering machine.

Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., received numerous nasty threats. Someone cut a gas line at the home of the brother of Rep. Tom Perriello, D-Va. A blogger had erroneously identified the brother's home address as the lawmaker's.

On Thursday, House Republican Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, denounced the disturbing trend, saying, "Threats and violence should not be part of a political debate."

During an interview Wednesday with The Arizona Republic, Mitchell didn't mention the death threats. He described constituent reaction to his vote as "mixed."

"I'm hearing from those who didn't like it, and I'm hearing from those who like it. I'm hearing both," Mitchell said in his Capitol Hill office. "I'm looking forward to coming back (to my district). There are a lot of misconceptions about the bill."

Bozzi said Mitchell at the time wasn't aware of some of the vicious voice mail left at his district office or the incidents involving his family members. The threats were reported to U.S. Capitol Police and the animal feces were reported to Scottsdale police, Bozzi said.

Staffers from Mitchell's office in Scottsdale informed Scottsdale police about the notes with the animal feces about a month ago, said Sgt. Mark Clark, a police spokesman.

Mitchell's office also informed Scottsdale police on Thursday about harassing voice mails left at the congressman's office in Scottsdale this week. The voice mails were turned over to U.S. Capitol Police, Clark said.

Nowicki is The Republic's national political reporter. He is reporting this week from Washington, D.C.


U.S. Congressman Harry Mitchell

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