House Oversight Committee Asks Federal Protective Services How It Protects Federal Employees Facing Rising Threats



CNN

The House Oversight Committee is asking the Federal Protective Service, which provides security for approximately 9,000 federal facilities, for information on how it protects federal employees because of increased threats against its employees.

The surge in threats comes after the FBI raided former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and the passage of the Anti-Inflation Act.

Chairman Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat from New York, and Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, a Democrat from Massachusetts and chairman of the subcommittee, said in a letter to Federal Protection Service Director L. Eric Patterson that they believe the rhetoric of Republican leaders has helped. Significant increase in threats to federal employees nationwide.

“We are alarmed that Republican Party leaders have promoted false conspiracy theories and violent threats against federal employees, putting the lives of law enforcement officers and other patriotic public servants at risk,” Maloney and Lynch wrote.

After the Mar-a-Lago search, Maloney and Lynch say Trump and Republican members of Congress “made reckless statements demonizing federal police and even hinting at potential violence.”

The letter refers to a recent speech by Trump in which he called the Justice Department and the FBI “vicious monsters” and warned that the ongoing criminal investigation into the removal of classified documents from Mar-a-Lago “will create a similar backlash.” which no one has ever seen before.’ The letter also cites an August interview on Fox News by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, in which he said there would be “riots in the streets” if Trump is indicted in the case.

Right-wing Republican Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona posted on Twitter shortly after the search: “We must destroy the FBI.”

“The flood of misinformation and violent threats against federal employees has already resulted in at least one fatality. Last month, dangerous anti-FBI rhetoric in the wake of the Mar-a-Lago search led to attacks on federal law enforcement, including the Cincinnati, Ohio FBI- a field office of,” Maloney and Lynch write. They added that in the days following the Mar-a-Lago raid, the FPS reportedly warned of “an increase in social media threats against the FBI and, to a lesser extent, other government and law enforcement agencies.”

Separately, the letter also cites examples from top Republicans who believe that the implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act, which will lead to additional funding for the Internal Revenue Service, will be harmful to Americans.

Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, the Senate Republican campaign chairman, said in an August news release that passage of the Inflation Reduction Act would bring 87,000 new IRS agents who would be “mostly armed” to “super-create the IRS.” police force” willing to “kill” their “working Americans.” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy wrote on Twitter: “Democrats’ new army of 87,000 IRS agents is coming for you.” Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa said on Fox News that the new funding would “provide an accompanying strike force with AK-15s.” [sic] already loaded, all ready to shoot at a small business in Iowa.’

CNN reported that the funding would help support the IRS’s work, including but not limited to audits, while also bringing in more federal tax revenue to help offset the cost of the Democrats’ plan to cut prescription drug costs. and combating climate change. The agency’s budget has been cut by more than 15% in the last decade. As a result, staffing levels and audit rates have been declining for years, which became even more apparent during the Covid-19 pandemic when taxpayers were unable to keep up with their filings.

Democrats and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, have repeatedly said the intent is not to target the middle class but to make sure wealthy tax evaders follow the law. Ultimately, it is up to the IRS how the money is used.

On August 23, 2022, the letter states, Rettig warned IRS employees of “numerous misinformation and false social media posts” about the implementation of the SCA, including “threats directed at the IRS and its employees.” As a result, Rettig said the IRS would conduct a physical security risk assessment for the IRS’s 600 facilities.

Other federal agencies, including the National Archives and Records Administration, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, and the Environmental Protection Agency, have also alerted employees to increased threats.

“We fully support the First Amendment rights of all Americans to engage in and engage in spirited debate about the actions of the US government, but threats of violence and incitement to violence are illegal and dangerous,” Maloney and Lynch wrote.

Maloney and Lynch asked Patterson what steps the Federal Protective Service has taken and expressed their concern that the financial resources available to the FPS are insufficient to deal with the current threat environment. The FPS is currently funded through a Base Security Fee paid by federal agencies from funds appropriated by Congress.