Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, U.S. Representative Stephen F. Lynch, Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, and U.S. Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, sent a letter to Eric Patterson, Director of the Federal Protective Service, seeking information about the agency’s efforts to protect federal government employees in light of a sharp increase in threats following passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 and the execution of a court-authorized search warrant by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club.
“We are alarmed that leaders in the Republican Party have promoted false conspiracy theories and fueled violent threats against federal workers, putting the lives of law enforcement officials and other patriotic public servants at risk,” wrote the Chairs.
Republican leaders have falsely suggested that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) would use the Inflation Reduction Act to hire thousands of new armed agents to target and even kill Americans. They have also demonized federal law enforcement officers and hinted at possible violence in response to the court-authorized search of Mar-a-Lago.
As a result of the increase in threats, multiple federal departments and agencies, including the IRS, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Archives and Records Administration, have had to take steps to protect their workforce. After President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law on August 16, 2022, IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig reportedly warned IRS staff of “an abundance of misinformation and false social media postings” and “threats directed at the IRS and its employees.” Commissioner Rettig announced that as a result of these threats, the IRS was undertaking a physical security risk assessment for each of its 600 facilities for the first time since the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
The August 8, 2022, search of the Mar-a-Lago Club has led to a spike in threats against federal law enforcement officers as well as other federal agencies. NARA officials have cautioned their employees that the agency has received messages from the public accusing it of corruption and “conspiring against the former President.” EPA has also cautioned employees about the increased risk to federal workers.
“We fully support the First Amendment rights of all Americans to share their opinions and engage in spirited debate about U.S. government actions, but threats of violence and incitements to violence are illegal and dangerous. … The Committee is extremely concerned that this volatile threat environment puts federal employees in grave danger and at risk of violence.”
The Federal Protective Service is charged with providing physical security and law enforcement services to protect approximately 9,000 federal facilities and their employees. In light of increased threats to federal employees nationwide, the Chairs requested that the Federal Protective Service provides a briefing and detailed information on their efforts to monitor, assess, and address threats by September 28, 2022.
Click here to read the letter.