DOJ Criticized For Handling Of Threats Against Lawmakers

 June 19, 2024

Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) has accused the Department of Justice (DOJ) of refusing to prosecute threats made against his family, highlighting what he perceives as a disparity in how threats against Republican and Democratic members of Congress are treated.

Banks pointed to cases involving Democratic representatives that resulted in a federal prosecution, contrasting them with his own experience.

Daily Wire reported that Banks questioned Attorney General Merrick Garland on the disparity in responses to threats against Republicans versus Democrats. In a letter to the Justice Department chief, Banks stated that the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana declined to prosecute a man despite clear evidence of threats.

Banks received threatening voicemails from Aaron Thompson, who was later prosecuted by a local district attorney in Indiana and sentenced to two years of probation.

Alleged Disparity In Prosecutions

Thompson admitted to calling and threatening Banks while intoxicated, citing disagreements with Banks’ political views. Banks contrasted his case with that of Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell, where federal prosecutors charged and secured a guilty plea from a man who threatened Swalwell. An elderly Florida man left threatening messages for Swalwell, also claiming intoxication at the time.

In another case, federal prosecutors sentenced Brian Michael Gaherty to 33 months in prison and a $10,000 fine for making threats against Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters. Gaherty pleaded guilty to leaving four threatening messages for Waters in 2022. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California announced Gaherty’s sentence.

Specific Threats Detailed

"When Capitol Police referred the criminal case against Aaron Thompson to the U.S. Attorney for Northern District of Indiana, they declined to prosecute despite clear evidence that Thompson violated federal law," Banks stated. Thompson's voicemails included threats like, “Three daughters. Hey, hey, hey, three bullets hey, hey, hey one wife yay. Oh yeah, yeah, we’ll give her two bullets.” Swalwell’s threatener said, “I’m gonna kill your children.”

Banks' frustration stems from what he sees as an inconsistency in the DOJ’s actions. Gaherty’s threats against Waters were particularly graphic, including statements to “put a cap” in Waters’ head, “cut [her] throat,” and “stomp” her. These threats led to a substantial prison sentence for Gaherty.

Banks Pushes For Equitable Justice

Banks emphasized the need for consistent federal responses to threats against members of Congress, regardless of party affiliation. He questioned why his family’s threats were handled differently compared to those against his Democratic colleagues. Banks' inquiry to Attorney General Garland aims to address what he perceives as a significant oversight in justice.

Banks' comparison of his case to those of Swalwell and Waters underscores his call for equitable justice. He seeks answers from the DOJ on why threats against his family did not warrant federal prosecution. Banks' push for transparency and fairness highlights broader concerns about political bias within the justice system.

Ongoing Concerns About Political Bias

The DOJ's handling of these cases raises questions about potential political bias. Banks' case, juxtaposed with those of Swalwell and Waters, suggests a need for clearer standards in prosecuting threats against public officials. This issue remains a critical concern for lawmakers seeking protection and justice.

Banks' efforts to highlight these discrepancies aim to ensure that all threats against Congress members are treated equally. By bringing attention to his case, Banks hopes to prompt a reevaluation of DOJ policies. The goal is to create a more consistent and fair approach to handling such threats.

In conclusion, Rep. Jim Banks has accused the DOJ of declining to prosecute threats against his family, alleging a disparity in how threats against Republicans and Democrats are handled. Banks' case involves threats from Aaron Thompson, who received a lighter sentence compared to individuals who threatened Democratic representatives Eric Swalwell and Maxine Waters. Banks' inquiry to the DOJ seeks to address perceived inconsistencies in federal responses and push for equitable justice for all members of Congress.

About Aileen Barro

With years of experience at the forefront of political commentary, Robert Cunningham brings a blend of sharp wit and deep insight to his analysis of American principles at the Capitalism Institute.

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