By Corinne Murdock |
It’s been almost two years, and there’s been no follow-up on the death threat against Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ-04). Though the threat made national headlines, it appears that nothing ever came of it. Our reporters attempted to contact Capitol Police, but they didn’t issue any responses by press time.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) issued no updates on the death threat, though they’ve made other arrests for similar death threats since then. Gosar confirmed to AZ Free News that he wasn’t aware if the Capitol Police followed through with their investigation of the death threat against him.
“I am not aware of any action being taken on that death threat. I am not privy to the internal decision making of the Capitol Police or the reasons some threats are investigated and not charged and some are not investigated at all,” said Gosar.
The threat against Gosar was one of the more well-known of 8,600 threats against Congress reported to Capitol Police in 2020 — an uptick from the 6,900 in 2019 but less than the 9,600 from last year.
In January, Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger informed the House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee that they haven’t been able to keep up with threats against Congress since the January 6 invasion of the Capitol.
It’s a felony to threaten a congressman, one that carries up to a 5 to 10 year prison sentence. Comparatively, Gosar has faced repercussions these past two years for behaviors perceived to communicate violence.
Last November, the House censured and removed Gosar from his committees for publicizing an anime meme in which Republican representatives’ likenesses were superimposed on anime heroes who battled and slayed anime villains bearing Democratic leaders’ likenesses. Gosar was the House’s first censure in over a decade, prompting a 4-hour debate.
The meme video was a parody of the popular anime show, “Attack on Titan.”
Since the January 6 invasion of the Capitol, Gosar has faced consistent attacks for promoting and participating in the preceding rally. Gosar has been the focus of the Democrats’ Senate select committee investigating January 6.
Earlier this year, a Democrat-backed, progressive nonprofit, Free Speech For People, unsuccessfully challenged the legitimacy of Gosar’s re-election campaign, as well as the campaigns of Congressman Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05) and State Representative Mark Finchem (R-Oro Valley) for organizing the January 6 protest.
The death threat reportedly came from activist and retired elementary school teacher, Margaret (Mary) Kathleen Spangenberg. The former educator reportedly issued her threat on a voicemail left with Gosar’s congressional office.
“I think it’s totally OK for me to come with my gun and shoot you in the head,” said the woman. “That’s what we think of you, Mr. Gosar. You’re a murderer supporter and you are just going down. Murderer, murderer, murderer supporter, you are going down. And we’ll make sure we’ll send lots of protesters your way too. You’re a real big f*****g piece of s**t.”
Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ), who Spangenberg supported, condemned the threat against Gosar’s life. Kelly’s wife, Gabrielle Giffords, is the survivor of an assassination attempt.
“I strongly condemn this threat against Rep. Gosar,” wrote Kelly. “Threats of violence like this are wrong. I’m glad Capitol Police is investigating.”
Spangenberg also supported Julie Gunnigle’s previous run for Maricopa County Attorney.
Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.