On Monday, Lynchburg Tea Party member Mike Troxel posted what he believed to be the home address of Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA), encouraging people to drop by for a “good face-to-face chat”:
Just in case any of his friends and neighbors want to drop by and say hi and express their thanks regarding his vote for healthcare. I personally believe it’s so important for representatives to remain fully grounded and to remember exactly what it is their constituents are saying and how they are telling them to vote. Nothing quite does that like a good face-to-face chat. It has a much more personal touch to it.
As Politico explained, the address Troxel posted was actually the address of Perriello’s brother, who lives with his wife and four children under the age of eight. “If they [Perriello's staff] would like to provide me with the address of Tom, then I’d be more than happy to take it down,” he said. “I have no reason to believe it’s not his house.”
However, yesterday, after receiving evidence from a commenter that the address did indeed belong to Perriello’s brother, Troxel erased it, even though he didn’t yet have the congressman’s address. (The site is currently down because the “bandwidth limit” has been exceeded.)
ThinkProgress spoke to Troxel yesterday, who said he would “probably” still post Perriello’s address if he found it. “The bottom line is that his offices wouldn’t answer phone calls, they wouldn’t return e-mails to his constituents, and as an elected official, he’s responsible to the people he represents,” said Troxel, pointing out that people also picketed President Bush’s ranch in Texas.
We also contacted Nigel Coleman, leader of the nearby Danville Tea Party in Virginia. In the past, Coleman gained attention for his group’s plan to burn Perriello and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in effigy, although the stunt was eventually canceled. Coleman said that he knew Troxel and had no problem with the posting of Perriello’s home address. “There’s an assumption that we’re a violent group of people and we’d do something bad to the man,” he said. “We’re just trying to get heard.” The Danville News reported that Coleman also posted the address to his Facebook page, and when told it was actually the brother’s address, he replied, “Oh well, collateral damage.” (He later removed the post and said his comments were “in poor taste.”)
Another Tea Party member who approves of what Troxel is doing is Kurt Feigel, who “who frequently works and communicates with Troxel and runs a companion blog.” He told ThinkProgress yesterday that he had no problem with posting lawmaker’s home addresses. Feigel has posted YouTube videos advocating people to send “traitor” lawmakers ropes and stock up on guns and ammunition in case the political situation in this country gets too bad. Watch a compilation:
The FBI is now investigating an “incident” that occurred at the home of Perriello’s brother. “This is very preliminary at this point, so we’re not making any comment at this time,” a local FBI spokesman told Politico.
ThinkProgress contacted the offices of several GOP Republican and conservative officials, as well as state Sen. Robert Hurt, who is running against Perriello. None of them responded to our requests for comment.
More information on the incident at Perriello’s brother’s house:
Federal and local authorities are investigating a severed gas line at the home of U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello’s brother, discovered the day after Tea Party activists posted the address online so opponents could “drop by” and “express their thanks” for Perriello’s vote in favor of health care reform.
The gas line to the home’s propane tank was slashed, according to sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Coleman responded that he is “shocked” at the news, saying, “I obviously condemn these actions.” However, he “added that he is not certain that the incident is related to the posting of the home’s address.”
,At least 10 members of Congress have requested extra security due to recent threats, according to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD).
,Statement from Perriello:
My number one priority right now is ensuring the safety of my brother’s family, and I am grateful to law enforcement for their excellent work. While it is too early to say anything definitive regarding political motivations behind this act, it’s never too early for political leaders to condemn threats of violence, particularly as threats to other Members of Congress and their children escalate. And so I ask every member of House and Senate leadership to state unequivocally tonight that it is never OK to harm or threaten elected officials and their families with anything more than political retribution. Here in America, we settle our political differences at the ballot box.