The League of Women Voters has filed complaints with police in Evanston, IL and the FBI saying that one of their officials has been targeted by death threats relating to a candidatess debate she moderated last week. Kathy Tate-Bradish was a volunteer moderator at the October 21 debate in the state’s 8th District and sparked conservative outrage when she expressed what was perceived as “lukewarm” support for reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
Just as the debate was about to begin, an audience member asked Tate-Bradish whether the pledge would be recited. When she “explained the pledge was not scheduled to begin the event, almost all in the crowd of more than 300 stood and enthusiastically recited it anyway.” Tate-Bradish recited the pledge as well, but told the crowd afterwards that the Pledge is not typically recited at candidate debates moderated by the League.
Within a few days, Tate-Bradish went from an unknown local League official to a right-wing villain, thanks to Fox News host Glenn Beck, who devoted a significant portion of his October 25 show to attacking her personally:
BECK: We wanted to look at the moderator, Kathy Tate-Bradish, from the League of Women Voters. Oh, she sounds so neutral and everything. I mean, she’s even neutral on the Pledge, apparently — just a typical woman voter trying to get the truth out. No, not so much — not so much.
She is on fire for Obama. She is a big-time Obama supporter. In fact, so much so, she’s part of his Organizing for America arm. Hmm. She’s even hosted campaign event in her home in 2007, part of her post on OFA’s, Organizing for America Web site, “Hope Action Change.”
The FBI told the Arlington Heights Daily Herald that Tate-Bradish’ complaint has been received and “is receiving due consideration.” League of Women Voters Illinois Executive Director Jan Czarnik, who filed the complaint, told the FBI that Tate-Bradish had been “turned into a cause celebre by Glenn Beck and Fox News.” Czarnik provided the FBI death threats posted on the Internet against Tate-Bradish, and “reported menacing posts on Fox News Channel’s Facebook page and Beck’s website, The Blaze.”
Joel Cheatwood, an executive who oversees Beck’s show, issued a statement yesterday saying, “We’re not going to comment on something that’s hypothetical as we have not heard about this complaint.”
For more on right-wing violence, see yesterday’s Progress Report.
Mary Schaafsma, the issues and advocacy coordinator for the Illinois League, told ThinkProgress this afternoon that the only reason Tate-Bradish resisted reciting the Pledge was because it had not been included in the debate format, which the candidates had agreed to ahead of time, noting that the League has been doing candiate forums and debates like the one Beck highlighted “for decades.” She also said that following the threats, the League locked the doors to its Chicago offices for several days and alerted the building management of the possible threat. “I’ve been working in politics and nonprofits for a long long time and I never seen this level and pitch of vitriol,” she said.