Federal officials said the spike in threats began around the debate over health care reform. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)
Washington (CNN) – Federal law enforcement and Congressional authorities are reporting a large increase in threats against lawmakers, a law enforcement official tells CNN. The officials said the spike in threats began around the debate over health care reform.
Since October, 50 threats against members of Congress have been reported to the FBI, said the official, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity. In the previous year, less than 20 were reported to federal law enforcement authorities. When threats are received by lawmakers, the U.S. Capitol Police and in some cases, the FBI, investigate.
Members of the House and Senate reported nearly three times as many threats in the first three months of this year, compared to the last three months of 2009, Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer told The Washington Post. He said nearly all of the incidents appeared to have come from opponents of health care. Gainer did not respond to requests for comment from CNN.
"There has been a spike in threats against members of Congress since passage of the legislation," according to the law enforcement official, who was not authorized to speak on the record about the Congressional investigations.