In a disconcerting case highlighting the dangers faced by election officials, a man from Massachusetts has pled guilty to sending a bomb threat to an election official in Arizona. The defendant, James W. Clark, sent a threatening message to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office, warning that an explosive device would be detonated unless the official resigned. This incident emphasizes the crucial need to protect those who administer the electoral process and safeguard the right to vote.
Man Pleads Guilty to Sending Bomb Threat to Arizona State Election Official
Threats against election officials are a serious matter that undermine the integrity of the democratic process. It is crucial to protect these dedicated individuals who serve the public and administer our voting systems. The recent guilty plea of a Massachusetts man for sending a bomb threat to an election official in the Arizona Secretary of State’s office highlights the importance of ensuring the safety and security of election workers.
The man responsible for the bomb threat, James W. Clark, has pleaded guilty to the crime. This case serves as a stark reminder that threatening public officials is never warranted, regardless of the situation’s intensity or political nature. U.S. Attorney Gary M. Restaino emphasizes that such cases are essential for protecting both the individual victimized by the conduct and the overall integrity of election processes.
Attorney General Merrick B. Garland has made it clear that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is dedicated to investigating and prosecuting violations of federal law against election officials and workers. By safeguarding those who administer the election process, we can ensure the protection of the right to vote itself. A statement from Attorney General Garland emphasizes the DOJ’s commitment to this mission.
Summary of the Case
James W. Clark sent a bomb threat to an election official in the Arizona Secretary of State’s office on February 14, 2021. In a message sent through the website contact form of the Election Division, he warned the official to resign by a specific date and time, threatening to detonate an explosive device otherwise. Shortly after transmitting the threat, Clark conducted online searches using the official’s full name along with phrases that indicated violent intent. The investigation revealed that Clark also searched for information related to the Boston Marathon bombing.
These details underscore the seriousness of the threat, as Clark was not only intent on causing harm to the election official but also actively sought information on carrying out violent acts. Such behavior raises concerns about the safety of election workers and the need for comprehensive measures to protect them.
James W. Clark has been charged with one count of making a threatening interstate communication. He has pleaded guilty to this charge and is scheduled to be sentenced on October 26. The maximum penalty for his crime is five years in prison. The final decision on his sentence will be made by a federal district court judge, who will consider various factors, including the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, in reaching a fair and just outcome.
It is important to hold individuals accountable for their actions and send a strong message that threats against election officials are not tolerated. The legal consequences Clark will face should serve as a deterrent to others who may contemplate similar acts of violence or intimidation.
Law Enforcement Efforts
The FBI plays a vital role in protecting election officials from threats and acts of violence. FBI Director Christopher Wray emphasizes the agency’s commitment to defending the rights of Americans, particularly the right to vote. Elections are the cornerstone of our democracy, and election workers are dedicated community members entrusted with the responsibility of preserving the integrity of the U.S. voting process. The FBI will continue to work tirelessly to ensure their safety and protect the fidelity of U.S. elections.
Task Force on Election Threats
The DOJ has established the Election Threats Task Force to address threats of violence against election workers and to ensure they can perform their duties without fear of intimidation. The task force, launched in June 2021 by Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco, has been working closely with the election community, state and local law enforcement, FBI Field Offices, and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices throughout the country. Its primary objectives are to assess allegations and reports of threats against election workers and to investigate and prosecute these matters where appropriate.
The task force comprises various entities within the DOJ, including the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section, the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, the Civil Rights Division, the National Security Division, and the FBI. It also collaborates with interagency partners, such as the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. With Deputy Attorney General Monaco at the helm, the task force continues to support U.S. Attorneys’ offices and FBI field offices nationwide in their critical work.
How to Report Threats or Acts of Violence
If you have information about a threat or act of violence targeting election officials, it is crucial to report it promptly to the appropriate authorities. You can contact your local FBI office and request to speak with the Election Crimes Coordinator. The FBI field office contact information can be found on their website at www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices/.
In addition to contacting the FBI, you can file a complaint online at www.tips.fbi.gov. The task force will review every complaint submitted and take appropriate action, referring cases for investigation or response as necessary. If there is imminent danger or an immediate risk of harm, do not hesitate to contact 911 or your local police.
The DOJ has dealt with several cases related to threats against election officials. The following press releases provide additional insight into the actions taken by the department in response to these threats:
- Press release on the sentencing of a former Tennessee State Senator who participated in a campaign finance scheme (link not provided).
- Press release on the charge against an individual for making a threat to a Michigan election worker (link not provided).
- Press release on the sentencing of a businessman involved in a foreign conduit contribution scheme (link not provided).
These cases highlight the DOJ’s commitment to enforcing the law and ensuring the safety of election workers across the United States.
The protection of election workers is of utmost significance to the DOJ and the FBI. Threats against these individuals threaten the very core of our democracy and the right to vote. The guilty plea of James W. Clark serves as a reminder that the DOJ is actively pursuing and prosecuting those who engage in acts of violence or intimidation against election officials. Through the efforts of the Election Threats Task Force and collaboration with state and local law enforcement, the DOJ is working diligently to safeguard the electoral process and ensure that election workers can perform their duties without fear. By protecting those who administer the election process, we protect the democratic principles upon which our nation is built.