What seems like an outrage is really a sad sign of the times — our “defund the police” Squad member spending $63,000 in taxpayer money on “private security.”
U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley reported the security payments from her House spending account in her latest reporting period, according to the Daily Caller.
The Boston congresswoman in the past reported spending money from her campaign account on security services but now apparently has moved on to using taxpayer dollars.
Could she have continued to use campaign funds and spared taxpayers from paying the bill? Sure.
But is the extra protection necessary? Unfortunately, yes.
Pressley has been subject to death threats and other threats — not to mention the usual barrage of attacks that come with serving in Congress or elsewhere in public life — for most of her time in Congress, but especially over the last year.
“The reality is that these death threats, violent phone calls, the need for private security hires, coordination with Capitol Police and the FBI, this has become part of our daily negotiation of how to serve the people who sent us to Washington,” Sarah Groh, Pressley’s chief of staff, told USA Today last year.
These threats from cowardly, anonymous people have to be taken seriously.
The Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, and the shootings of U.S. Reps. Steve Scalise and Gabby Giffords, showed just how dangerous it’s become to serve in public life.
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu has also been subject to threats and racial and misogynistic attacks, but she has a cadre of Boston police officers to protect her.
Her Roslindale neighborhood has been the scene of daily demonstrations by anti-vaccine mandate activists.
Former Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins, now the U.S. Attorney, has also voiced concerns about what she has called death threats and other attacks. She asked for federal law enforcement to protect her and was turned down by the U.S. Marshal’s office because the threats were deemed to be low risk.
Members of Congress, as well as mayors, are frequently out in public for speaking appearances, town hall meetings and interviews and are probably more exposed than most elected officials. Even members of the media are subject to threats and protests at their homes.
Pressley has been a lightning rod for her critics and has faced her share of vitriol.
Whether it’s taxpayers or her campaign paying for it, she deserves protection, as long as she doesn’t abuse it or use security as an excuse to avoid scrutiny.
Let’s hope that Pressley sees that even the police are there to protect citizens as well as lawmakers, and should get the funding they need.
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