Updated: FBI investigating cut gas line at Perriello's brother's home
Federal and local authorities are investigating the severing of a gas line at the home of U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello's brother in Charlottesville after his address was posted online by a tea party activist upset about Perriello's vote in favor of the federal health care bill. A threatening letter was also sent to the home yesterday.
"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,'' Perriello (D-Va.) said in a statement. "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."
His office confirmed that a line to a propane tank on a gas grill was cut at Bo Perriello's Charlottesville house Tuesday during the day when no one was home. When Bo Perriello returned home, he smelled gas in the house and saw the severed line.
An activist angry over Perriello's vote Sunday published what he thought was the congressman's home address on a blog if any readers wanted to "drop by" and provide a "personal touch" to their views. But the address was his brother's home, where four children under the age of 8 live.
The Albemarle County Fire Marshal's Office is assisting the FBI, which is investigating because it involves a member of Congress. A call to Bo Perriello's house was not immediately returned.
Perriello defeated Republican Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr. in one of the closest House races in the nation in 2008.
Seven Republican candidates are running in a primary June 8 to replace Perriello. None of them spoke about the actions today, but one -- Laurence Verga -- denounced the release of the address Monday.
Updated: On Wednesday, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, both Republicans, condemned the actions.
"It's not the way we do business in America,'' McDonnell said at a news conference on health care. "We vote at the ballot box. We elect people to vote for us. We respect one another's differences. I certainly condemn anyone using acts of vandlism or violence to express opinions."
After the same news conference, Cuccinelli called the severing of the gas line "absolutely totally unacceptable."
He also said posting a home address on a website and encouraging people to visit is "way over the line."
"I don't think it's close,'' he said. "It's an appalling approach. It's not civil discourse, it's an invitation to intimidation and it's totally unacceptable."
March 24, 2010; 4:11 PM ET
Categories: 2010 Virginia Congressional Races , Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell , Tom Perriello
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