A Texas man was arrested on Friday for allegedly making election-related death threats against government officials in Georgia.
Chad Stark, 54, of Leander was arrested in Travis County, Texas, and charged with one count of communicating interstate threats, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
The case is the first to be brought by the Election Threats Task Force launched by the Justice Department last June in response to increasing threats against elections officials.
According to the federal indictment, Mr. Stark made the threats on Craigslist on Jan. 5, 2021, in a post titled, “Georgia Patriots it’s time to kill [Official A] the Chinese agent - $10,000.”
“Georgia Patriots it’s time for us to take back our state from these Lawless treasonous traitors,” the message reportedly said. “It’s time to invoke our Second Amendment right it’s time to put a bullet in the treasonous Chinese [Official A]. Then we work our way down to [Official B] the local and federal corrupt judges.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland said on Friday that the department “has a responsibility not only to protect the right to vote, but also to protect those who administer our voting systems from violence and illegal threats of violence.”
“The department’s Election Threats Task Force, working with partners across the country, will hold accountable those who violate federal law by using violence or threatening violence to target election workers fulfilling their public duties,” Mr. Garland said in a statement.
The interagency task force works with election officials and state and local law enforcement to assess threats against election workers. It includes entities within the department’s criminal, civil rights and national security divisions, as well as the FBI.
FBI Director Christopher A. Wray said the arrest confirms the bureau’s “commitment in our pursuit of justice against those who choose to threaten violence against anyone participating in our elections.”
“Election workers striving to protect our right to a fair and democratic process deserve nothing less than the utmost safety and assurance they can accomplish their roles without interference,” Mr. Wray said in a statement.
A survey released last April by the Brennan Center for Justice found 1 in 3 election officials feel unsafe because of their job and nearly 1 in 5 said threats to their lives were a job-related concern.