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Threats, Stalking and Harassment is the New Normal for Many Public Officials

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In an aerial view, San Francisco police officers and F.B.I. agents gather in front of the home of U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on October 28, 2022 in San Francisco, California. (Justin Sullivan via Getty Images)

More than 40% of state legislators have been victims of threats or attacks since 2020, according to a recent survey. Death threats, stalking and relentless harassment of public officials working across local, state and federal government has becoming increasingly common. Experts say intimidation is feeding on political divisiveness and the abuse is pushing people out of government all together. We’ll talk with politicians who have been targeted, and with experts, about why violence against public officials is so pervasive and what can be done about it.


Eric Swalwell, U.S. Representative representing the 14th District of California, including parts of the East Bay; Rep. Swalwell serves on the House Judiciary and Homeland Security Committees

Rachel Kleinfeld, senior fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace studying political violence

Gowri Ramachandran, deputy director of elections and government, Brennan Center for Justice

Scott Wiener, California state senator representing San Francisco


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