It’s generally pretty easy to get in touch with a member of Congress’ office. Contact information – telephone number, email, fax, etc. – is readily available on every member’s website, both for lawmakers’ office on Capitol Hill and back in their local districts. Americans who want to send a message to their elected representatives can do so pretty easily.
But members of Congress also receive an official email address, which isn’t shared with the public, and which lawmakers use for internal communications with colleagues. Often, even members’ own aides can’t send messages to these addresses.
It’s what makes this report from John Stanton, which he talked with Rachel about last night, all the more amazing.
A group of House Republicans has received a mysterious threat in recent weeks: an anonymous email that promises political retribution for those who vote yes to a debt-limit increase – sent to their closely guarded personal email addresses.Because of the near-secret nature of lawmakers’ internal email addresses, the emails have raised more than a few eyebrows – and the possibility that one of their own was behind, or at least assisting in, the attacks.
The message itself, sent by someone called “unrepresentative one,” seemed like the sort of thing a lawmaker might receive from an unhinged constituent. A message told House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), for example, “[I]sn’t it time we stopped lying to the American People in re the debt limit?” It added a “cryptic back-and-forth” exchange between the mysterious sender a “shadowy third party” prepared to punish lawmakers who vote to pay for the spending Congress approved last month.
Stanton talked to one Republican who speculated on who was responsible for sending the message: “It’s got to be another member. Probably one of the crazy ones.”
And that’s the funny part.
We’ve reached a curious point in modern political history. When members of the House Republican conference receive a bizarre screed on a highly guarded email account, the first assumption would probably be that some outside weirdo inadvertently gained access to a private list.
But upon further reflection, some elected lawmakers came to the conclusion that one of their own sent the screed, but no one takes it too seriously because the message was “probably” sent by “one of the crazy ones.”
The key word in that sentence isn’t “crazy”; it’s “ones” – as in, the House Republican Stanton talked to believes there are now so many nutty people elected to Congress, it’s tough to even guess who’d be responsible for sending a weird email under a weird pseudonym.