Man accused of threats to Congress, including GOP’s Scalise
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Rep. Steve Scalise, grievously wounded in a 2017 shooting, and the No. 4 House Republican leader have received telephone threats, aides said Thursday after a western New York man was arrested and accused of leaving menacing voicemails for two lawmakers.
U.S. Attorney James Kennedy said investigators believe the threats are credible. The prosecutor said items that are “very concerning” were found in Carlos Bayon’s Grand Island home, north of Buffalo.
The messages say in part: “You are taking ours. We are taking yours.” Kennedy did not elaborate on what evidence was found.
Bayon, 63, was arrested Wednesday and faces a federal charge of making threats across state lines. He is accused of leaving messages for representatives from Washington state and Louisiana on June 30, though authorities did not release the lawmakers’ names.
Scalise spokesman Chris Bond confirmed Thursday that Scalise, the No. 3 House Republican leader, received a threat. He said Scalise, 52, does not know Bayon or know why he was targeted.
Also receiving a threat was Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., said a congressional aide who spoke on condition of anonymity because she said U.S. Capitol Police asked staffers to not comment publicly. McMorris Rodgers, 49, is serving her seventh House term and is her party’s No. 4 leader.
The House GOP whip and chief vote counter, Scalise is considered a contender to succeed Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., if House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., does not win that job. Ryan is retiring in January.
Scalise was among five people wounded in June 2017 when a gunman attacked a Republican baseball practice. Doctors said Scalise was near death after he suffered shattered bones and damaged internal organs. He was hospitalized for more than a month and relies largely on crutches and an electric scooter to move around the Capitol.
Capitol Police and other officers killed the gunman, who had nursed grievances against President Donald Trump and the GOP.
“Whip Scalise is grateful to law enforcement for their swift actions,” said Bond. He added, “There is absolutely no place for violence in our political discourse.”
Bayon has requested an attorney and a detention hearing is scheduled for Friday.
The FBI and Capitol Police are investigating. Capitol Police spokeswoman Eva Malecki declined to provide additional information, saying her agency does not comment during continuing investigations.
This story corrects last name of Scalise spokesman to Bond, not Jones.
Associated Press writer Alan Fram in Washington contributed to this report.