In a little-reported story Thursday, a Tuscon-area office of Congressman Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., claimed to have received a suspicious piece of mail, subsequently closing down his Tuscon and Yuma offices and sparking the involvement of local police, the bomb squad and the FBI. Fortunately, Rep. Grijalva was reportedly not at the office at the time the package arrived. According to news accounts, the envelope arrived with swastikas drawn all over the outside and a white powdery substance on the inside.
Ironically, Grijalva — a co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus and four-term incumbent Democrat currently locked in a tight “toss up” battle to retain his House seat — appeared on a national news talk show earlier this week complaining about racist tactics being used in politics. Just days later, it seemed Grijalva himself had been a target of this negative rhetoric.
Adam Sarvana, Grijalva’s spokesman, told the local press Thursday that staffers were undergoing preliminary health checks and Grijalva himself declared the envelope of white powder “toxic.” Despite the FBI having yet to identify the substance, MSNBC.com reprinted Grijalva’s claim,reporting:
White powder delivered in an swastika-covered envelope to the Tucson, Ariz., office of Rep. Raul Grijalva is a toxic substance, the Democratic congressman said the FBI told him Thursday afternoon.
This seemingly racist threat also caught the eye of MSNBC host Keith Olbermann who interrupted his regular prime-time programming to feature Grijalva.
Olbermann repeats the assumption that the substance was “confirmed toxic,” and Grijalva himself says the piece of mail put constituents and his staff in danger….
Olbermann asked Grijalva to confirm details of the case and the congressman confirms the presence of swastikas and that “this is a pattern.” Olbermann then claimed Politico reported the substance as “toxic,” although Politico’s source on that theory appears to have been the congressman himself. Grijalva responded that it has been confirmed as “toxic,” but it’s “level of toxicity” had yet to be determined….
Also weighing in on the issue Thursday was Pima County Democratic Party Chairman Jeff Rogers who said he was disappointed in the level of discourse in politics, blaming the Grijalva office incident on the tea party and right-wing Republicans….
On Friday, the FBI confirmed that the powdery substance was indeed not toxic and Politico quickly corrected the record, pointing out that this information contradicted Grijalva’s assertions.
The day before the toxic envelope arrived at Grijalva’s Tuscon office, the Yuma Sun reported that two organizations — SEIU’s Mi Familia Vota and One Vote Arizona — had delivered 3,000 new voter registrations to the Yuma County Recorder‘s Office in Grijalva’s district.
On the same day the envelope arrived at Grijalva’s office, the County Recorder’s Office found more than 65 percent of these ballot registrations to be fraudulent, either belonging to individuals living in the country illegally or addressed incorrectly. However the only story out of Arizona’s Seventh Congressional District to receive national media attention Friday was the mysterious envelope — coincidence?
Full story here