Congressman Threatens Couple — Over Letter to Editor

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By: E&P Staff

A couple who wrote a letter to the editor of a small community paper in Colorado were surprised to receive a threatening phone call at home complaining about it — from a U.S. congressman.

Rep. Doug Lamborn left two voice mails after they questioned his acceptance of campaign contributions from the gambling industry. In one he said there would be “consequences” if the couple did not respond. In his messages, reprinted by the Denver Post today, Lamborn appeal to them as “brothers and sisters in Christ” and asked them to call him to discuss their “blatantly false” letter.

Jonathan Bartha is employed by the group Focus on the Family. “His wife, a board member of Falcon School District 49, worked for two months as a scheduler for candidate Jeff Crank during a bitter, six-way Republican primary race for the 5th Congressional District seat,” the Post observed.

“We felt very threatened and intimidated, and quite frankly, scared,” Anna Bartha told the Post. “It was just not anything we would ever anticipate an elected official would pursue or a way that an elected official would conduct himself.”

When asked what he meant when he said there would be “consequences,” Lamborn told the Post: “When someone tells a lie, it just has bad consequences.”

But the Post noted: “Three days after leaving the messages on the Barthas’ voice mail, Lamborn wrote an open letter to Greg Garcia, chair of the El Paso County Republicans, asking him to investigate.”

The following is a text of two voice messages that Lamborn left, as published by the Post.

FIRST MESSAGE: “Hello, this is Doug Lamborn calling for either Jonathan or Anna. Something very serious has happened. There was a letter to the editor that you both put in your names to the editor of the Woodmen Edition and there is something that is blatantly false in that letter.

“I would like to get together with you and show this to you and appeal to you as a brother and sister in Christ. You didn’t give me that opportunity but I am happy to overlook that and deal with you on that level because I think that is the right thing to do and show you where you made a blatant, wrong statement.

“Now there are consequences to this kind of thing, but I would like to work with you in a way that is best for everyone here concerned. So please call me at your earliest convenience. It is now 2:40 (p.m.) on Saturday afternoon.

SECOND MESSAGE: “Hello, this is Doug Lamborn again, I’m finishing up my message from a moment ago. I got cut off. It is critical that you get back to me as soon as possible on this because I’ll be going back to Washington here in a few days and I have to make sure that this is resolved one way or another. And like I said I’d rather resolve this on a Scriptural level but if you are unwilling to do that I will be forced to take other steps, which I would rather not have to do. So please call me. This is essential. Call me by tonight, Saturday night and we can get together sometime Sunday afternoon.”

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