GOP rep goes after activist by writing letter to employer

A Republican congressman in March targeted an activist by writing a letter to the woman's employer accusing her of working against "economic growth" and "stronger national security," WNYC reported.

“But let’s be clear that there are organized forces — both national and local — who are already hard at work to put a stop to an agenda of limited government, economic growth, stronger national security,” Rep. Rodney FrelinghuysenRodney Procter FrelinghuysenBottom line Republican lobbying firms riding high despite uncertainty of 2020 race Ex-Rep. Frelinghuysen joins law and lobby firm MORE (R-N.J.) wrote in the letter, which is on his campaign stationery.

The letter, which was asking for donations, included a note at the bottom reading: “P.S. One of the ringleaders works in your bank!”


Saily Avelenda served as a senior vice president at Lakeland Bank in Caldwell, N.J., before resigning. She has worked as an activist for a group called NJ 11th for Change, which has been urging Frelinghuysen to hold town halls and organizes protests outside of his office in New Jersey.

“I had to write a statement to my CEO, and at my level as an assistant general counsel and a senior vice president, at this employer it was not something that I expected,” Avelenda told WNYC.

“I thought my Congressman put them in a situation, and put me in a really bad situation as the constituent, and used his name, used his position and used his stationery to try to punish me.”

A lawyer told WNYC that the letter is likely not illegal, though it could pose a problem for the congressman politically.

Frelinghuysen's campaign office in a statement called the note “a personal letter” and maintained that the congressman is not involved with the “bank’s business.”

“The Congressman wrote a brief and innocuous note at the bottom of a personal letter in regard to information that had been reported in the media. He was in no way involved in any of the bank's business and is unaware of any of the particulars about this employee's status with the bank,” the statement said.