Manchin hired security detail amid threats and protests
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) spent heavily on private security over the last three months of the year as he became a prime target for progressive protesters angry at his role blocking a reconciliation package in the Senate.
Filings with the Federal Election Commission show Manchin’s campaign paid more than $75,000 on an Atlanta-based private security firm in November. Reporters at the time saw Manchin being trailed by what appeared to be a private security officer as he walked the halls of the Capitol complex.
A source close to Manchin told The Hill the senator and his family had been subjected to specific threats, both in Washington and in West Virginia.
Manchin’s spokespeople did not return requests for comment. The U.S. Capitol Police declined to comment, citing security precautions.
But at the time, Manchin had become a regular target of protesters who demanded he vote to advance the Build Back Better reconciliation measure.
Climate change protesters surrounded Manchin’s car in a parking garage in early November. In October, protesters in kayaks swarmed Manchin’s yacht, parked at a Washington marina where he lives. In August, the Poor People’s Campaign sent a convoy of more than 100 cars to Manchin’s Charleston office to urge him to vote to change Senate filibuster rules.
Manchin is not alone in spending campaign dollars on physical security. Members of Congress have been making those expenditures more routinely in the wake a 2011 assassination attempt on then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) that killed six and a 2017 shooting at a Republican baseball practice that seriously injured Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.).
Filings with the Federal Election Commission show Sen. Raphael Warnock’s (D-Ga.) campaign spent more than $300,000 at a different Atlanta-based security firm through October; his campaign has yet to file its year-end report.
Reps. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Cori Bush (D-Mo.), Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) and Mike Levin (D-Calif.) all reported spending money on security services at some point last year. Several other members spent campaign funds on security systems for their homes or offices.
The Capitol Police reported last year that the number of threats against members of Congress had more than doubled from the previous year. The department has expanded its Dignitary Protection Division and has stationed officers at Union Station and at Washington-area airports on busy travel days.