Cameron Joseph contributed reporting.
After a local outlet reported that Sen. Tom Cotton’s (R-AR) office sent cease and desist letters to constituents, demanding that they stop any communications with the senator’s office, Cotton’s office explained that it does send such letters. His office said they are sent rarely and only “under extreme circumstances,” but it’s unclear how often they are used.
“Senator Cotton is always happy to hear from Arkansans and encourages everyone to contact his offices to express their thoughts, concerns, and opinions. In order to maintain a safe work environment, if an employee of Senator Cotton receives repeated communications that are harassing and vulgar, or any communication that contains a threat, our policy is to notify the U.S. Capitol Police’s Threat Assessment Section and, in accordance with their guidance, send a cease and desist letter to the individual making the harassing or threatening communication. These letters are rare and only used under extreme circumstances,” Caroline Rabbitt Tabler, Cotton’s communications director, told TPM in an email when asked about the reports.
Tabler did not respond to TPM’s inquiry as to how recently such letters have been sent.
Cotton twice said “no comment” as he entered a Senate elevator when TPM asked him about the letters.
A staffer for Cotton, John Noonan, on Thursday afternoon sent several tweets defending the decision to send the letter. Noonan said that Cotton’s office only sent the cease and desist letter to one constituent, and that the constituent called an intern a “c***.”
Activists with Ozark Indivisible published a tweet Wednesday night revealing what appeared to be a cease and desist letter from Cotton’s office. The exact recipient of the letter and the circumstances leading up to the letter are unclear.
The Arkansas Times also reported that Cotton’s office sent the letters to several people, citing a contributor to the Arkansas Times, Bill Fleming. One person who received the letter said that it came after “calling and expressing my grave concerns over his actions and support of this administration’s agenda concerning a wide variety of subjects.”
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