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Campus Notebook: Illinois man pleads guilty for threats to Rep. Rodney Davis

Details on book deals for two senators

Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill. received a death threat.
Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill. received a death threat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An Illinois man has admitted to threatening to kill Rep. Rodney Davis, a guilty plea accepted July 24 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois.

Randall E. Tarr was charged in January with threatening to assault and murder Davis, an Illinois Republican. According to a sworn affidavit by an FBI agent, Tarr called Davis’ congressional office in Decatur and left a voicemail accusing the lawmaker of “backing the Russians” and said, “I’d like to shoot your fucking head off you stupid motherf*****.”

The Nov. 25, 2019 voicemail was sent to the Capitol Police and eventually traced back to Tarr through caller ID. Capitol Police reached out to local police in Tarr’s hometown of Rochester, Ill., and asked them to investigate.

The FBI interviewed Tarr on the next day. He said a commercial about Davis had made him mad and then he called Davis’ office using the number in the commercial.

Davis, who is the top Republican on the House Administration Committee, which has oversight of the Capitol Police, said he was grateful for the work of law enforcement.

“I am extremely grateful for the work our men and women in law enforcement and the criminal justice system do every day to keep us all safe, including me and my family,” Davis said in an emailed statement.

Davis was one of the lawmakers present at the 2017 shooting during a congressional baseball practice that almost killed House Republican Whip Steve Scalise and injured others.

“After the attempted mass shooting on the baseball field three years ago, my staff and I take all threats seriously and report them to the U.S. Capitol Police. It is my hope that Mr. Tarr gets the counseling he needs,” Davis said.

Eva Malecki, a spokeswoman for the Capitol Police, did not respond to a request for comment.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., has made some good money from his book.

Senate Book Deals

Sen. Tom Cotton made $252,500 in royalties from Harper Collins, according to his annual financial disclosure for 2019. The Arkansas Republican’s book, “Sacred Duty: A Soldier’s Tour at Arlington National Cemetery,” was published in May 2019.

Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana received an advance of over $25,500 from Massie & McQuilkin, for a forthcoming book, “Grounded,” according to his 2019 financial disclosure.

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