U.S. Rep. Deborah Wasserman Schultz’s Sunrise, Florida, office was listed as the return address on five suspicious packages that contained possible explosive devices sent to former President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton and Sec. of State Hillary Clinton and several others during the past three days.
The packages were sent through the mail or delivered to the intended victims with a return address label on them that included Wasserman Schultz’s name – misspelled – and the address of her office.
One of the packages had an incorrect address for former attorney general Eric Holder. On midday Wednesday, as the devices were being discovered in Washington D.C., New York and Florida, that device was sent to the return address on the label, Wasserman Schultz’s Sunrise office.
Police evacuated the office and intercepted the device.
Wasserman Schultz, the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, has been in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2005. During the 2016 presidential election, she was accused by some in her party of trying to secretly help Hillary Clinton win the Democratic nomination for president. She resigned as the chairman of the DNC as the party’s national convention got underway in July 2016.
Wasserman Schultz’s office address was the return address for the bombs sent to Obama, Clinton, Holder, former CIA head John Brennan via the New York offices of CNN, California Rep. Maxine Waters and billionaire Democratic supporter George Soros, according to news reports on Wednesday.
Law enforcement authorities say they do not believe that Wasserman Schultz was involved in the bomb mailings, but was a potential victim of the bomber.
She issued this statement on Wednesday, "We will not be intimidated by this attempted act of violence," Wasserman Schultz said. "This appalling attack on our democracy must be vigorously prosecuted, and I am deeply disturbed by the way my name was used. Today, my staff and I will hug each other and our loved ones tightly, and tomorrow get back to work serving the people I was elected to represent."
Here’s what we know about Wasserman Schultz:
- She was born in Forest Hills, Queens, New York, on Sept. 27, 1966.
- She received a bachelor of arts in political science and a master’s degree with a certificate in political campaigning, both from the University of Florida.
- She married Steve Schultz, a banker, in 1991. They have three children.
- She began her career in politics as a legislative aide to Rep. Peter Deutsch. Deutsch was a member of the Florida House of Representatives and represented Florida in the U.S. House of Representatives.
- She is a breast cancer survivor.
- She was elected to the Florida House of Representatives at age 26. She was re-elected from 1992-2000. She served as House Democratic leader pro tempore and House Democratic floor leader. She chaired the House Committee on Higher Education from 1994-1996. In 2000, she was elected to the Florida Senate.
- On Jan. 4, 2005, she was sworn in as a member of the United States House of Representatives from Florida’s 20th Congressional District. She was re-elected in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016. She is up for re-election in the 2018 midterm election.
- In her second term in the House, she raised more than $17 million in campaign contributions for Democrats and was chosen as chief deputy whip for the party. She was appointed to the United States House Committee on Appropriations.
- She became chairman of the Democratic National Committee on April 5, 2011, succeeding Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine.
- She was criticized by Democratic presidential candidates Martin O’Malley and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders over her decision to schedule only six debates during the 2016 presidential primary season. They claimed that Wasserman Schultz rigged the primary process to get Clinton the Democratic nomination.
- WikiLeaks published stolen Democratic National Committee emails in July 2016, just prior to the beginning of the Democratic National Convention. The emails suggested that DNC members disparaged Sanders’ campaign while promoting Clinton’s campaign. Wasserman Schultz was pressured to resign but reportedly resisted doing so until President Obama called her and suggested that she leave the position. As the convention was starting, she resigned as DNC chairwoman.
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