Radio host declines GOP job in Washington after threat

The Miami HeraldNovember 11, 2010 

The radio host who made comments that may have triggered a threat against Broward County schools has announced she's stepping down as chief of staff for a recently elected conservative congressman. Meanwhile the phone call warning of the attack that led to a three-hour lockdown has been traced to a caller outside South Florida, Pembroke Pines Police said Thursday.

Radio talk show host Joyce Kaufman, who just earlier this week was named Rep.-elect Allen West's chief of staff, said she didn't want to tarnish West's reputation.

``I will not be used in an electronic lynching by proxy,'' Kaufman said Thursday.

Police said the call that came into WFTL 850 AM was made by a woman from outside South Florida, who said her husband was planning to carry out a mass shooting in Broward County.

Because the threat involved government buildings and because it was made from another part of the state, the FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement have joined the investigation.

According to Capt. Dan Rakofsky with the Pembroke Pines Police, WFTL received an e-mail addressed to Kaufman late Tuesday, expressing the threat.

The call came into the radio station the next morning.

While police will not say whether the call and e-mail were threatening toward Kaufman or in defense of her, there is some suggestion the e-mailer may have been upset that Kaufman has come under media scrutiny lately for alleged inflammatory comments she has made on her radio show.

According to The Reid Report, a blog authored by political columnist Joy-Ann Reid, whose work has appeared in The Miami Herald, Kaufman, who often talks on the air about her weapons collection, was recorded at a July 4 political rally telling attendees ``if ballots don't work, bullets will.''

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow this week featured video of Kaufman supposedly inciting violence and other websites have accused her of suggesting hanging illegal immigrants.

``You guys can do all the things you want to me, but I will not participate in you trying to destroy [West],'' Kaufman said on her radio show Thursday, apparently referring to the press.

West didn't refer to the controversy in his news release, noting that it was with ``deep regret that this Congressional office and the people of CD 22 will not have Joyce Kaufman...Joyce is a good friend, and will remain loyal to South Floridians and to me. I will always seek Joyce's counsel for being a good Representative of this Congressional District.''

West, a Republican and favorite of the tea party movement, easily defeated Democrat incumbent Rep. Ron Klein on Nov. 2. The race was among the nation's most expensive and drew national attention.

The call to the radio station resulted in a countywide lockdown of Broward County schools. In addition, some parochial schools and day care centers were also put on lockdown for three hours.

The lockdown was lifted in time for dismissal and no one was hurt.

At least 230,000 students were affected by the lockdown.

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