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Press Release

Man Sentenced for Sending Bomb Threat to Arizona State Election Official

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A Massachusetts man was sentenced today to three years and six months in prison for sending a communication containing a bomb threat to an election official in the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office. 

“Those using illegal threats of violence to intimidate election workers should know that the Justice Department will find you and hold you accountable under the law,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “The defendant in this case will spend the next three and a half years in federal prison for threatening an Arizona election official. We will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute such unlawful threats of violence.”

According to court documents, on or about Feb. 14, 2021, James W. Clark, 40, of Falmouth, sent a message via the Arizona Secretary of State’s website through “Contact Elections,” addressing the election official by her first name and warning her that she needed to “resign by Tuesday February 16th by 9 am or the explosive device impacted in her personal space will be detonated.” Shortly after transmitting the message, Clark conducted online searches that included the full name of the election official in conjunction with the words “how to kill” and “address.” Additionally, on or about Feb. 18, 2021, Clark conducted online searches involving the Boston Marathon bombing.

“James W. Clark sent a bomb threat to an Arizona election official. As a result, law enforcement searched the office building where the official worked, as well as the official’s home and car, for an explosive device,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri, head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “Public servants who ensure our free and fair elections must be able to do their jobs without fear. The Criminal Division will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute those who target election officials with threats of violence.”

In response to Clark ’s message, law enforcement conducted partial evacuations and bomb sweeps of the building in which the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office was located, including an evacuation of the floor of the Office of the Arizona Governor located in the same building. Law enforcement also conducted bomb sweeps of the election official’s personal residence and of the election official’s car.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona will continue to prosecute those who would threaten our public servants simply for performing the jobs they were hired to do,” said U.S. Attorney Gary M. Restaino for the District of Arizona. “As we head into election season, we thank the state and county election community who make democracy possible.”

“Election officials, their staffs, and volunteers are essential to our democracy and any threat to these public servants is completely unacceptable,” said Special Agent in Charge Akil Davis of the FBI Phoenix Field Office. “As part of our mission to defend the democratic process, this case demonstrates that the FBI remains prepared to respond to these threats in an urgent and timely fashion.”

Clark pleaded guilty in August 2023 to one count of making a threatening interstate communication.

The FBI Phoenix Field Office investigated the case, with assistance from the FBI Boston Field Office.

Trial Attorney Tanya Senanayake of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean K. Lokey for the District of Arizona prosecuted the case.

This case is part of the Justice Department’s Election Threats Task Force. Announced by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and launched by Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco in June 2021, the task force has led the Department’s efforts to address threats of violence against election workers, and to ensure that all election workers – whether elected, appointed, or volunteer – are able to do their jobs free from threats and intimidation. The task force engages with the election community and state and local law enforcement to assess allegations and reports of threats against election workers, and has investigated and prosecuted these matters where appropriate, in partnership with FBI Field Offices and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices throughout the country. Over two years after its formation, the task force is continuing this work and supporting the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and FBI Field Offices nationwide as they carry on the critical work that the task force has begun.

Under the leadership of Deputy Attorney General Monaco, the task force is led by the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and includes several other entities within the Justice Department, including the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property, Civil Rights Division, National Security Division, and FBI, as well as key interagency partners, such as the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Postal Inspection Service. For more information regarding the Justice Department’s efforts to combat threats against election workers, read the Deputy Attorney General’s memo.

To report suspected threats or violent acts, contact your local FBI office and request to speak with the Election Crimes Coordinator. Contact information for every FBI field office may be found at You may also contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324) or file an online complaint at Complaints submitted will be reviewed by the task force and referred for investigation or response accordingly. If someone is in imminent danger or risk of harm, contact 911 or your local police immediately.

Updated March 13, 2024

Voting and Elections
Press Release Number: 24-286