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Scariest People of 2016: No. 2-Kevin Cunningham

By   /   December 30, 2016  /   News  /   No Comments

Part 9 of 10 in the series Scariest People of 2016

2016 might go down as one of the most unusual years in the history of American politics. Voters chose historic change, but in all too many ways, it was business as usual.

Too many bureaucrats still put their own interests over the interests of the people they were supposed to be serving. Too many officials – elected and unelected – continued to act more like petty tyrants than servants of the people, imposing their own vision of how others should live their lives on citizens perfectly capable of making those decisions for themselves. 

All week we’ve highlighted the scariest examples by shining a light on those who seem to think your liberty is less important than their power.

Here’s No. 2.

Few things are as scary as getting a death threat.

But that’s what Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi received in the aftermath of the tragic Pulse Nightclub terror attack in which 49 people were murdered this summer in Orlando.

Bondi’s threat came from an extremist of a different sort. Fortunately, the perp left a clue – a very obvious and disheartening electronic smoking gun that investigators traced to the computer of a government employee.

kevin-cunningham-orange-county-jail

Orange County, Fla., employee Kevin Cunningham threatened to kill state Attorney General Pam Bondi because she supported President-elect Donald Trump.

“You have committed fraud accepting bribes from Donald Trump,” Kevin Cunningham, 51, alleged in all capital letters from his Orange County work computer.

“Your support of him makes you unfit to hold the position of attorney general. Do not ever come back to Orlando. Anderson Cooper [the CNN anchor] was right – Your hate and bigotry enabled the 49 people to be slaughtered here. If I ever see you in person, I’ll rid the state of a corrupt [expletive] with any means I have, firearms, knives, or my bare hands,” he wrote in an email according to an arrest affidavit.

Cunningham threatened to kill Florida’s top law enforcement official via a link on the Attorney General’s website. The feature is a bright red box entitled “File a Complaint” and is located underneath Bondi’s picture.

A county spokesperson told the Orlando Sentinel that Cunningham had violated “clearly outlined policies for computer use.” He was later relieved of his duties at the local government’s Fiscal and Operational Support Division.

Investigators also said Cunningham owns a firearm, and described it as a “long gun,” according to the Sentinel.

But, no physical harm no foul, apparently.

Facing two stiff felonies carrying the possibility of five years in prison for each, Cunningham pled guilty to one count of “threatening a public servant with the intent to influence a public duty.” A circuit court judge ordered Cunningham to serve 200 community service hours and write a “legitimate and sincere” apology letter.

No word on whether Bondi feels any safer.

Part of 10 in the series Scariest People of 2016

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John Bicknell is executive editor of Watchdog.org. He is a veteran editor and has worked in journalism for more than 30 years. He came to Washington in 1999 as an editor at Congressional Quarterly and held several positions at CQ and Roll Call. He is the author of "America 1844: Religious Fervor, Westward Expansion and the Presidential Election That Transformed the Nation." His next book, scheduled to be published in 2017, is on John C. Fremont's 1856 presidential campaign. John also served as senior editor of the 2016 edition of “The Almanac of American Politics.” He can be reached on Twitter @JohnBick1960 and by email at [email protected]