Bartlesville Man Charged In Federal Court With Threatening Rep. Kevin Hern

Monday, May 23rd 2022, 4:12 pm

A Bartlesville man faces federal charges after the FBI says he threatened to kidnap and kill Oklahoma Congressman Kevin Hern and Hern’s family.

Documents say, Hern, who represents Oklahoma's first congressional district, had to step up security several times because of Keith Eisenberger’s threats. The complaint filed late last week, alleges 39-year-old Eisenberger, made both threats online and in person at Hern’s offices in Tulsa and Washington DC.

The FBI says both politicians and staff members became aware of Eisenberger in the summer of 2017 when they say he showed up at various political events and lied to get close to the politicians. Documents say the threats started through the next year when on several occasions, Eisenberger made social media posts and calls to Hern's office.

Eisenberger claimed that Hern was appointed to his congressional seat illegally and that then-Governor Mary Fallin did not allow Eisenberger to compete in the primary special election. Over the next few years, investigators say threats toward Hern became increasingly more violent, with Eisenberger even showing up at Hern's DC office and telling officers he would not leave until Hern resigns.

In one post online, Eisenberger wrote "resignation, death or expulsion of Rep. Kevin Hern is acceptable". In 2020, the FBI says he left a note at Hern's Tulsa office saying, "Hope the Congressman gets cancer and dies."

Documents say earlier this month, Eisenberger made another Facebook post, this time hoping to kidnap Hern and his wife, even mentioning the street where the family lives. Eisenberger is now in federal custody. Hern’s office did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.

“Keith Eisenberger is charged with threatening to assault or kill Congressman Hern and his family,” said U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson. “We are all aware that free speech is an inalienable right, and we are used to robust political discourse in our nation. However, threats to assault or kill elected officials and their families are criminal acts. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will hold accountable those who make such statements.”