Democrat congressman’s staffer caught defacing posters in Capitol complex, but DOJ won't prosecute

Case of Rep. Jake Auchincloss’s chief of staff certain to renew debate about dual justice system after same U.S. attorney's office that prosecuted J6 defendant declines the case.

Published: June 20, 2022 4:30pm

Updated: June 21, 2022 10:04am

Capitol Police caught Massachusetts Democrat Rep. Jake Auchincloss’s chief of staff defacing posters outside the Capitol complex office of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and referred him for criminal charges, but the same U.S. Attorney's office that pursued the Jan. 6 defendants declined to approve an arrest warrant, according to police documents and interviews.

Police and Auchincloss also confirmed Monday that the congressman's office was involved in allowing comedian Steven Colbert's production team into the Capitol complex last week in an incident that led to security concerns and the arrest of seven members of Colbert's team.

Capitol Police asked federal prosecutors back in March for an arrest warrant for Timothy Hysom, 51, a longtime Democrat congressional staffer who worked for Rep. Adam Schiff before rising to be Auchincloss’s top aide, after capturing Hysom on hidden camera security footage defacing Greene’s posters with stickers with religious messages, according to copy of the arrest warrant obtained by Just the News.

Police said they believed Hysom may have been involved in seven defacing of posters outside Greene's office in the Longworth House Office Building between January and March and that he declined to be interviewed when confronted. Hysom was offered a "non-custodial interview and he declined and retained counsel," the report states.

"Based on the aforementioned, it is your affiant's belief that the defendant, Timothy Duane Hysom … did violate DC Code § 22–3312.01 Defacing Public or Private Property,” the arrest warrant stated.

You can read the warrant here.

Officials told Just the News that Greene was informed last month that the U.S. attorney's office in Washington, D.C., which has been the lead prosecutor on Jan. 6 crimes, declined prosecution because it did not believe a federal judge would allow the case to proceed.

Greene declined comment Monday, saying she would be making a statement Tuesday.

Hysom did not immediately return an email seeking comment Monday, but Auchincloss' spokesperson sent Just the News a statement confirming the defacing had occurred but insisting that treating it as a crime was "ridiculous."

Spokesman Matt Corridoni said the real victims were people forced to read Greene's posters that stated there are only two genders – male and female – calling the message "bullying."

"While Members of Congress have great latitude in what they do on the inside of their office, they do not own the exterior walls of their office," Corridoni said. "Regulations published by the House Buildings Commission prohibit 'posters' from being posted in the hallways outside of Members' House offices in the House Office Buildings.  Adhering a sticker – to a poster that shouldn't be there in the first place – is hardly a federal crime.

"What Tim did was to adhere a series of stickers to foul, mean spirited, bullying posters outside the Congresswoman's office. These stickers were never threatening and always respectful. 

"It is certainly not part of a 'Members' Representational Duties' to print signs – at taxpayers' expense – whose sole purpose is to bully and intimidate the Member across the hall from you," he added. "While the Capitol Police were obligated to pass along Rep. Greene's accusation of 'destruction of public property' to the U.S. Attorney's office, they have set aside the charges and have declined to prosecute such a ridiculous accusation."

While insisting Hysom's behavior was legal, Corridoni went out of the way to say his boss, Auchincloss, did not know in advance what his chief of staff was doing.

Police and Auchincloss's office also confirmed Monday that the Massachusetts congressman's office -- though not Hysom specifically -- was involved in checking Colbert's team into Longworth last Thursday for an interview. The crew, which had been jettisoned earlier in the day from another congressional building, was arrested for unlawful entry when found wandering the building late at night.

Auchincloss' office said it checked in the crew for an interview with the congressman but did not condone its decision to stick around and keep filming other things afterwards. "The congressman had a scheduled interview with CBS, as did other members of Congress," Corridoni said. "Our contact with them ended well before the building closed for the evening. We do not condone any inappropriate activity and cannot speak to anything that occurred after hours.”

Police said the matter remains under criminal investigation but an official who spoke to Just the News said congressional offices that check in guests are supposed to escort them and ensure they leave the building under current security procedures.

In the Hysom matter, the Capitol Police arrest request includes photos gleaned from security footage of Hysom outside Greene's office affixing the stickers and provides detail on how police identified him as the suspect. It noted police installed a hidden security camera after the first five defacing incidents.

"On Friday, March 11, 2022, your affiant reviewed video footage from the date and time of offense," the police report said. "According to video footage, a white male with a bald head, wearing dark clothing, and a face mask walked up and down the hallway before stopping in front of the sign outside of LHOB 1023. He then took an object out of an orange file folder and pushed it against the sign. He rubbed the object as to secure it and then proceeded to wait for the elevator. The defendant then returned to area and took a picture of the sign before leaving."

"After reviewing video footage, your affiant disseminated a department-wide BOLO in an attempt to identify the suspect depicted in the surveillance video. On Friday, March 11, 2022, based off of the BOLO, the defendant was stopped by officers in the LHOB at approximately 6:10 PM and identified as HYSOM, Timothy," the report added.

"After the defendant was sent on his way, another defacing incident was reported of the same poster outside of LHOB 1023," the report said. "According to the complainant the defacing occurred between 6:00 PM and 6:05 PM hours. An 8.5 x 11 inch sticker that read ‘True Disciples of Christ don’t say the thing you say, act the way you act, and treat people the way you treat people’ was affixed on the poster. This is the same quote as the defacing which occurred on February 1, 2022."

Police went back and reviewed the footage again and spotted Hysom affixing the sticker, the report said. "The defendant is wearing the same clothing and carrying the same bag as when he is stopped by USCP Officers minutes later," it added.

Hysom, according to a media report, was involved in an incident a few years ago when working for Rep. Adam Lowenthal where Capitol Police were called. According to the news site, which quoted Hysom, a man came into the congressman's office and tore down a gay pride flag that was standing next to the American flag.

The news site described the incident this way:

"According to Lowenthal’s chief of staff, Tim Hysom, the man said it was 'disgusting' and 'immoral' to fly the Pride flag next to the American flag. He then grabbed it out of its holder, threw it to the ground, and stomped on it. Passersby stopped him by picking up the flag and putting it back in its holder. The man began to walk away," the site reported.

Lowenthal was quoted as saying his staff chased the man down and brought him to police. "Capitol Police briefly detained the man, but decided that he had not broken any laws or rules. They later changed their tune and told Lowenthal’s staff that there were laws that had been broken. But by that time it was too late: the man was gone," the news site reported.

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