The attack on DiSanto came two days before a bomb threat caused alarm at an Iowa veterans home where Grassley was scheduled to appear.
According to the Iowa Times Republican, an anonymous caller told a switchboard operator Friday that a bomb would detonate in the center’s cemetery shortly before 1 p.m. The threat was not in the area where Grassley was scheduled to appear and later was deemed a false alarm. Grassley made the visit to the center as planned.
No evidence has surfaced that definitively points to DiSanto’s work on the Finance Committee as the trigger for the attack, but sources say there are a number of clues that suggest it could be.
The assailant was trying to hide his identity, wearing a hood and black gloves. He also did not make any demands before attacking the 49-year-old staffer. A working assumption among investigators is that he was waiting for her to arrive home.
Sources say acts of violence in DiSanto’s neighborhood are rare.
Grassley is known for his aggressive oversight of the public and private sector. Over the past year, he has scrutinized healthcare fraud, organ-donation procedures used by hospitals, drug-safety matters and the use of nonprofit groups related to former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
In her line of work, DiSanto “doesn’t make a lot of friends,” an aide said.
Grassley spokeswoman Jill Kozeny said federal and local law-enforcement officials have not ruled out the possibility that the attack was work-related. She said Grassley and DiSanto have discussed the incident.
The only reason why the FBI is involved is because the assault may have been work-related.
There is no indication that the bomb threat and the DiSanto event are related.
Fairfax County police are treating the attack as an attempted homicide.
Some Senate staffers said Capitol Police did not initially treat the attack as work-related late last week.
“We don’t do law enforcement, but that one was a really hard one to swallow,” a Senate aide said.
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