Suspicious Letters Puts State On Standby Over Lawmakers

Two Montana Republican legislators reported recently that they received suspicious letters that contained white powder, the state’s Governor Greg Gianforte said late last week.

That follows other reports from Republican legislators in Tennessee and Kansas that have come to light recently.

Both state Representatives Neil Duram and Rhonda Knudsen said they received the suspicious letters at home, and both had a return address that was in their general location. That being said, NCB Montana reported that the markings from the post office came from Kansas City.

Some of the Republicans in Tennessee and Kansas have since speculated that these letters may have been attempts to intimidate the lawmakers and initiated by radical trans activists. 

In a statement, Montana’s House Speaker Matt Regier said:

“These letters mailed to Speaker Pro Tempore Rhonda Knudsen and Representative Neil Duram containing an unknown substance are a continuation of the threats and hate directed at legislators during the session. Just as we stood firm during the session, we will not be threatened or distracted now.

“We are in tumultuous times and House leadership will continue our objective to protect Montanas’ freedom and safety no matter what cowardly threats are directed at us.”

Neither of the lawmakers in Montana were harmed by the letters, the state Senate GOP said last week. Authorities still have plans to test what the white substance in the letters was.

On Friday, Gianforte tweeted:

“I’ve received disturbing reports that Montana legislators are receiving anonymous, threatening letters containing white powder. The state will bring to bear whatever resources are needed to support law enforcement officers as they investigate.”

Just as of last week, more than 100 different letters that contained a white powder have been reported, and they allegedly were only sent to Republicans lawmakers. 

Stephen Owens, a state representative in Kansas, said recently that he believed these letters might be in response to some of the nine different vetoes that the legislature has been able to override in 2023. One of those bans any athlete from competing on a sports team that doesn’t match up with their biological gender. 

The state has a Democratic governor, Laura Kelly, but both the state Senate and state House are controlled by Republicans, which is why so many vetoes have happened.

In speaking with CNN recently, Owens said the person who sent the letters was “very deliberate” in his or her attempt to get the recipients of the letters to open them. Owens said he believes this to be the case because the letter that he received included a return address of a church that’s located within his own district.

Owens said his letter began:

“Salutations[.] [T]o honor your recent accomplishments I send to you a gift from the exclusive astruc baruch collection[.] [I]t’s important not to choke on your ambition.”

The letter was then signed by “your secret despirer.”

Some offices at the Tennessee capitol building were shut down last week after multiple packages that were “suspicious” were delivered there.