Anti-government organization sends letters to Missouri governor, others, demanding they leave office

Sunday, April 4, 2010

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has received a letter from an anti-government group about which federal officials have alerted police across the country.

Governors of other states have received similar letters from the Guardians of the Free Republics demanding that state chief executives leave office within three days or be removed. Federal investigators do not see threats of violence in the letters but are concerned they could prompt others to respond violently.

Nixon spokesman Scott Holste said Friday that the letter was received earlier that week. The governor's office said the letter was received through the normal mail processing but declined to reveal what the letter said and referred further questions to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, which oversees the governor's security.

Highway patrol spokesman Lt. John Hotz declined to comment on the letter's contents.

"We are currently working with the appropriate state and federal agencies on that investigation," Hotz said.

Hotz also declined to comment on whether the governor's security had been heightened, except to say that appropriate steps had been taken and that the situation was being monitored. Missouri had been alerted by federal officials about the letters before the one addressed to Nixon arrived, Hotz said.

According to the organization's website, the Guardians of the Free Republics has developed a plan to "restore America" by peacefully dismantling parts of the government.

In December 2008, Republican Gov. Matt Blunt was among dozens of governors who received suspicious letters containing powdery substances. That letter was intercepted in Missouri at an offsite state mail distribution center. A chemical analysis later by the state health lab found the powder appeared to be bleached flour.

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