Montana GOP lawmakers report receiving suspicious letters

Montana State Capitol
Montana Threatening Letters
Montana Threatening Letters
Posted at 10:07 PM, Jun 23, 2023

HELENA — Two Republican Montana state lawmakers have reported receiving suspicious envelopes containing white powder, and leaders are urging all lawmakers to be cautious when opening mail.

Rep. Neil Duram, R-Eureka, and Rep. Rhonda Knudsen, R-Culbertson, received letters at their local addresses. Both have turned them over to law enforcement for further investigation.

On Friday, the Montana Legislative Services Division sent an email to all legislators, saying neither Duram nor Knudsen had any adverse effects, but that “it would be wise not to open any suspicious letters or packages until we better understand the nature of the substance contained in these letters.”

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, Knudsen’s son, said in a post on Facebook that any legislator receiving a suspicious package should contact law enforcement immediately.

Montana Threatening Letters
Courtesy: Rep. Neil Duram

In photos shared by Duram, the plain white envelope features a return address from within his district, but a postmark from Kansas City, Missouri. The letter was unsigned and said “it is important not to choke on your ambition.”

The letter appears to be very similar to ones received by more than 100 lawmakers and other public officials in Kansas in the last week. Lawmakers in Tennessee also reported receiving letters with white powder at their offices this week.

In Kansas, no injuries have been reported, and the powder was found not to contain common biological agents of concern.

Montana Threatening Letters
Courtesy: Rep. Neil Duram

Duram told MTN he saw the letter as “harassment,” and that he was comfortable with all of his votes.

A spokesperson for Republican legislative leadership shared a statement from Knudsen, saying she “would not be intimidated by these kinds of tactics.”

In a post on Twitter, Gov. Greg Gianforte said, "The state will bring to bear whatever resources are needed to support law enforcement officers as they investigate."