Around 100 mysterious letters containing “suspicious” white powder were sent to state legislators and public officials, prompting an investigation by federal authorities.
Beginning on Friday, several Kansas GOP lawmakers began receiving the letters, including Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach.
So far no injuries have been reported, according to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) said. The KBI conducted a test to determine what the substance was and said it was “presumptively negative for common biological agents of concern.”
“Further and more complete testing will be conducted on this sample, as well as on additional letters that have been collected, in an effort to determine the components of the substance,” the bureau said.
“Salutations. To honor your recent accomplishments I send to you a gift from the exclusive astruc baruch collection. It is important not to choke on your own ambition,” read one of the letters received by Republican state Rep. Stephen Owens.
The letter was signed “your secret despirer.”
Owens told CNN he opened the letter thinking it was from one of his constituents because the return address was for a church in his district.
It is still unclear where the letters are coming from or who is sending them. The FBI is assisting the KBI and other state agencies in the investigation.
“There is some message. The message is somewhat unclear, but it was intended to be threatening,” said Republican state Sen. Molly Baumgardner, the recipient of one of the letters.
The FBI is urging the public to “remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to law enforcement.”
The letters come from the state’s Republican-led House and Senate and Democratic Governor Laura Kelly. The state legislature has overridden nine of Kelly’s vetoes this year, including several related to gender identity.
“There’s a question whether maybe it’s related to some of those vetoes that we overrode,” Owens said of the letters. “It’s really terrifying to think that because of someone’s political beliefs that they can be a target,” he said.
However, according to federal law enforcement officers, the scheme has expanded beyond Kansas to other Republican lawmakers.
Sources said similar letters were addressed to former President Donald Trump, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and other high-profile individuals, but were intercepted before they were delivered.