Group Threatens Gov. McDonnell, Other Leaders

Group says they risk "being removed from office"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    AP
    Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell speaks at the 2009 Virginia State Republican Convention.

    An anti-government group has reportedly warned Virgina Gov. Bob McDonnell and at least 30 other state leaders to step down or risk "being removed from office" in three days.

    McDonnell's office said it got the letter on Wednesday from a group calling itself the Guardians of the free Republics. It turned the letter over to Virginia State Police and the FBI, which is warning law enforcement across the country that the letters could provoke violence.

    McDonnell press secretary Stacey Johnson released a statement saying the governor and his family are safe. Intelligence officials do not believe the group behind the letters has any specific plans to hurt anyone, but they are concerned that other people may use the letters as an excuse or justification for their own criminal actions.

    The FBI describes the Guardians of the free Republics as a collection of "sovereign citizens" who think they shouldn't have to do things like pay taxes or get a government license to drive.

    Though the group's Web site says its "Restore America" plan aims to change the government "without controversy, violence, or civil war," an intellgence report says a small number of people associated with the Guardians of the free Republics are armed and could resort to violence.

    Other governors whose offces reported getting the threatening letters include Jennifer Granholm of Michigan; Bobby Jindal of Louisiana; Chet Culver of Iowa; Jim Gibbons of Nevada; Brad Henry of Oklahoma; Mike Rounds of South Dakota; and Gary Herbert of Utah.

    The FBI expects all 50 governors to get the threatening letters.