In the News: Iowa Senate Candidate Ends Campaign, Joins Sovereign Citizen Group
Randi Shannon is abandoning her run for Iowa State Senate in favor of the 'Republic for the United States'; former Georgia senator for the same organization discusses why he left.
Iowa City Patch reported last Friday on a local State Senate candidate who abandoned her campaign for a position with an alternative form of government. Or, the "true" government, according to members.
Shannon maintains a blog through Marion Patch.
In a four-page letter announcing her withdrawal Friday, Shannon thanked, "my fellow Ron Paul for President Supporters, My Fellow Members of Liberty, My Friends who home school as did I, the many Pro-Life Members," and others, according to Iowa City Patch.
Shannon learned of this organization/government from friends and political contacts, but became convinced after meeting several higher ups in an unofficial meeting in Atlanta about a month ago, according to Iowa City Patch.
Ron Hawkins, a Georgia resident who works in new home construction, served as the Republic's senator and ambassador until recently, when the group kicked him out.
What do you think of Shannon's decision? Why do you think the sovereign citizen movement attracts such a large amount of people? Tell us in the comments!
“There's a lot of double talk [in the Republic],” Hawkins said in a conversation with Snellville Patch, “a lot of patriot mythology.”
Hawkins was already having doubts about the organization when the Georgia branch met at a Ryan's in Norcross with Tim Turner, the “president” of the Republic.
Turner asked everyone present to sign a document and leave their thumbprint. If they didn't sign, according to Hawkins, they were out. The document outlined what the Republic stood for and what members should do or not do.
“He was really overstepping his bounds,” he said. “That put it over the edge for me.”
Hawkins is no longer in contact with anyone from the organization, after serving for two years as ambassador, representative and senator.
The Republic for the United States is the largest sovereign citizen movement in the U.S. The basic philosophy is that our current government is a de facto government, and that the Republic's version is the legitimate one.
Basically, it's the largest organization in the U.S. that rejects the current system of government and does not consider itself subject to it. At one point, it was estimated to have around 30,000 members. Now, Hawkins estimates those numbers are closer to 15,000.
It was founded in 2010.
The group distorts a quote by Justice Harlan in 1901 to justify their philosophy. Harlan said that "the United States exists in two forms," but, when read in context, it is clear he did not mean that literally. Members of the Republic for the United States interpret that to mean that there are two forms of government - theirs and Obama's.
After FoxNews.com told Shannon's story yesterday, dozens of people flocked to the group's Facebook page to express interest in joining.
Hawkins believes that the Republic is very strong in Iowa, where there is a strong Libertarian presence. Another political candidate, Clyde Cleveland, who ran in Iowa's 2002 gubernatorial race, spoke with the Georgia group once in Lawrenceville.
“I got involved because I knew there was something wrong with our country,” Hawkins said. “I thought maybe it was the best way to go about it.”
Now, Hawkins said, it feels more like a cult. He was shocked to hear Shannon joined as Senator, and believes she has not done enough research.