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Hoax package sent to Wisconsin senator

By Greg Morrison, CNN
  • Sen. Russ Feingold received a package Saturday from "Thomas Jefferson" in Illinois
  • It was inspected by a bomb squad as a precaution
  • The suspicious package appears to have been sent in jest, police say

(CNN) -- An apparent Halloween prank on Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold turned out not to be so funny Saturday, when a suspicious package was sent to his home in Middleton.

Middleton police say a staffer signed for the item, which listed Thomas Jefferson as the sender with a return address in Illinois.

Feingold, however, told authorities he was not expecting a package, and the item was taken to the local police station for examination.

"Due to the nature of the name and address and the recent national news of suspicious packages being sent, it was decided that the package should be examined further," said Middleton Police Sgt. Donald Mueller.

Members of the Dane County Bomb Squad responded to inspect the package and it was determined that no explosives were present.

The package contained a letter to the senator signed by "Thomas Jefferson" and a board game. The package appears to have been sent in jest, police said. A computer check of the return address showed it to belong to a postal facility.

The package was delivered a day after authorities abroad intercepted two packages containing explosive material that were bound for Jewish organizations in Chicago, Illinois.

Feingold, the three-term incumbent Democrat, is facing a strong challenge from Republican nominee Ron Johnson in Tuesday's midterm elections. A St. Norbert College Survey Center/Wisconsin Public Radio poll released earlier this month indicates that Johnson holds a 49 percent to 47 percent advantage over Feingold among likely voters. Johnson's two-point

margin was well within the poll's sampling error.