We have also identified more than 80 people who were running for or holding public office as of early August. Membership information was compiled into a database published by the Distributed Denial of Secrets, a transparency collective.
“Even those who claimed to have left the organization in 2014 when it began adopting more aggressive tactics, it is important to remember that the Oath Keepers have supported extremism since its inception. This fact was not enough to dissuade these individuals from signing.”
Appearance in the Oath Keepers database does not prove that the person was an active member of the group or shared its ideology. Some people on the list contacted by the Associated Press said they were temporary members years ago and are no longer affiliated with the group.
The Orth Keepers grew rapidly with the wider opposition movement, using the tools of the Internet to spread its message during Barack Obama’s presidency, said Rachel Carol Rivas, researcher at the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project. Interim Deputy Director) said. But since January 6 and Rhodes’ arrest, the group has struggled to retain members, she said.
Part of the reason for this is that the Oath Keepers had such strong ties to Rhodes that the dismissal of a central figure had such a big impact, and many associated with the group are well-respected in the community. She said it was because she often wanted to be seen as
“The imagery associated with January 6th was too big for many of those people,” she said.
Among the elected candidates on the roster is South Dakota Representative Phil Jensen, who won re-election in June’s Republican primary. Jensen told his AP in 2014 that he paid for a one-year membership but never received an Oath Keepers document, attended a meeting, or renewed his membership. said no.
Jensen said he felt compelled to join because he “believed in the oaths we took to uphold the United States Constitution and defend it from enemies at home and abroad.” No information available.
“In 2014 they seemed like a pretty solid conservative group, but now I can’t speak to them,” he said.
ADL said it had found the names of at least 10 people currently serving as police chiefs and 11 sheriffs. All police chiefs and sheriffs who responded to AP said they no longer have any affiliation with the group.
“I don’t even know what they’re posting. No updates at all,” said Mike Hollinshead, Sheriff of Elmore County, Idaho. “I haven’t paid any membership fees or dues.”
Hollinshead, a Republican, said he campaigned for the Sheriff several years ago when voters asked him if he was familiar with the Oathkeepers. He said he wanted to know about the group and recalls paying for access to content on the Oath Keepers website, but that was the extent of his involvement.
Oskaloosa, Iowa Police Chief Benjamin Bork recalls receiving an email from the group years ago and believes a friend may have signed him up. He said he never paid for it and didn’t know anything about the group.
Idalow, Texas Police Chief Eric Williams also said in an email that he had not been a member of the Oath Keepers in over a decade and had no interaction with them. is.
“I hope that the country will regain its civility and peace so that we can talk to each other,” he said.
Associated Press writer Lindsay Whitehurst in Washington contributed to this report.