A new report shows that hundreds of current lawmakers, law-enforcement personnel, and military personnel are listed as members the far right extremist group Oath Keepers. This group was instrumental to the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
The report is based on a leak of the Oath Keepers’s membership rolls, which was published last year by the nonprofit journalist collective Distributed Denial of Secrets. The Anti-Defamation League Center on Extremism looked into the names in this leak. published findings on the professions of many of those included.
The report reveals the presence of far-right, white nationalist ideologies in the U.S. military as well as law enforcement.
There are at least 373 Oath Keepers. currently working in law enforcementThere are at least 10 chiefs of police in each locality and 11 sheriffs. Another 117 people were identified as being currently serving in different branches of the U.S. Military, with 11 additional names serving in the reserves and 31 individuals serving either as contractors or civilians in the military.
The report also stated that the list contained names of 81 people who were either running for office or already in office at the beginning of August.
“These individuals run the gamut from local office — mayors, town councilmembers, school board members — to state representatives and senators,” the ADL said.
The organization notedIt is possible that some of those whose names appear in the list were once Oath Keepers members but have since disassociated themselves from the group. Others may not have paid dues to Oath Keepers.
The Oath Keepers, however, was an extremist group from the beginning.
“Even for those who claimed to have left the organization when it began to employ more aggressive tactics in 2014,” the ADL said, “it is important to remember that the Oath Keepers have espoused extremism since their founding, and this fact was not enough to deter these individuals from signing up.”
The Oath keepers have been involved in violence for many years, most famously the attack on U.S. Capitol building on January 6, 2021. Prosecutors have alleged that group leaders began planning for the day’s violence months priorThis was immediately after President Joe Biden was declared winner of the 2020 presidential elections. They also claim that the group They kept ammunition and rifles in stock outside Washington D.C. as part their operationThey prepared for what they believed would become a civil conflict to ensure that Donald Trump would remain in power.
According to reporting from CNN, some leaders of the organization believed they were acting on Trump’s orders to disrupt the congressional certification process of the election, which Trump had wrongly maintained he only lost because of election fraud.
Twelve members of the Oath Keepers have been charged with seditious conspiracy relating to the day’s events, including the group’s founder, Stewart Rhodes. A few of those charged have pleaded guilty but the majority are still awaiting trial.