Sep 7, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Oath Keepers members list includes military, law enforcement, politicians

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes appears on a video screen
Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes appears on a video screen during a hearing on the Jan. 6th investigation on July 12. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Hundreds of elected officials, military members, and law enforcement officers appear on the membership lists of the far-right Oath Keepers militia, according to a new report published Wednesday by the Anti-Defamation League.

Why it matters: The Oath Keepers have risen to national prominence for their alleged role in the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

  • The events of Jan. 6 also highlighted fresh concerns about domestic extremism in the military, after several former and current military members were charged for their involvement in the Capitol riot.

State of play: The leaked membership list was published by the journalism collective Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDoSecrets) in September 2021. The ADL's Center on Extremism went through the 38,000 names on the lists to identify those who held "sensitive positions," the group said in the report.

  • The ADL identified 373 people named on the Oath Keepers membership list who are currently serving in law enforcement agencies across the U.S., including at least 10 chiefs of police and 11 sheriffs.
  • The group also identified 117 people currently serving in the military, on top of 11 people serving in the reserves and another 31 who are military contractors or hold civilian positions.
  • It said the list included "86 active firefighters (including several fire chiefs), 19 active paramedics, and 31 active emergency technicians appearing in the membership list."
  • The ADL identified 81 people who were holding or running for public office across the country as of Aug. 8. "These individuals run the gamut from local office — mayors, town councilmembers, school board members — to state representatives and senators," the report stated.

Worth noting: "An individual’s inclusion in the Oath Keeper database is not proof that they were or are still an Oath Keeper, that they hold or held all or some of Oath Keeper ideology or viewpoints, or that they ever actively participated in Oath Keeper activities," the ADL's report stated.

The big picture: Earlier this year federal prosecutors alleged that a group of Oath Keepers stockpiled an arsenal of rifles and ammunition just outside D.C. as part of an operation to stop the presidential transition of power on Jan. 6.

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