MMP: Oath Keepers

Image displays a black flag with Oath Keepers written on it in yellow text

Oath Keepers

Oath Keepers is a far-right militant organization operating in the United States.

Key Statistics

2009 First Recorded Activity
2014 First Attack
2021 Profile Last Updated

Profile Contents

Book Icon

Overview

Narrative of the Organization's History

moneybag

Organization

Leadership, Name Changes, Size Estimates, Resources, Geographic Locations

strategyicon

Strategy

Ideology, Aims, Political Activities, Targets, and Tactics

Clip Art of Bomb

Major Attacks

First Attacks, Largest Attacks, Notable Attacks

solarsystemicon

Interactions

Foreign Designations and Listings, Community Relations, Relations with Other Groups, State Sponsors and External Influences

flowchart

Maps

Mapping relationships with other militant groups over time

Contact MMP

Send a message to the Mapping Militants team.

Download Full Profile as PDF

Last updated April 2021.

How to Cite

Mapping Militant Organizations. “Oath Keepers.” Stanford University. Last modified April 2021. https://cisac.fsi.stanford.edu/mappingmilitants/profiles/oath-keepers
cardinal red photo

Organizational Overview

Formed: 2009

Disbanded: Group is active.

First Attack: 2014

Last Attack: 2021

Executive Summary

Oath Keepers is a far-right militant organization operating in the United States. With a focus on recruiting former military and law enforcement personnel, the group seeks to protect Americans from what it perceives as violations of U.S. citizens’ natural rights by the U.S. federal government. The group’s name refers to the oath to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic” that is sworn by members of the military and police. Founded in 2009, Oath Keepers (OK) is one of the largest and most prominent organizations of the militia/patriot movement and includes chapters across the country. It is not a white supremacist organization. Members of the group draw heavily on historical memory of the American Revolution, portraying themselves as the heirs of the Founding Fathers and the federal government as a modern-day colonial Great Britain. The group is known for participating in armed standoffs with federal agents in the western United States. In 2016, OK aligned itself with the administration of President Donald Trump and in opposition to the anti-fascist (antifa) movement. OK is politically active, and several members of the organization were elected to public office on the state and local levels. The group played a major role in the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election.

Group Narrative

2009-2014: Early Beginnings

U.S. Army veteran and Yale Law School graduate Stewart Rhodes founded Oath Keepers (OK) in early 2009. He was motivated by concerns about the federal government violating the rights of American citizens. An article Rhodes published in April 2008 in S.W.A.T. magazine titled “Enemy at the Gates” highlights his fearful view of the government. Imagining a world in which Hillary Clinton were elected president of the United States, he predicted that “Herr Hitlery” would declare a national emergency and use it as a pretext to seize firearms, condemn American patriots to military detention, and leverage the powers of the federal government to become a dictator.[1] The article reportedly catapulted Rhodes to greater recognition in the American far right. Rhodes parlayed this attention into speaking slots at right-wing conferences during the rise of the Tea Party backlash to Barack Obama’s presidency.[2] About a year later, he founded his own group with the goal of preventing this apocalyptic vision from becoming reality.

On April 19, 2009, Rhodes held a rally in Lexington, Massachusetts to announce the founding of the organization and proclaim the “Declaration of Orders We Will Not Obey,” a list of 10 supposed edicts expected to be given by a tyrannical federal government that Oath Keepers members pledge to resist.[3] The orders invoke conspiracy theories such as detention camps to intern U.S. citizens, the stationing of foreign troops on U.S. soil, and mass confiscation of firearms, among others.[4] While these orders may seem preposterous to the average reader, Oath Keepers was founded on the belief that the federal government could – and would, given the right circumstances – engage in this type of behavior. Rhodes opens the declaration with with a quote from a speech George Washington gave to his troops: “The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves.”[5] He then states that “such a time is near at hand again,”[6] drawing an urgent parallel between his group’s opposition to the U.S. federal government and the American colonists’ struggle against Great Britain. Members of OK consider the federal government to be a tyrannical threat to Americans’ rights and seek to safeguard the group’s perception of the Constitution. The name “Oath Keepers” refers to the oath taken by members of the military and law enforcement to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”[7]

The date and location of OK’s first demonstration are significant. Along with the Battle of Concord, the Battle of Lexington was the first clash of the American Revolution and occurred on April 19, 1775, exactly 234 years before the public launch of Oath Keepers. For more information on OK’s ideology and its self-association with the American Revolution, please see the Ideology and Goals section of this profile. OK is a pre-eminent organization of the anti-government patriot/militia movement, a type of far-right extremism that considers the federal government to be the greatest threat to American liberty. Adherents to this ideology fear that the U.S. government collaborates with global elites, often termed the New World Order, to erode U.S. citizens’ freedoms. Though there may be some overlap with racist beliefs, antigovernment patriot/militia groups like OK are not generally organized around principles of white supremacism.

Rhodes spent the first year of OK’s existence focused on recruitment. On July 4, 2009, early Oath Keepers members fanned out to 30 Tea Party rallies across the United States to encourage attendees to take the group’s oath.[8] In October, OK held its first national conference, in Las Vegas, which approximately 100 people attended.[9] OK’s recruitment efforts particularly targeted current members of the U.S. military and law enforcement. In fall 2009, Rhodes organized a campaign to assemble care packages with an Oath Keepers patch and DVD to send to active-duty military personnel between Veterans Day (November 11) and Bill of Rights Day (December 15).[10] Also in 2009, a Texas constable (an elected position similar to that of a sheriff), sent emails urging local police officers in the Fort Worth area to join.[11] By 2010, Rhodes claimed that the group boasted members in every U.S. state.[12] That year, about a dozen OK members ran for sheriff, most in Western states including California, Colorado, and Montana,[13] beginning a years-long pattern of OK members running for public office. For more information on Oath Keepers and electoral politics in the United States, see the Political Activities section of this profile.

OK’s ideological alignment with the Three Percenters (III%ers), a loosely organized group active in the patriot/militia movement, also began around this time. The founder of the III%ers, Mike Vanderboegh, attended Rhodes’s April 19, 2009, ceremony in Lexington.[14] Additionally, at least two members of OK were seen carrying III%ers flags at an October 2009 demonstration against the Obama administration in Washington, D.C.[15] OK’s relationship with the Three Percenters is significant. The two groups have coordinated in operations including standoffs with federal agents and armed patrols at anti-Muslim protests. OK and the III%ers both played a major role in the storming of the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob on January 6, 2021.

Within a year of the group’s founding, members of OK voiced an intent to use violence against the U.S. government. In April 2009, Daniel Knight Hayden, a 52-year-old man living in Oklahoma, posted a series of tweets threatening to kill police officers at the Oklahoma State Capitol during a Tax Day protest in order to start a war against the U.S. government.[16] Hayden self-identified as a member of Oath Keepers.[17] According to Wired.com, Hayden’s case was the first criminal prosecution that resulted from posts on Twitter.[18] He was sentenced to eight months in prison in February 2010.[19] In April 2010, Darren Wesley Huff, a member of Oath Keepers and a group known as the Georgia Militia, was arrested en route to a Tennessee courthouse with ammunition and loaded firearms.[20] A minister belonging to the extreme-right anti-Semitic ideology known as Christian Identity, Huff planned to take over the courthouse and arrest local Tennessee officials who refused to indict President Obama on birther claims.[21] He was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison.[22]

Criminal activity was not limited to rank-and-file members of Oath Keepers. A month after Huff’s plot was foiled, Matthew Fairfield, president of an Oath Keepers chapter in Cleveland, Ohio, was arrested for explosives and child pornography charges.[23] Investigators found a live napalm bomb and other explosives in his possession, and Fairfield was sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2011.[24] It is unclear whether these individuals were connected to other members of OK or the group’s leadership. Rhodes in 2011 characterized Oath Keepers as a group dedicated to educating members of the military and law enforcement about their duty to uphold the Constitution and claimed to promote nonviolence.[25]

Hayden, Huff, and Fairfield notwithstanding, OK generally remained fairly obscure for the first several years of its existence. Between 2009 and 2014, the organization participated in few major operations. In 2011, Rhodes and other OK members marched on the town hall in Quartzsite, Arizona, ostensibly to prevent the police chief from imposing martial law after a dispute with the town’s mayor.[26] In October 2013, Rhodes  announced the launch of OK’s Community Preparedness Teams, or CPT, program (initially “Civilization Preservation Teams”). By establishing the CPTs, Rhodes sought to position Oath Keepers as a positive, nonthreatening organization. The CPTs are essentially an armed neighborhood watch, composed of groups of OK members pledged to provide security and emergency services to local communities after natural disasters, terrorist attacks, or other events.[27] CPTs have conducted paramilitary training on topics including weapons skills, patrolling techniques, and emergency relief.[28]

2014-2016: Rise to Prominence within the Patriot/Militia Movement

After several quiet years, Oath Keepers came to national attention in April 2014 when the group participated in an armed standoff with federal agents in Bunkerville, Nevada. When the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) attempted to confiscate some of rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle per a federal court order over unpaid grazing fees, Bundy called for the patriot/militia movement to help him defy BLM.[29] Hundreds of activists from around the country flocked to Bundy’s ranch, including members of Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, in one of the largest assemblies of antigovernment extremists seen in recent decades.[30] Estimates of attendance reached up to 1,000. Bundy’s supporters traveled from states as far as Georgia, New Hampshire, and Virginia.[31] The OK contingent at Bundy’s ranch included Rhodes and Richard Mack, a retired sheriff from Arizona who founded the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), a group of sheriffs who support the patriot/militia movement.[32] The standoff lasted for several days and climaxed with a direct confrontation between BLM personnel and armed Bundy supporters. The militants came within shooting distance of the outnumbered federal agents.[33] Fearing that employees’ lives were in danger, BLM withdrew and ended its attempt to seize Bundy’s cattle.[34] During the standoff, OK claimed to be ready for violence. Mack said that “we were prepared to do whatever it takes” to defend Bundy and shared that Bundy’s supporters “were actually strategizing to put all the women up at the front” so that news coverage of the standoff would show federal agents shooting women.[35] “This might go down in history as the first engagement of the modern American revolution,” Rhodes said of the campaign.[36] This prediction did not come to pass, but the standoff shaped the future of OK.

The armed confrontation at the Bundy Ranch served as a turning point for Oath Keepers. Prior to 2014, Rhodes’s fledgling group was not highly active. OK’s handling of the standoff, however, catapulted it to prominence in the patriot/militia movement. Rhodes took advantage of the opportunities for free publicity afforded by OK’s participation in the standoff. He gave press conferences and made appearances on TV news, making sure to wear the group’s branded clothing and display the group’s flag.[37] New members flocked to OK, and donations surged, though by how much is unclear.[38] OK initially promised to financially support other patriot/militia groups in the wake of its fundraising success. However, OK did not follow thorugh on this promise, and local far-right groups in Nevada responded by barring OK from returning to the area.[39]

In the years after the Bundy Ranch, OK’s activity skyrocketed. The group adopted a more interventionist posture, following the model of success honed by the Bundy Ranch standoff. OK organized several major operations in response to perceived threats from the federal government and protests against police brutality. The group also publicly waded into hot-button social issues, including debates over racism and gay marriage.

Rhodes’s critics have said that OK’s increasing appetite for conflict was a strategy orchestrated by the group’s leadership. Intervention in inflammatory or attention-grabbing situations awarded OK with more airtime and newspaper headlines – fueling donations, membership applications, and demand for OK’s branded merchandise.[40] Joseph Rice, leader of a former OK faction in Oregon that broke away from the national organization, described OK’s tactics: “like a moth to the flame, he [Rhodes] flies in, throws up a PayPal, and then disappears.”[41] Leaked membership files revealed cases of members quitting in frustration over the aggressive direction that Rhodes took with OK. However, the same files also showcase the increases in membership applications that followed Rhodes’s provocations.[42]

In November and December 2014, OK conducted a major operation in Ferguson, Missouri. Ferguson had served as an epicenter of racial justice protests since the death of Michael Brown, a Black teenager, by a white police officer in August 2014. Anger at the grand jury’s decision not to indict the officer involved in Brown’s death, Darren Wilson, triggered civil unrest in late November 2014.[43] Days later, armed OK members deployed to Ferguson to provide security for local businesses and city residents.[44] Despite being ordered to stand down by local police, the OK operation continued for several weeks.[45] In an interview with VICE News, Rhodes claimed that OK’s security patrols Ferguson were not motivated by white supremacism, citing the fact that OK guarded businesses owned by people of color. Instead, in Rhodes’s telling, OK sought to prevent violence.[46] John Karriman, leader of the Missouri OK chapter, suggested that OK provided security because of an alleged failure by local government to do so. Karriman justified OK’s operation “because the government promised to guard our people and they didn’t.”[47] Ryan Lenz, an analyst with the Southern Poverty Law Center, noted that the operation appeared to be “a really weird mission” for OK, which traditionally had an antigovernment focus.[48] According to Lenz, OK was unique among patriot/militia groups in intervening in such a polarizing situation characterized by racial tensions and civil unrest.[49]

OK again returned to headlines in April 2015 when the group had a chance to replay its success at the Bundy Ranch. After being cited by BLM for unauthorized mining activity at the Sugar Pine Mine in Oregon, Rich Barclay and George Backes requested security support from Oath Keepers.[50] The local Josephine County Oath Keepers launched “Operation Gold Rush,” an armed patrol of the mining site in response to the miners’ fears of federal agents burning or confiscating their property.[51] According to OK, about 700 people from across the country participated, including members of other OK chapters, members of the Idaho III%ers, and other smaller patriot/militia groups based in the western United States.[52] The standoff ended in May when BLM decided that Barclay and Backes would be permitted to resume operating the mine while their court case remained ongoing.[53] OK took credit for the result, claiming that the militants’ presence at Sugar Pine Mine thwarted BLM from violating the miners’ rights to due process.[54]

OK’s next major operation came in July 2015. On July 16, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez killed U.S. Marines and a sailor during shootings at two military facilities, including a recruiting center, in Chattanooga, Tennessee.[55] Abdulazeez was not believed to have any connections to foreign terrorist organizations but law enforcement initially announced that the attack was “an act of domestic terrorism.”[56] Oath Keepers, along with Three Percenters militias, organized armed patrols to guard recruiting centers around the United States. The groups also sought to protest rules that barred servicemembers from carrying weapons at recruiting centers.[57] This behavior ran contrary to OK’s supposed opposition to the federal government. Sam Jackson, an expert on far-right militias including Oath Keepers, pointed out the contradictory nature of OK’s ideology exposed by this operation: in this instance, OK supported the military and law enforcement, while in previous campaigns, such as the Bundy Ranch and Sugar Pine Mine, OK opposed the federal government.[58] As for the government’s view of OK’s operation, the U.S. Army Recruiting Command sent a letter to recruiters warning them to consider the armed civilians outside recruiting centers as a security threat.[59]

In August 2015, OK conducted a second Ferguson operation. Around the anniversary of Michael Brown’s death, racial justice protests and civil unrest surged in the city. Armed members of OK were also spotted in the streets.[60] Karriman, the Missouri OK chapter leader, stated that OK militants had returned to Ferguson in order to provide security for employees of InfoWars, a website that promotes far-right conspiracy theories.[61] OK’s return in Ferguson prompted a major dispute within the group over race. Sam Andrews, a local OK leader, hatched a plan for Oath Keepers to organize an open-carry march with Black residents in order to advocate for the Second Amendment across racial lines. A white gun rights activist, Andrews felt that every American citizen, regardless of race, should be entitled to exercise open carry of weapons.[62] Rhodes and OK’s national board of directors rejected the idea, concerned about the optics of arming Ferguson residents against law enforcement – qualms the group did not express when raising arms against BLM at the Bundy Ranch.[63] Accusing Rhodes and OK of “a racist double standard,” Andrews quit the group amidst the controversy.[64] He ultimately held the march in November 2015, but it yielded low turnout.[65]

OK attracted attention again in September 2015 when the group capitalized on the political frenzy surrounding gay marriage. In June 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional. Soon after, Kim Davis, an Apostolic Christian and county clerk in Kentucky, refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite being ordered to do so by a federal court.[66] A judge found Davis in contempt of court and ordered her jailed for five days at the beginning of September.[67] After her release, Rhodes announced that he would send OK militants to Kentucky to provide Davis with a security detail and prevent her from being arrested again.[68] Rhodes clarified that OK did not act because of Davis’s stance on gay marriage, but to protect her due process rights.[69] Davis’s attorneys declined the offer of security support, and OK canceled the operation.[70] Though OK did not ultimately act, this episode reveals the group’s eagerness to attract attention by intervening in a nationally polarizing topic.

Two years after the Bunkerville, Nevada standoff, Oath Keepers intervened in another dispute between the Bundys and the federal government, this time in Oregon. Starting in December 2015, hundreds of far-right militants and activists assembled in Burns, Oregon, to protest the convictions of Dwight Hammond, Jr. and his son Steven Hammond for setting fires on federal land.[71] The Hammonds initially served prison sentences shorter than the mandatory minimum for their charges. After they were released, the Hammonds were sentenced to additional time in prison, which angered the Hammonds’ supporters in the patriot/militia movement.[72] On January 2, 2016, a group of about 15-20 militants led by Cliven Bundy’s son began an armed occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, pledging to remain as long as necessary until their grievances of federal overreach were resolved.[73] The occupation took the movement supporting the Hammonds by surprise and generally opposed Bundy’s escalation of the dispute as “radical” and “fringe.”[74]

At least one member of OK, Jon Ritzheimer, joined Bundy in taking over the refuge and was later convicted and sentenced to 366 days in prison for his participation.[75] Ritzheimer’s involvement in the standoff was unsanctioned by OK’s national leadership. Rhodes spoke out against the occupation, arguing that it went against the wishes of the Hammond family and that it “will be perceived as having the least amount of legitimacy you could possibly imagine.”[76] The Pacific Patriots Network, an umbrella association of local patriot/militia groups including the Josephine County Oath Keepers and Three Percent of Idaho, intervened to form an armed buffer between the occupiers and federal agents to prevent the outbreak of violence.[77] OK’s national leaders officially approved of the buffer mission, deeming it “a righteous mission, if done right,” and a way to avoid “another Waco incident.”[78] The occupation ended on February 11, 2016, 41 days after it began, with one militant, Robert “LaVoy" Finicum, shot by federal agents and the rest taken into custody.[79] The violence led OK member Richard Mack to quit the organization. Mack had served as the leader of a group of sheriffs affiliated with the patriot/militia movement and was a prominent early supporter of OK.[80]

Since its beginning as an organization, OK had maintained an officially nonpartisan stance.[81] This position came under challenge in 2016. OK engaged in a presidential election for the first time and mobilized in support of Donald Trump. The national organization did not officially endorse Trump’s campaign. However, many OK members were motivated to back Trump by their opposition to Hillary Clinton, whose husband was a nemesis of the patriot/militia movement in the 1990s.[82] Rhodes sought to deploy OK to provide security at the 2016 Republican National Convention but was outvoted by OK’s board of directors.[83] Nevertheless, under Rhodes’s leadership, OK later offered security services to pro-Trump activists at the Trump’s rallies. Rhodes himself was seen in the VIP section of a Trump rally wearing an Oath Keepers shirt.[84] Furthering Trump’s pre-election claims of voter fraud, Rhodes called on OK militants to organize “incognito intelligence gathering and crime spotting” operations at the polls.[85] He also led webinars for members on conducting poll surveillance and responding to election-related civil unrest.[86] OK was not seen to have a major public presence at the polls, however.

Tensions within OK came to a head in August 2016 when a high-profile OK chapter left the national organization. The Josephine County Oath Keepers, which had led OK’s standoff at Sugar Pine Mine in 2015, split from OK to form a new group called the Citizen Patriots of Josephine County.[87] Rhodes’s leadership reportedly motivated the split. In an interview with the Southern Poverty Law Center, Josephine County OK leader Joseph Rice accused the national organization of betraying the group’s original mission and condemned Rhodes’s leadership.[88] According to Rice, “Stewart [Rhodes] is not a leader. He has no leadership ability. He self-promotes.”[89] By 2017, the Citizen Patriots appeared to have rebranded as the Liberty Watch of Josephine County.[90]

2017-2020: Ideological Pivots

Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election served as a turning point for groups in the patriot/militia movement, including OK. During his campaign, Trump promised to fight back against the “deep state” loathed by the antigovernment groups. After Trump was elected, a longtime enemy of the patriot/militia movement – the leader of the federal government – suddenly became an ally, according to right-wing extremism expert J.J. MacNab.[91] Conspiracy theories accusing the federal government of collaborating with the globalist “New World Order” cabal were no longer as potent with this unconventional president in the White House, and the movement was thrust into confusion.[92] OK and its peers soon found a new ideological nemesis, however. Historian Mark Pitcavage recounted that once the far-left anti-fascist movement (known as antifa) began targeting Trump and Trump supporters, patriot/militia extremist groups started to rally around antifa as a common enemy.[93] After Trump’s election, OK considered antifa the greatest threat to the United States.[94] While holding onto basic tenets of New World Order conspiracy theories, OK dropped its fear of the federal government colluding with overseas enemies and instead emphasized the dangers of the deep state, globalists, and leftist groups.[95]

In 2017, the primary targets of OK’s operations shifted from the federal government and Black Lives Matter protesters to antifa. In the name of “free speech,” OK and other antigovernment militias began providing security at far-right events expected to be challenged by antifa counter-protesters.[96] OK’s leadership framed the new focus on antifa as part of the group’s longstanding mission. For example, OK militants traveled to Berkeley, California in April 2017 to serve as security for “free speech” protests attended by alt-right activists and anti-feminists. During this event, Rhodes described the cause of free speech as in line with OK’s declared mission to defend the Constitution.[97] In June, Rhodes spoke at the “Rally Against Political Violence” organized by far-right activists and pledged that “antifa will get their asses handed to them by the American patriots.”[98]

OK attended several other events in 2017 to provide security. These include nationwide anti-Muslim rallies and far-right demonstration in Portland, Oregon. In April 2017, OK offered its security services to ACT for America, the largest U.S. anti-Muslim organization. Along with the Three Percenters and the Proud Boys, OK provided armed patrols to ACT for America events in 28 cities across the United States.[99] In June, OK joined patriot/militia groups including American Freedom M/C, Patriot Prayer, and the Three Percenters at a right-wing free speech rally in the face of a heavy antifa presence in Portland.[100]

OK’s increasing presence at these events raised tensions with others on the far right, particularly white supremacist groups. As Rhodes began to expand OK’s ideological purview beyond traditional antigovernment extremism, he resisted associations with white supremacism. In April 2017, Rhodes said, “I dislike the neo-Nazis more than Anti-fa, since they try to worm their way in and by doing so, they harm the cause of liberty far more than the radical leftists could ever do.”[101] In August 2017, Rhodes declared that OK would not participate in far-right events alongside “known white nationalists.” Rhodes specifically cited avoideding cooperation with Jake Von Ott, leader of Identity Evropa, and Kyle Chapman, leader of the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights, a Proud Boys affiliate.[102] In June 2017, a member of a far-right militia group called “This is Texas” put a white supremacist protester into a chokehold at a rally in support of a statue of Sam Houston in Houston, Texas.[103] Believing “This is Texas” to be associated with Oath Keepers (the relationship between the groups is unclear), white nationalist websites The Daily Stormer and Altright.com condemned OK for its refusal to promote white supremacist ideology.[104] OK said that the individual who choked the protester was not affiliated with the organization.[105]

OK’s level of public activity declined in 2018 and 2019. The group continued to prepare for conflict with antifa, however. In August 2018, Rhodes announced that OK would organize “Spartan Training Groups” across the United States, similar to OK’s previously existing Community Preparedness Teams (CPTs).[106] This program aimed to instruct citizens in the paramilitary and first aid skills needed to form a militia, which would stand ready to be called to service by governors, sheriffs, or the president to combat a prophesied antifa insurrection.[107] Rhodes cast antifa as an existential threat to the United States, warning that the far-left movement planned to open the floodgates to unrestricted immigration in order to win future elections.[108] As of March 2021, it is unclear to what extent the Spartan Training Groups program was put into practice.

OK next captured attention in June 2019. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown sent state police to bring Republican senators back to the State Capitol to thwart their attempts to withhold a quorum.[109] OK responded by threatening violence, writing on Facebook, “Gov. Brown, you want a civil war, because this is how you get a civil war.”[110] Days later, the Oregon State Capitol shut down due to an undisclosed “possible militia threat.”[111] It is unclear whether this security risk can be attributed to OK.

Oath Keepers again lept into the national discourse in early 2020 as the United States began to lock down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally, OK’s national leadership supported COVID-19 restrictions. In early March 2020, Rhodes posted an open letter on the OK website in support of public health measures.[112] This stance led OK’s national chaplain, Chuck Baldwin, to resign.[113] By April 2020, OK began to voice full-throated opposition to COVID-19 lockdowns. Via its social media accounts, OK spread misinformation about the alleged dangers of COVID-19 vaccines in development. The group also accused China of deliberately releasing the novel coronavirus and supported “Open America” protests against shelter-in-place orders.[114]

OK also mobilized offline to defy public health guidelines. In late April 2020, a group of about 10 Oath Keepers stood watch in support of a Texas gym owner’s decision to re-open his business in violation of Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s order closing gyms in the state.[115] In May, Rhodes personally spoke at a Texas rally in opposition to COVID-19 restrictions.[116] The Texas chapter of OK organized its own rally in Austin, the state capital, and called on members to provide armed security for a salon in Dallas.[117] OK’s activity was not limited to Texas. The same day as the operation at the salon, OK held a rally in Newburgh, New York, in support of a member opening his tattoo shop in violation of state COVID-19 guidelines.[118]

During the summer of 2020, Oath Keepers capitalized on the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement that followed the killing of a Black man, George Floyd, by a Minneapolis police officer. Rhodes called Black Lives Matter protesters “well-funded Marxist and racist agitators,” and he organized teams of OK militants to guard businesses as protests against police brutality surged in 2020.[119] The Ohio State Regular Militia, an OK affiliate led by Jessica Watkins, was reportedly active in patrolling protests in Ohio and Kentucky, including a major OK operation in Louisville.[120] In late September 2020, about 20 Oath Keepers mobilized to provide security for Louisville businesses during Black Lives Matter protests following a grand jury’s decision not to indict police officers for the killing of Breonna Taylor, a Black paramedic.[121] Other notable events from OK’s engagement with police brutality and racial justice issues during summer 2020 included participation at a rally in support of pro-Confederate statue protesters in Weatherford, Texas and a “Back the Blue” demonstration in Tyler, Texas.[122] In Hood County, Texas, OK donated eight riot shields worth $1,000 to local police weeks after local Black Lives Matter protests.[123]

This period also saw OK adopt more inflammatory and violent rhetoric. After teenager Kyle Rittenhouse was arrested for shooting and killing two people protesting against police brutality in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in August 2020, Rhodes took to Twitter to call him a “patriot” and a hero.”[124] In August 2021, Aaron “Jay” Danielson, a member of the far-right group Patriot Prayer, was shot and killed by Michael Reinoehl, an antifa supporter, in Portland, Oregon.[125] Incensed, Rhodes tweeted that “the first shot has been fired brother. Civil war is here, right now.”[126] On Facebook, John D. Shirley, an OK leader in Texas, called for the execution of Portland’s mayor.[127] Soon after, Twitter banned OK from its platform for violating policies on violent extremism.[128] In October 2020, Rhodes attended the fifth annual Red Pill Expo, a conference of far-right conspiracy theorists, activists, and extremist groups, where he darkly warned of a civil war with the far left soon to come.[129]

In fall 2020, OK supported Trump’s re-election bid. Promoting the president’s warnings that Democrats would try to steal the election, Rhodes pledged that OK would deploy its members undercover, potentially armed, to protect voters from intimidation.[130] However, like in 2016, OK was not seen to have a major public presence at the polls. Following former Vice President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, Oath Keepers backed Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. The courts have found no evidence to support the allegations; all of Trump’s legal challenges to the election results have been rejected, including by the U.S. Supreme Court.[131] Even as OK spread misinformation about election fraud in 2020, members of the group ran for public office themselves. For example, Oath Keeper Wendy Rogers won an Arizona state senate seat as a Republican representing District 6 in central Arizona.[132] As of March 2021, Rogers is the highest-ranked elected official known to be affiliated with Oath Keepers.

OK’s advocacy of Trump continued after the president’s election loss. On November 14, 2020, Oath Keepers joined far-right groups – including the Proud Boys and Three Percenters – and thousands of Trump supporters for the “Million MAGA March,” a demonstration in Washington, D.C. in support of the president.[133] Oath Keepers called for volunteers to provide security for the “patriots” participating in the protest.[134] At the march, Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes declared that the group did not recognize Joe Biden’s electoral victory. [135] He added that the organization would consider any actions Biden took as president to be illegitimate. [136] In a reference to American history, Rhodes claimed that members of his group would focus on “nullifying and resisting” Biden’s policies “very much like the founding fathers” did to oppose Great Britain.[137] At a Washington, D.C. rally of Trump supporters on December 12, 2020, Rhodes urged then-President Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act and declare martial law to prevent Biden from taking office.[138] Passed in 1807, this statute allows the President to use the U.S. military to quell domestic insurgencies.[139] If Trump chose not to do so, Rhodes threatened that Oath Keepers would be forced to act, triggering a “much more bloody war.”[140]

January 2021: Storming of the U.S. Capitol and Federal Investigations

On January 6, 2021, Oath Keepers participated in the storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump seeking to prevent the certification of President Biden’s election victory. As Congress met to count electoral votes, a mob of Trump supporters breached security and trespassed on Capitol grounds. According to police, approximately 800 people in total entered the Capitol without authorization on January 6.[141] Only a minority of the rioters are believed to have ties to extremist groups; of approximately 230 people charged as of February 2021, only 31 were affiliated with a far-right organization.[142] The two major groups known to have taken part in the violence are Proud Boys and Oath Keepers.[143]

Though the events of January 6 began as a protest, the storming of the Capitol became violent. According to the New York Times, 138 police officers were injured and one, Officer Brian Sicknick, was killed.[144] Two men unaffiliated with OK were arrested in March 2021 and charged with assault for allegedly spraying an unknown toxic chemical into the faces of three police offiers, including Officer Sicknick.[145] As of March 2021, Officer Sicknick’s autoposy results remain pending and his cause of death is unknown.[146] It is unknown how many OK members were responsible for police casualties. At least one individual was captured on video surveillance attacking Capitol police with bear spray while wearing a hat emblazoned with the words “Oath Keepers Lifetime Member.”[147]

Four protesters died during the events of January 6. One woman was shot by U.S. Capitol police while part of a group of people attempting to force their way into the building. Another woman is believed to have been crushed to death in the unrest, and two men suffered a heart attack and a stroke, respectively.[148] None of those killed had public ties to OK. It is unknown how many participants in the events were injured. According to reporting by ProPublica, at least one Oath Keeper was wounded in the riots.[149]

Oath Keepers is believed to have played a major role in the Capitol assault. The number of OK members involved is unclear, though some members were seen joining the crowds outside the U.S. Capitol. A group of about eight men later identified as Oath Keepers were caught on video moving towards the doors of the Capitol.[150] According to a journalist present at the scene, multiple “pods” of approximately 10 Oath Keepers roamed the U.S. Capitol complex wearing uniforms and tactical gear emblazoned with Oath Keepers’ name.[151] Some individuals in the crowds outside and inside the Capitol were spotted wearing OK insignia, suggesting that the group did not attempt to completely hide its involvement.[152] However, before January 6, OK directed members participating in the protests against Joe Biden’s election victory to attend “in ‘grey man’ mode, without identifiable Oath Keepers gear.”[153] In a recording from the scene, Oath Keepers member Jessica Watkins is heard coordinating approximately 30 to 40 others, which gives a rough estimate of the number of Oath Keepers present.[154] Rhodes was seen speaking with OK members outside the Capitol over the course of the day, although no evidence shows him entering the building.[155]

It is disputed whether Oath Keepers’ involvement in violence at the Capitol on January 6 was formally organized by the group’s leaders or planned by individual members at a lower level of the OK hierarchy. The OK national leadership has denied responsibility for the attack, but prosecutors allege that Rhodes was involved. A Florida Oath Keeper charged for his involvement in the Capitol violence said that no leader gave an order to forcibly enter the Capitol.[156]

Messages exchanged by Watkins and Thomas E. Caldwell, an alleged OK co-conspirator, before January 6 showed impatience with Rhodes for not giving members of Oath Keepers greater instruction before the counting of electoral votes by Congress.[157] According to a federal indictment, the leader of Oath Keepers – identified as “Person One” in an almost certain reference to Rhodes – urged members of the organization to go to D.C. in advance of January 6. Person One published an article on the OK website encouraging members of the group to “get to DC” in order to “defeat the enemies foreign and domestic who are attempting a coup, through the massive vote fraud and related attacks on our Republic.” In the article,  Person One maintained that OK is “both honor-bound and eager to be there in strength to do our part.”[158]

According to federal prosecutors, Rhodes was in contact with the Oath Keepers who stormed the Capitol before, during, and after the riots. He reportedly offered advice on tactical gear and commented on the storming of the Capitol with other group members.[159] Rhodes has stated, however, that he did not direct members of his group to storm the Capitol. Additionally, Rhodes has maintained that Oath Keepers’ purpose for being in Washington, D.C. was to provide security for VIPs attending protests in support of President Trump.[160] He has described the members of his group involved in the storming of the Capitol as rogue members acting outside the control and direction of Oath Keepers leadership.[161]

In the wake of the assault on the Capitol, the Oath Keepers, along with Proud Boys and Three Percenters, became a focus of the FBI’s investigation into the violence.[162] Prosecutors claimed that members of OK planned in advance to block certification of Joe Biden’s election. An indictment filed on February 19, 2021, argued that a group of nine participants in the Capitol riots, all affiliated with Oath Keepers, conspired to storm the Capitol and prevent electoral votes from being counted.[163] Prosecutors have argued that Oath Keepers planned for weeks in advance of January 6 to use violence in order to obstruct Congressional certification of the election results and help former President Trump remain in office.[164]

As early as November 9, for example, OK member Jessica Watkins allegedly began recruiting others for a January training camp with the goal of being “fighting fit by inauguration.”[165] Thomas E. Caldwell, a Navy veteran allegedly tied to OK, is accused of arranging for a bus to travel with weaponry and at least 40 people from North Carolina to Washington, D.C.[166] In an interview with The Washington Post, Rhodes said that Caldwell was not a leader or a formal member of Oath Keepers.[167] Internal messages showed OK militants planning to bring firearms, mace, gas masks, and other tactical gear to Washington, D.C. during the first week of January.[168]

The extent of OK’s planned violence on the day of the Capitol riots may be greater than currently known. A federal prosecutor argued in court that the group maintained an armed “quick reaction force” garrisoned near D.C.[169] Though no Oath Keepers have been charged with firearms-related crimes, the government suggested that that they could have called upon this unit to commit acts of violence on January 6.[170] In a search of Caldwell’s Virginia home in January 2021, federal investigators found a “Death List” file with the name of an elected official from another state.[171]

As of March 2021, 14 individuals with ties to Oath Keepers had been charged for their involvement in the assault on the Capitol.[172] These include Watkins, Caldwell, and others from Ohio, Florida, and Virginia.[173] Nine OK defendants have been charged with conspiracy:  prosecutors alleged that they planned in advance to storm the Capitol and prevent Joe Biden from being certified as the election winner.[174] Other named offenses included obstruction of an official proceeding, destruction of government property, and trespassing.[175] As of March 2021, Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes was under federal investigation but had not yet been charged with any crimes related to the events of January 6.[176] In addition to criminal charges against over a dozen members, the national Oath Keepers organization faces a civil lawsuit. In mid-February 2021, Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss) sued President Trump, Rudy Giuliani, the Proud Boys, and Oath Keepers for alleged conspiracy to violate the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 by attempting to block Congress’ certification of the Electoral College vote.[177] As of April 2021, 10 other Democratic members of Congress have joined the suit.[178] The Mapping Militants Project will continue updating and editing this profile as more information becomes clear. 

After the inauguration of Joe Biden as 46th president, Rhodes maintained his stance that Biden’s election was wrongly decided. On January 30, 2021, he appeared on Infowars and declared Biden an “illegitimate” president. He urged viewers to declare all acts by his administration to be “null and void.”[179] OK has continued to participate in electoral politics since its involvement in the Capitol riots. In March 2021, Edward Durfee, a member of OK since 2009, declared his candidacy for a seat in the New Jersey state assembly, supported by the Bergen County chapter of the Republican Party.[180] Durfee was present on the Capitol grounds on January 6 but said that he did not enter the building, a claim supported by photo and video evidence.[181]

The events of January 6 marked a turning point for Oath Keepers. The violence at the Capitol was a major operation in the group’s history, which had previously consisted mainly of armed standoffs and efforts to provide security at political demonstrations (see the Major Attacks section of this profile for more information).

January 6 also produced fissures within the Oath Keepers organization. The North Carolina chapter of the group opposed OK’s involvement in the Capitol insurrection. The chapter, led by leader Doug Smith, the unanimously voted to break away from the national organization in February 2021.[182] The chapter had begun distancing itself from the OK national leadership as early as November 2020, disenchanted with OK’s embrace of election-related conspiracy theories.[183] According to Smith, the North Carolina Oath Keepers would refocus its efforts on supporting local law enforcement.[184] The Indiana Oath Keepers also distanced itself from the national organization after January 6. When an Indiana man caught on video attacking Capitol police officers while wearing an OK hat turned himself in to the FBI in Indiana, the Indiana Oath Keepers asserted in an official statement that he was not a member of the chapter.[185] An anonymous leader of the chapter claimed in an interview with a local newspaper that the Indiana Oath Keepers had split from the national leadership three years earlier, though the chapter kept the name, logo, and mission statement of the national Oath Keepers.[186]


[1]  “Oath Keepers.” Southern Poverty Law Center. N.d. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/oath-keepers

[2] Garrison, Jessica, Ken Bensinger, and Salvador Hernandez. “Some Oath Keepers Say Its Founder Has Betrayed The Group’s Mission — And Them.” Buzzfeed News. March 4, 2021. https://www.buzzfeed
news.com/article/jessicagarrison/stewart-rhodes-oath-keepers-early-history-conflicts

[3] “Elmer Stewart Rhodes.” Southern Poverty Law Center. N.d. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/elmer...

[4] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 143.

[5] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 142.

[6] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 142.

[7] “Oath Keepers.” Southern Poverty Law Center. N.d. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/oath-keepers

[8] “Elmer Stewart Rhodes.” Southern Poverty Law Center. N.d. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/elmer...

[9] “Oath Keepers and Three %ers Part of Growing Anti-Government Movement.” Anti-Defamation League. N.d. https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounders/oath-keepers-and-three-ers-p...

[10] “Oath Keepers and Three %ers Part of Growing Anti-Government Movement.” Anti-Defamation League. N.d. https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounders/oath-keepers-and-three-ers-p...

[11] Kennedy, Bud. “Fort Worth-area law officers’ emails show past ties to paranoid Oath Keepers militia.” Fort Worth Star-Telegram. January 25, 2021. https://www.star-telegram.com/news/politics-government/article248562800....

[12] “Elmer Stewart Rhodes.” Southern Poverty Law Center. N.d. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/elmer...

[13] Gouras, Matt. “In Lincoln County and across the West: Oath Keepers want sheriff back as top cop.” Missoulian. June 1, 2010. https://missoulian.com/news/local/in-lincoln-county-and-across-the-west-...

[14] Giglio, Mike. “A Pro-Trump Militant Group Has Recruited Thousands of Police, Soldiers, and Veterans.” The Atlantic. November 2020. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/11/right-wing-militias...

[15] “Oath Keepers and Three %ers Part of Growing Anti-Government Movement.” Anti-Defamation League. N.d. https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounders/oath-keepers-and-three-ers-p...

[16] “Tea Party Twitter Arrest: Daniel Hayden Threatened Mass Murder, Cop Killing.” HuffPost. May 25, 2011. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/tea-party-twitter-arrest_n_191527

[17] “Elmer Stewart Rhodes.” Southern Poverty Law Center. N.d. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/elmer...

[18] Poulsen, Kevin. “Oklahoma Man Arrested for Twittering Tea Party Death Threats.” Wired. April 24, 2009. https://www.wired.com/2009/04/twitterraid/

[19] “Oklahoma City Man Receives Eight-Month Sentence for Twitter Threat.” FBI. February 2, 2010. https://archives.fbi.gov/archives/oklahomacity/press-releases/2010/ok020...

[20] Gunter, Booth. “Oath Keeper Convicted on Weapons Charge, Attempted ‘Citizen’s Arrest.’” Southern Poverty Law Center. October 25, 2011. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2011/10/25/oath-keeper-convicted-wea...‘citizen’s-arrest’

[21] Gunter, Booth. “Oath Keeper Convicted on Weapons Charge, Attempted ‘Citizen’s Arrest.’” Southern Poverty Law Center. October 25, 2011. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2011/10/25/oath-keeper-convicted-wea...‘citizen’s-arrest’

[22] “Militia Extremist Sentenced to Four Years in Prison for Take Over Plot.” FBI. May 15, 2012. https://archives.fbi.gov/archives/knoxville/press-releases/2012/militia-...

[23] Sparling, Hannah K. and Kevin Grasha. “Ohio militias: Who are the Oath Keepers, Ohio State Regular Militia?” The Cincinnati Enquirer. January 22, 2021. https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news
/2021/01/21/ohio-militias-who-oath-keepers-ohio-state-regular-militia/4231869001/

[24] Sparling, Hannah K. and Kevin Grasha. “Ohio militias: Who are the Oath Keepers, Ohio State Regular Militia?” The Cincinnati Enquirer. January 22, 2021. https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news
/2021/01/21/ohio-militias-who-oath-keepers-ohio-state-regular-militia/4231869001/

[25] Balko, Randy. “An Interview With Stewart Rhodes.” Reason. February 7, 2011. https://reason.com/2011/02/07/an-interview-with-stewart-rhod/?print=

[26] Lenz, Ryan. “Are the Oath Keepers Fighting ‘Martial Law’?” Southern Poverty Law Center. November 15, 2011. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/intelligence-report/2011/are-oat...‘martial-law’

[27] “The Oath Keepers.” Anti-Defamation League. 2021. https://www.adl.org/Backgrounders/OathKeepers. Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 44.

[28] “The Oath Keepers.” Anti-Defamation League. 2021. https://www.adl.org/Backgrounders/OathKeepers

[29] Wyler, Grace. “The Bundy Ranch Standoff Was Only the Beginning for America's Right-Wing Militias.” VICE News. April 16, 2014. https://www.vice.com/en/article/dpwykw/an-armed-standoff-in-nevada-is-on...

[30] Childress, Sarah. “The Battle Over Bunkerville: The Bundys, the Federal Government and the New Militia Movement.” PBS Frontline. May 16, 2017. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/the-battle-over-bunkerville/

[31] Wyler, Grace. “The Bundy Ranch Standoff Was Only the Beginning for America's Right-Wing Militias.” VICE News. April 16, 2014. https://www.vice.com/en/article/dpwykw/an-armed-standoff-in-nevada-is-on...

[32] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 46.

[33] Childress, Sarah. “The Battle Over Bunkerville: The Bundys, the Federal Government and the New Militia Movement.” PBS Frontline. May 16, 2017. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/the-battle-over-bunkerville/

[34] Childress, Sarah. “The Battle Over Bunkerville: The Bundys, the Federal Government and the New Militia Movement.” PBS Frontline. May 16, 2017. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/the-battle-over-bunkerville/

[35] Fuller, Jaime. “The long fight between the Bundys and the federal government, from 1989 to today.”

[36] Goldwasser, Rachel. “Well Before The Jan. 6 Insurrection, Oath Keepers Trafficked in Violence and Conspiracy Theories.” Southern Poverty Law Center. February 12, 2021. https://www.splcenter.org
/hatewatch/2021/02/12/well-jan-6-insurrection-oath-keepers-trafficked-violence-and-conspiracy-theories

[37] Garrison, Jessica, Ken Bensinger, and Salvador Hernandez. “Some Oath Keepers Say Its Founder Has Betrayed The Group’s Mission — And Them.” Buzzfeed News. March 4, 2021. https://www.buzzfeed
news.com/article/jessicagarrison/stewart-rhodes-oath-keepers-early-history-conflicts

[38] Garrison, Jessica, Ken Bensinger, and Salvador Hernandez. “Some Oath Keepers Say Its Founder Has Betrayed The Group’s Mission — And Them.” Buzzfeed News. March 4, 2021. https://www.buzzfeed
news.com/article/jessicagarrison/stewart-rhodes-oath-keepers-early-history-conflicts

[39] Garrison, Jessica, Ken Bensinger, and Salvador Hernandez. “Some Oath Keepers Say Its Founder Has Betrayed The Group’s Mission — And Them.” Buzzfeed News. March 4, 2021. https://www.buzzfeed
news.com/article/jessicagarrison/stewart-rhodes-oath-keepers-early-history-conflicts

[40] Garrison, Jessica, Ken Bensinger, and Salvador Hernandez. “Some Oath Keepers Say Its Founder Has Betrayed The Group’s Mission — And Them.” Buzzfeed News. March 4, 2021. https://www.buzzfeed
news.com/article/jessicagarrison/stewart-rhodes-oath-keepers-early-history-conflicts

[41] Garrison, Jessica, Ken Bensinger, and Salvador Hernandez. “Some Oath Keepers Say Its Founder Has Betrayed The Group’s Mission — And Them.” Buzzfeed News. March 4, 2021. https://www.buzzfeed
news.com/article/jessicagarrison/stewart-rhodes-oath-keepers-early-history-conflicts

[42] Giglio, Mike. “A Pro-Trump Militant Group Has Recruited Thousands of Police, Soldiers, and Veterans.” The Atlantic. November 2020. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/11/right-wing-militias...

[43] Davey, Monica and Julie Bosman. “Protests Flare After Ferguson Police Officer Is Not Indicted.” November 24, 2014. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/25/us/ferguson-darren-wilson-shooting-mi...

[44] Heffernan, Brian. “In Ferguson, Oath Keepers draw both suspicion and gratitude.” Al Jazeera America. December 14, 2014. http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/12/14/oath-keepers-fergusonpr...

[45] Heffernan, Brian. “In Ferguson, Oath Keepers draw both suspicion and gratitude.” Al Jazeera America. December 14, 2014. http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/12/14/oath-keepers-fergusonpr...

[46] Hay, Mark. “The ​Leader of Oath Keepers Says the Right-Wing Group Is in Ferguson to ‘Protect the Weak.’” VICE News. December 1, 2014. https://www.vice.com/en/article/av48bg/leader-of-oath-keepers-says-the-g...

[47] Fowler, Sarah. “Ferguson unrest: Who are the mysterious ‘Oath Keepers’?” BBC News. August 12, 2015. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-33867245

[48] Heffernan, Brian. “In Ferguson, Oath Keepers draw both suspicion and gratitude.” Al Jazeera America. December 14, 2014. http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/12/14/oath-keepers-fergusonpr...

[49] Heffernan, Brian. “In Ferguson, Oath Keepers draw both suspicion and gratitude.” Al Jazeera America. December 14, 2014. http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/12/14/oath-keepers-fergusonpr...

[50] Wiles, Tay. “Sugar Pine Mine, the other standoff.” High Country News. February 2, 2016. https://www.hcn.org/issues/48.2/showdown-at-sugar-pine-mine

[51] Wiles, Tay. “Sugar Pine Mine, the other standoff.” High Country News. February 2, 2016. https://www.hcn.org/issues/48.2/showdown-at-sugar-pine-mine

[52] Pogue, James. “The Oath Keepers Are Ready for War with the Federal Government.” VICE News. September 14, 2015. https://www.vice.com/en/article/exq8en/miner-threat-0000747-v22n9. Wiles, Tay. “Sugar Pine Mine, the other standoff.” High Country News. February 2, 2016. https://www.hcn.org/issues/48.2/showdown-at-sugar-pine-mine

[53] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 49-50.

[54] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 49-50.

[55] Fausset, Richard, Alan Blinder, and Michael S. Schmidt. “Gunman Kills 4 Marines at Military Site in Chattanooga.” The New York Times. July 16, 2015. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/17/us/chattanooga-tennessee-shooting.html. Fausset, Richard, Richard Pérez-Peña, and Matt Apuzzo. “Slain Troops in Chattanooga Saved Lives Before Giving Their Own.” The New York Times. July 22, 2015. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/23/us/chattanooga-tennessee-shooting-inv...

[56] Calamur, Krishnadev and Eyder Peralta. “Gunman's Motivation Unclear After Shootings At Tennessee Military Sites.” NPR. July 16, 2015. https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/07/16/423489864/shooting-re...

[57] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 51.

[58] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 51.

[59] Tritten, Travis J. “Army to recruiters: Treat armed citizens as security threat.” Stars and Stripes. July 22, 2015. https://www.stripes.com/news/us/army-to-recruiters-treat-armed-citizens-...

[60] Larimer, Sarah and Abby Phillip. “Who are the Oath Keepers, and why has the armed group returned to Ferguson?” The Washington Post. August 11, 2015. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/08/11/who-are-th...

[61] Laughland, Oliver, Jon Swaine, and Joanna Walters. “White militiamen roam Ferguson with rifles while black men wrongly arrested.” The Guardian. August 12, 2015. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/aug/11/oath-keepers-ferguson-au...

[62] Feur, Alan. “The Oath Keeper Who Wants to Arm Black Lives Matter.” Rolling Stone. January 3, 2016. https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/the-oath-keeper-who-wa...

[63] Feur, Alan. “The Oath Keeper Who Wants to Arm Black Lives Matter.” Rolling Stone. January 3, 2016. https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/the-oath-keeper-who-wa...

[64] Walker, Jesse. “Oath Keeper Who Called for #BlackOpenCarry March in Ferguson Leaves the Group, Plans His Own March; Oath Keepers Say the Original March Will Proceed.” Reason. August 27, 2015. https://reason.com/2015/08/27/oath-keeper-who-called-for-blackopencarr/

[65] Feur, Alan. “The Oath Keeper Who Wants to Arm Black Lives Matter.” Rolling Stone. January 3, 2016. https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/the-oath-keeper-who-wa...

[66] Higdon, James and Sandhya Somashekhar. “Kentucky clerk ordered to jail for refusing to issue gay marriage license.” The Washington Post. September 3, 2015. https://www.washingtonpost.com
/national/defiant-kentucky-clerk-could-be-found-in-contempt-thursday/2015/09/03/34e50f08-51af-11e5-9812-92d5948a40f8_story.html?itid=lk_readmore_manual_4

[67] Higdon, James and Sandhya Somashekhar. “Kentucky clerk ordered to jail for refusing to issue gay marriage license.” The Washington Post. September 3, 2015. https://www.washingtonpost.com
/national/defiant-kentucky-clerk-could-be-found-in-contempt-thursday/2015/09/03/34e50f08-51af-11e5-9812-92d5948a40f8_story.html?itid=lk_readmore_manual_4. Hanna, Jason, Ed Payne, and Catherine E. Shoichet. “Kim Davis released, but judge bars her from withholding marriage licenses.” CNN. September 8, 2015. https://www.cnn.com/2015/09/08/politics/kim-davis-same-sex-marriage-kent...

[68] Neiwert, David. “Oath Keepers Head to Kentucky to Repeat Bundy Ranch Tactics in Kim Davis Dispute.” Southern Poverty Law Center. September 10, 2015. https://www.splcenter.org
/hatewatch/2015/09/10/oath-keepers-head-kentucky-repeat-bundy-ranch-tactics-kim-davis-dispute

[69] Neiwert, David. “Oath Keepers Head to Kentucky to Repeat Bundy Ranch Tactics in Kim Davis Dispute.” Southern Poverty Law Center. September 10, 2015. https://www.splcenter.org
/hatewatch/2015/09/10/oath-keepers-head-kentucky-repeat-bundy-ranch-tactics-kim-davis-dispute

[70] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 54.

[71] Wiles, Tay. “Malheur occupation, explained.” High Country News. January 4, 2016. https://www.hcn.org
/articles/oregon-occupation-at-wildlife-refuge

[72] Zaitz, Les. “Oregon ranchers' fight with feds sparks militias’ interest.” The Oregonian. January 9, 2019. https://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/2015/12/ranchers_fight...

[73] Wiles, Tay. “Malheur occupation, explained.” High Country News. January 4, 2016. https://www.hcn.org
/articles/oregon-occupation-at-wildlife-refuge

[74] Wiles, Tay. “Malheur occupation, explained.” High Country News. January 4, 2016. https://www.hcn.org
/articles/oregon-occupation-at-wildlife-refuge

[75] Bernstein, Maxine. “Oregon refuge occupier Jon Ritzheimer: ‘I am extremely sorry for this entire mess.’” The Oregonian. January 9, 2019. https://www.oregonlive.com/oregon-standoff/2017/11/oregon_refuge_occupie...

[76] Devlin, Vince. “Oath Keepers founder says members should pick different fight than Oregon situation.” Missoulian. February 18, 2021. https://missoulian.com/news/local/oath-keepers-founder-says-members-shou...

[77] Peacher, Amanda. “There's Another Armed Group In Burns And It's Not The Bundys.” OPB.

[78] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 57.

[79] “Oregon standoff timeline: 41 days of the Malheur refuge occupation and the aftermath.” The Oregonian. February 14, 2017. https://www.oregonlive.com/portland/2017/02/oregon_standoff_timeline_41_...

[80] Garrison, Jessica, Ken Bensinger, and Salvador Hernandez. “Some Oath Keepers Say Its Founder Has Betrayed The Group’s Mission — And Them.” Buzzfeed News. March 4, 2021. https://www.buzzfeed
news.com/article/jessicagarrison/stewart-rhodes-oath-keepers-early-history-conflicts

[81] Giglio, Mike. “A Pro-Trump Militant Group Has Recruited Thousands of Police, Soldiers, and Veterans.” The Atlantic. November 2020. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/11/right-wing-militias...

[82] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 58.

[83] Garrison, Jessica, Ken Bensinger, and Salvador Hernandez. “Some Oath Keepers Say Its Founder Has Betrayed The Group’s Mission — And Them.” Buzzfeed News. March 4, 2021. https://www.buzzfeed
news.com/article/jessicagarrison/stewart-rhodes-oath-keepers-early-history-conflicts

[84] Giglio, Mike. “A Pro-Trump Militant Group Has Recruited Thousands of Police, Soldiers, and Veterans.” The Atlantic. November 2020. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/11/right-wing-militias...

[85] Sullivan, Kevin. “Militia group calls on members to patrol polls on Election Day.” The Washington Post. October 27, 2016. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/10/27/militia-gr...

[86] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 58.

[87] Sunshine, Spencer. “The Oath Keepers in Oregon.” Political Research Associates. October 3, 2016. https://www.politicalresearch.org/2016/10/03/the-oath-keepers-in-oregon

[88] Lenz, Ryan. “Leader of Josephine County Oath Keepers Breaks with Stewart Rhodes Over Leadership Style.” Southern Poverty Law Center. May 16, 2017. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/05/16
/leader-josephine-county-oath-keepers-breaks-stewart-rhodes-over-leadership-style

[89] Lenz, Ryan. “Leader of Josephine County Oath Keepers Breaks with Stewart Rhodes Over Leadership Style.” Southern Poverty Law Center. May 16, 2017. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/05/16
/leader-josephine-county-oath-keepers-breaks-stewart-rhodes-over-leadership-style

[90] Lenz, Ryan. “Leader of Josephine County Oath Keepers Breaks with Stewart Rhodes Over Leadership Style.” Southern Poverty Law Center. May 16, 2017. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/05/16
/leader-josephine-county-oath-keepers-breaks-stewart-rhodes-over-leadership-style

[91] Michel, Casey. “How Militias Became the Private Police for White Supremacists.” POLITICO. August 17, 2017. https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/08/17/white-supremacists-mi...

[92] Michel, Casey. “How Militias Became the Private Police for White Supremacists.” POLITICO. August 17, 2017. https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/08/17/white-supremacists-mi...

[93] Pitcavage, Mark, interviewed by Dave Davies. “Armed Militias Face Off With The ‘Antifa’ In The New Landscape Of Political Protest.” Fresh Air. WBUR. August 23, 2017. https://www.wbur.org
/npr/545509627/armed-militias-face-off-with-the-antifa-in-the-new-landscape-of-political-protes

[94] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020.

[95] Lederman, Josh. “The founder of a far-right militia once warned of federal tyranny. Then came Trump.” NBC News. February 2, 2021. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/founder-far-right-militia...

[96] Michel, Casey. “How Militias Became the Private Police for White Supremacists.” POLITICO. August 17, 2017. https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/08/17/white-supremacists-mi.... Hawkins, Derek. “‘Boomer antifa’: White supremacists rip into paramilitary Oath Keepers for not being racist enough.” The Washington Post. June 16, 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com
/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/06/16/boomer-antifa-white-supremacists-rip-into-paramilitary-oath-keepers-for-not-being-racist-enough/

[97] Lenz, Ryan. “Hoping for Another Battle, Nativist Trump Supporters and Antigovernment Extremists Again Descend on Berkeley.” Southern Poverty Law Center. April 28, 2017. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/04/28/hoping-another-battle-nat...

[98] “Dueling Alt-Right Rallies, Separated by Anti-Semitism, Face Off in DC Despite Calls to ‘Unite the Right.’” Southern Poverty Law Center. June 26, 2017. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/06/26/dueling-alt-right-rallies...

[99] Morlin, Bill. “ACT’s Anti-Muslim Message Fertile Ground for Oath Keepers.” Southern Poverty Law Center. June 12, 2017. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/06/12/act’s-anti-muslim-message-fertile-ground-oath-keepers

[100] Sottile, Leah. “Right-wing free speech rally draws massive counterprotests in Portland.” The Washington Post. June 4, 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/right-wing-free-speech-rally-dra...

[101] Hawkins, Derek. “‘Boomer antifa’: White supremacists rip into paramilitary Oath Keepers for not being racist enough.” The Washington Post. June 16, 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com
/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/06/16/boomer-antifa-white-supremacists-rip-into-paramilitary-oath-keepers-for-not-being-racist-enough/

[102] Rodriguez, Joe Fitzgerald. “Presidio businesses rack big financial losses from ‘Free Speech’ rally.” San Francisco Examiner. August 29, 2017. https://www.sfexaminer.com/news/presidio-businesses-rack-big-financial-l...

[103] Hawkins, Derek. “‘Boomer antifa’: White supremacists rip into paramilitary Oath Keepers for not being racist enough.” The Washington Post. June 16, 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com
/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/06/16/boomer-antifa-white-supremacists-rip-into-paramilitary-oath-keepers-for-not-being-racist-enough/

[104] Hawkins, Derek. “‘Boomer antifa’: White supremacists rip into paramilitary Oath Keepers for not being racist enough.” The Washington Post. June 16, 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com
/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/06/16/boomer-antifa-white-supremacists-rip-into-paramilitary-oath-keepers-for-not-being-racist-enough/

[105] “‘Alt-Right’ Declares Flame War On Oath Keepers.” Southern Poverty Law Center. June 15, 2017. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/06/15/alt-right-declares-flame-...

[106] Neiwert, David. “Oath Keepers announce national ‘Spartan’ training program aimed at ‘violent left.’” Southern Poverty Law Center. August 23, 2018. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2018/08/23/oath-keepers-announce-nat...‘spartan’-training-program-aimed-‘violent-left’

[107] Neiwert, David. “Oath Keepers announce national ‘Spartan’ training program aimed at ‘violent left.’” Southern Poverty Law Center. August 23, 2018. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2018/08/23/oath-keepers-announce-nat...‘spartan’-training-program-aimed-‘violent-left’

[108] Neiwert, David. “Oath Keepers announce national ‘Spartan’ training program aimed at ‘violent left.’” Southern Poverty Law Center. August 23, 2018. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2018/08/23/oath-keepers-announce-nat...‘spartan’-training-program-aimed-‘violent-left’

[109] “Q&A: How will Oregon State Police go about finding GOP senators who walked out?” KJW8 News. June 21, 2019. https://www.kgw.com/article/news/politics/qa-how-will-oregon-state-polic...

[110] Lubben, Alex. “Let’s Check In on Those Oregon Republicans Who Fled the Capital, Shall We?” VICE News. June 24, 2019. https://www.vice.com/en/article/8xz7nv/lets-check-in-on-those-oregon-rep...

[111] Zimmerman, Sarah and Gillian Flaccus. “Militia threat shuts down Oregon Statehouse amid walkout.” AP. June 21, 2019. https://apnews.com/article/f320309a26ff4e36b0945954b03201e5

[112] “Oath Keepers Chaplain Quits Over Leader's COVID Response.” Southern Poverty Law Center. April 23, 2020. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2020/04/23/oath-keepers-chaplain-qui...

[113] “Oath Keepers Chaplain Quits Over Leader's COVID Response.” Southern Poverty Law Center. April 23, 2020. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2020/04/23/oath-keepers-chaplain-qui...

[114] Newhouse, Alex and Sean Kitson. “The Oath Keepers are Spreading COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories.” Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism. Middlebury Institute of International Studies. April 22, 2020. https://www.middlebury.edu/institute/academics/centers-initiatives/ctec/...

[115] O’Rourke, Ciara. “How Oath Keepers Are Quietly Infiltrating Local Government.” POLITICO. December 9, 2020. https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/12/09/oath-keepers-far-right...

[116] Goldwasser, Rachel. “The Year in Antigovernment Extremism Part 1.” Southern Poverty Law Center. February 8, 2021. https://www.splcenter.org/news/2021/02/08/year-antigovernment-extremism-...

[117] Goldwasser, Rachel. “The Year in Antigovernment Extremism Part 1.” Southern Poverty Law Center. February 8, 2021. https://www.splcenter.org/news/2021/02/08/year-antigovernment-extremism-...

[118] Goldwasser, Rachel. “The Year in Antigovernment Extremism Part 1.” Southern Poverty Law Center. February 8, 2021. https://www.splcenter.org/news/2021/02/08/year-antigovernment-extremism-...

[119] Klemko, Robert. “Behind the armor: Men seek ‘purpose’ in protecting property despite charges of racism.” The Washington Post. October 5, 2020. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/behind-the-armor-men-seek-purpos...

[120] Sparling, Hannah K. and Kevin Grasha. “Ohio militias: Who are the Oath Keepers, Ohio State Regular Militia?” The Cincinnati Enquirer. January 22, 2021. https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news
/2021/01/21/ohio-militias-who-oath-keepers-ohio-state-regular-militia/4231869001/. Garrison, Jessica and Ken Bensinger. “Meet The Woman Facing Some Of The Most Serious Capitol Riot Charges.” Buzzfeed. January 27, 2021. https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/jessicagarrison
/conspiracy-charge-ohio-militia-capitol

[121] Klemko, Robert. “Behind the armor: Men seek ‘purpose’ in protecting property despite charges of racism.” The Washington Post. October 5, 2020. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/behind-the-armor-men-seek-purpos...

[122] “Standing by: Right-Wing Militia Groups & the US Election.” ACLED. October 21, 2020. https://acleddata.com/2020/10/21/standing-by-militias-election/

[123] O’Rourke, Ciara. “How Oath Keepers Are Quietly Infiltrating Local Government.” POLITICO. December 9, 2020. https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/12/09/oath-keepers-far-right...

[124] Midkiff, Sarah. “Who Are The Oath Keepers? This Pro-Trump Militia Claims To Be ‘Protecting’ America.” Refinery29. December 9, 2020. https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2020/12/10217966/who-are-oath-keepers-p...

[125] “Man Linked to Killing at a Portland Protest Says He Acted in Self-Defense.” VICE News. September 3, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en/article/v7g8vb/man-linked-to-killing-at-a-portla...

[126] Goldwasser, Rachel. “Well Before The Jan. 6 Insurrection, Oath Keepers Trafficked in Violence and Conspiracy Theories.” Southern Poverty Law Center. February 12, 2021. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2021/02/12/well-jan-6-insurrection-o...

[127] O’Rourke, Ciara. “How Oath Keepers Are Quietly Infiltrating Local Government.” POLITICO. December 9, 2020. https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/12/09/oath-keepers-far-right...

[128] Fears, Danika. “Twitter Bans Far-Right Militia Group the Oath Keepers for Violating Violent Extremism Policy.” The Daily Beast. September 10, 2020. https://www.thedailybeast.com/twitter-bans-far-right-militia-group-the-o...

[129] Quammen, Betsy. “Way beyond the Proud Boys: The militias and conspiracy theorists to worry about as the election approaches.” New York Daily News. October 14, 2020. https://www.nydailynews.com
/opinion/ny-oped-militias-conspiracy-theorists-trump-20201014-r7bm67szqvcwtnq2b5qnx5n62u-story.html

[130] Greenspan, Rachel E. “Far-right armed group leader says militants will 'stand up and protect people on Election Day' in an interview with Alex Jones.” Insider. October 29, 2020. https://www.insider.com/far-right-militant-leader-election-day-alex-jone...

[131] Williams, Pete and Nicole Via y Rada. “Trump's election fight includes over 50 lawsuits. It's not going well.” NBC News. December 10, 2020. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/trump-s-election-fight-in.... “Supreme Court formally rejects Trump election challenge cases.” Associated Press via NBC News. February 22, 2021. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/supreme-court-formally-re.... Williams, Pete. “Supreme Court rejects final Trump election challenge.” NBC News. March 8, 2021. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/supreme-court/supreme-court-rejects-fin...

[132] “Results for the Arizona state House, Senate races in 2020 election.” 12 News. 3 November 2020. https://www.12news.com/article/news/politics/results-election-arizona-st...

[133] “Million MAGA March: Thousands of pro-Trump protesters rally in Washington DC.” BBC News. November 15, 2020. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-54945154

[134] “At the Extremes: The 2020 Election and American Extremism, Part 7.” Anti-Defamation League. November 12, 2020. November 12, 2020. https://www.adl.org/blog/at-the-extremes-the-2020-election-and-american-...

[135] Connolly, Griffin and Richard Hall. “America’s largest militia says it will refuse to recognise Biden as president and ‘resist’ his administration.” The Independent. November 15, 2020. https://www.independent
.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-election-2020/oath-keepers-militia-donald-trump-joe-biden-2020-election-b1723323.html

[136] Connolly, Griffin and Richard Hall. “America’s largest militia says it will refuse to recognise Biden as president and ‘resist’ his administration.” The Independent. November 15, 2020. https://www.independent
.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-election-2020/oath-keepers-militia-donald-trump-joe-biden-2020-election-b1723323.html

[137] Connolly, Griffin and Richard Hall. “America’s largest militia says it will refuse to recognise Biden as president and ‘resist’ his administration.” The Independent. November 15, 2020. https://www.independent
.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-election-2020/oath-keepers-militia-donald-trump-joe-biden-2020-election-b1723323.html

[138] Stan, Adele M. “Oath Keepers’ Stewart Rhodes Calls for ‘Bloody War’ if Trump Doesn’t Invoke Insurrection Act.” Right Wing Watch. December 14, 2020. https://www.rightwingwatch.org/post/oath-keepers-stewart-rhodes-calls-fo...

[139] Montanaro, Domenico. “What Is The Insurrection Act That Trump Is Threatening To Invoke?” NPR. June 1, 2020. https://www.npr.org/2020/06/01/867467714/what-is-the-insurrection-act-th...

[140] Stan, Adele M. “Oath Keepers’ Stewart Rhodes Calls for ‘Bloody War’ if Trump Doesn’t Invoke Insurrection Act.” Right Wing Watch. December 14, 2020. https://www.rightwingwatch.org/post/oath-keepers-stewart-rhodes-calls-fo...

[141] Hsu, Spencer S., Peter Hermann, and Emily Davies. “Two arrested in assault on police officer Brian D. Sicknick, who died after Jan. 6 Capitol riot.” The Washington Post. March 15, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/two-arrested-in-assaul...

[142] Valentino-DeVries, Jennifer, Denise Lu, Eleanor Lutz, and Alex Leeds Matthews. “A Small Group of Militants’ Outsize Role in the Capitol Attack.” The New York Times. February 21, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/02/21/us/capitol-riot-attack-mi...

[143] Valentino-DeVries, Jennifer, Denise Lu, Eleanor Lutz, and Alex Leeds Matthews. “A Small Group of Militants’ Outsize Role in the Capitol Attack.” The New York Times. February 21, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/02/21/us/capitol-riot-attack-mi...

[144] Schmidt, Michael S. and Luke Broadwater. “Officers’ Injuries, Including Concussions, Show Scope of Violence at Capitol Riot.” The New York Times. February 11, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com
/2021/02/11/us/politics/capitol-riot-police-officer-injuries.html

[145] Hsu, Spencer S., Peter Hermann, and Emily Davies. “Two arrested in assault on police officer Brian D. Sicknick, who died after Jan. 6 Capitol riot.” The Washington Post. March 15, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/two-arrested-in-assaul...

[146] Hsu, Spencer S., Peter Hermann, and Emily Davies. “Two arrested in assault on police officer Brian D. Sicknick, who died after Jan. 6 Capitol riot.” The Washington Post. March 15, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/two-arrested-in-assaul...

[147] East, Andy. “A local connection: Indiana Oath Keepers confirms group in Bartholomew County.” The Republic. January 31, 2021. http://www.therepublic.com/2021/01/31/a-local-connection-indiana-oath-ke...

[148] McEvoy, Jemima. “Woman Possibly ‘Crushed To Death’: These Are The Five People Who Died Amid Pro-Trump Riots.” Forbes. January 8, 2021. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jemimamcevoy/2021/01/08/woman-possibly-crus...

[149] Thompson, A.C. and Ford Fischer. “Members of Several Well-Known Hate Groups Identified at Capitol Riot.” PBS Frontline. January 9, 2021. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/several-well-known-hate-group...

[150] Thompson, A.C. and Ford Fischer. “Members of Several Well-Known Hate Groups Identified at Capitol Riot.” PBS Frontline. January 9, 2021. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/several-well-known-hate-group...

[151] Liu, Diana. “Who are these militia seen charging up the steps during the US Capitol siege?” France24. January 12, 2021. https://observers.france24.com/en/americas/20210112-us-militia-oath-keep...

[152] Barrett, Devlin and Spencer S. Hsu. “FBI probes possible connections between extremist groups at heart of Capitol violence.” The Washington Post. January 18, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/oath-keeper-three-perce...

[153] Goldwasser, Rachel and Hatewatch Staff. “Well Before The Jan. 6 Insurrection, Oath Keepers Trafficked in Violence and Conspiracy Theories.” Southern Poverty Law Center. February 12, 2021. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2021/02/12/well-jan-6-insurrection-o...

[154] Hsu, Spencer S., Rachel Weiner, and Tom Jackman. “Self-styled militia members in three states began planning in November for recruits, weapons ahead of Capitol breach, U.S. alleges.” The Washington Post. January 27, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/self-styled-militia-me...

[155] Thompson, A.C. and Ford Fischer. “Members of Several Well-Known Hate Groups Identified at Capitol Riot.” PBS Frontline. January 9, 2021. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/several-well-known-hate-group...

[156] Hsu, Spencer S. and Aaron C. Davis. “Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes was in direct contact with rioters before and during Capitol breach, U.S. alleges.” The Washington Post. March 9, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/stewart-rhodes-oathkee...

[157] Barrett, Devlin, Spencer S. Hsu, and Aaron C. Davis. “‘Be ready to fight’: FBI probe of U.S. Capitol riot finds evidence detailing coordination of an assault.” The Washington Post. January 30, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/fbi-capitol-riot-coordi...

[158] “United States of America v. Thomas Edward Caldwell, Donovan Ray Crowl, Jessica Watkins, Sandra Parker, Bennie Parker, Graydon Young, Laura Steele, Kelly Meggs, and Connie Meggs.” United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Indictment filed February 19, 2021. https://int.nyt.com/data/documenttools/oath-keepers-superseding-indictme...

[159] Hsu, Spencer S. and Aaron C. Davis. “Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes was in direct contact with rioters before and during Capitol breach, U.S. alleges.” The Washington Post. March 9, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/stewart-rhodes-oathkee...

[160] Barrett, Devlin, Spencer S. Hsu, and Aaron C. Davis. “‘Be ready to fight’: FBI probe of U.S. Capitol riot finds evidence detailing coordination of an assault.” The Washington Post. January 30, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/fbi-capitol-riot-coordi...

[161] Barrett, Devlin, Spencer S. Hsu, and Aaron C. Davis. “‘Be ready to fight’: FBI probe of U.S. Capitol riot finds evidence detailing coordination of an assault.” The Washington Post. January 30, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/fbi-capitol-riot-coordi...

[162] Barrett, Devlin and Spencer S. Hsu. “FBI probes possible connections between extremist groups at heart of Capitol violence.” The Washington Post. January 18, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/oath-keeper-three-perce...

[163] “United States of America v. Thomas Edward Caldwell, Donovan Ray Crowl, Jessica Watkins, Sandra Parker, Bennie Parker, Graydon Young, Laura Steele, Kelly Meggs, and Connie Meggs.” United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Indictment filed February 19, 2021. https://int.nyt.com/data/documenttools/oath-keepers-superseding-indictme...

[164] Feuer, Alan and Katie Benner. “More Oath Keeper Suspects Charged in Capitol Riot Plot.” The New York Times. February 19, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/19/us/politics/oath-keepers-capitol-riot...

[165] Hsu, Spencer S., Rachel Weiner, and Tom Jackman. “Self-styled militia members in three states began planning in November for recruits, weapons ahead of Capitol breach, U.S. alleges.” The Washington Post. January 27, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/self-styled-militia-me...

[166] Hsu, Spencer S., Rachel Weiner, and Tom Jackman. “Self-styled militia members in three states began planning in November for recruits, weapons ahead of Capitol breach, U.S. alleges.” The Washington Post. January 27, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/self-styled-militia-me...

[167] Hsu, Spencer S., Rachel Weiner, and Tom Jackman. “Self-styled militia members in three states began planning in November for recruits, weapons ahead of Capitol breach, U.S. alleges.” The Washington Post. January 27, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/self-styled-militia-me...

[168] Valentino-DeVries, Jennifer, Denise Lu, Eleanor Lutz, and Alex Leeds Matthews. “A Small Group of Militants’ Outsize Role in the Capitol Attack.” The New York Times. February 21, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/02/21/us/capitol-riot-attack-mi...

[169] Garrison, Jessica, Ken Bensinger, and Zoe Tillman. “Prosecutors Suggested That The Oath Keepers Had A Special Force Ready With Weapons During The Capitol Insurrection.” Buzzfeed News. February 26, 2021. https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/jessicagarrison/oath-keepers-armed-...

[170] Garrison, Jessica, Ken Bensinger, and Zoe Tillman. “Prosecutors Suggested That The Oath Keepers Had A Special Force Ready With Weapons During The Capitol Insurrection.” Buzzfeed News. February 26, 2021. https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/jessicagarrison/oath-keepers-armed-...

[171] Feuer, Alan. “Oath Keepers Plotting Before Capitol Riot Awaited ‘Direction’ From Trump, Prosecutors Say.” The New York Times. February 11, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/11/us/politics/oath-keepers-trump-invest...

[172] Hsu, Spencer S., Aaron C. Davis, and Devlin Barrett. “Calls, texts by Oath Keepers founder contain ‘substantial evidence’ of Capitol conspiracy, prosecutors allege.” The Washington Post. March 25, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/oath-keeper-communicat.... Valentino-DeVries, Jennifer, Denise Lu, Eleanor Lutz, and Alex Leeds Matthews. “A Small Group of Militants’ Outsize Role in the Capitol Attack.” The New York Times. February 21, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/02/21/us/capitol-riot-attack-mi.... Weiner, Rachel, Shayna Jacobs, and Spencer S. Hsu. “Man charged in Capitol riot is linked to Oath Keepers, seen with Roger Stone on Jan. 6, prosecutors say.” The Washington Post. March 8, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/prosecutors-arrest-oat.... Hsu, Spencer S. and Aaron C. Davis. “Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes was in direct contact with rioters before and during Capitol breach, U.S. alleges.” The Washington Post. March 9, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/stewart-rhodes-oathkee...

[173] Feuer, Alan and Katie Benner. “More Oath Keeper Suspects Charged in Capitol Riot Plot.” The New York Times. February 19, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/19/us/politics/oath-keepers-capitol-riot...

[174] Feuer, Alan and Katie Benner. “More Oath Keeper Suspects Charged in Capitol Riot Plot.” The New York Times. February 19, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/19/us/politics/oath-keepers-capitol-riot...

[175] “United States of America v. Thomas Edward Caldwell, Donovan Ray Crowl, Jessica Watkins, Sandra Parker, Bennie Parker, Graydon Young, Laura Steele, Kelly Meggs, and Connie Meggs.” United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Indictment filed February 19, 2021. https://int.nyt.com/data/documenttools/oath-keepers-superseding-indictme...

[176] Feuer, Alan, Adam Goldman, and Katie Benner. “Oath Keepers Founder Is Said to Be Investigated in Capitol Riot.” The New York Times. March 10, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/10/us/politics
/stewart-rhodes-oath-keepers-capitol-riot.html

[177] Lucas, Ryan. “House Democrat Sues Trump, Giuliani And 2 Far-Right Groups Over Capitol Riot.” NPR. February 16, 2021. https://www.npr.org/2021/02/16/968374210/house-democrat-sues-trump-giuli...

[178] Mangan, Dan. “10 more Congress members join lawsuit accusing Trump, Giuliani, Proud Boys, Oath Keepers of Capitol riot conspiracy.” CNBC. April 7, 2021. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/07/capitol-riot-congress-members-sue-trump-...

[179] Simon, Mallory, Sara Sidner, and Anna-Maja Rappard. “Some of his followers are being sought by the FBI. It's not stopping the leader of the Oath Keepers.” CNN. February 15, 2021. https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/15/politics/capitol-riot-oath-keepers-stewar...

[180] Katz, Matt. “An Oath Keeper Did Security For The Capitol Rally. Now, He’s A Republican Candidate for NJ Assembly.” Gothamist. April 9, 2021. https://gothamist.com/news/an-oath-keeper-did-security-for-the-capitol-r...

[181] Katz, Matt. “An Oath Keeper Did Security For The Capitol Rally. Now, He’s A Republican Candidate for NJ Assembly.” Gothamist. April 9, 2021. https://gothamist.com/news/an-oath-keeper-did-security-for-the-capitol-r...

[182] Sherrill, Thomas. “Local Oath Keepers split from national following Jan. 6.” The News Reporter. February 9, 2021. https://nrcolumbus.com/local-oath-keepers-split-from-national-following-...

[183] Sherrill, Thomas. “Local Oath Keepers split from national following Jan. 6.” The News Reporter. February 9, 2021. https://nrcolumbus.com/local-oath-keepers-split-from-national-following-...

[184] Sherrill, Thomas. “Local Oath Keepers split from national following Jan. 6.” The News Reporter. February 9, 2021. https://nrcolumbus.com/local-oath-keepers-split-from-national-following-...

[185] East, Andy. “A local connection: Indiana Oath Keepers confirms group in Bartholomew County.” The Columbus Republic. January 31, 2021. http://www.therepublic.com/2021/01/31/a-local-connection-indiana-oath-ke...

[186] East, Andy. “A local connection: Indiana Oath Keepers confirms group in Bartholomew County.” The Columbus Republic. January 31, 2021. http://www.therepublic.com/2021/01/31/a-local-connection-indiana-oath-ke...

Organizational Structure

Leadership, Name Changes, Size Estimates, Resources, Geographic Locations

    Leadership
  • Leadership
  • Name Changes
  • Size Estimates
  • Resources
  • Geographic Locations

Leadership

Oath Keepers is a large national hierarchical organization that includes state, county, and local chapters operating under the general direction of a national leadership.[1] The national leadership is composed of a board of directors and group founder Stewart Rhodes. It serves as the official voice of Oath Keepers, handling the group’s website, social media, and official public statements. The national leadership also provides calls to action on various topics.[2] Oath Keepers chapters are responsible for much of the group’s on-the-ground activity, including meetings, operations, and training.[3] The chapters coordinate to some degree, as suggested by evidence indicating that geographically dispersed OK chapter leaders hold conference calls.[4] This section lists several key national OK leaders and other high-profile or well-known OK leaders. It is not a comprehensive list of all members of the board of directors or chapter leaders.

Stewart Rhodes (2009-present): Rhodes is the founder and national leader of Oath Keepers. According to the group’s bylaws, Rhodes is president of OK for life unless he chooses to resign or is found incompetent.[5] Born in 1966, Rhodes enlisted in the U.S. Army after high school and served as a paratrooper.[6] Honorably discharged due to a parachuting accident, he graduated from the University of Nevada, Los Angeles in 1998 and began working for Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas).[7] After graduating from Yale Law School in 2004, he clerked for a justice on the Arizona Supreme Court and began practicing law in Nevada.[8] He later moved to Montana and was disbarred in 2015 after being accused of professional misconduct by an Arizona judge.[9] In 2018, Rhodes faced allegations of domestic abuse against his wife and children.[10] He rejected the claims, and his wife’s petition for a restraining order was denied.[11] Prosecutors alleged that he oversaw Oath Keepers’ participation in the storming of the U.S. Capitol in January 2021.[12] As of March 2021, Rhodes was the subject of two federal investigations, one focused on his possible role in the January 6 insurrection and the other pertaining to an unrelated issue.[13]

Greg McWhirter (Unknown-present): As of March 2021, McWhirter worked in the sheriff’s department in Ravalli County, Montana, and served as the vice president of Oath Keepers.[14] A member of OK’s national board of directors, he previously served as the group’s chief information officer in Indiana.[15] McWhirter owned the Western Montana Tactical Training Center, a gun shop and shooting range, that offered training to law enforcement and gave discounts on ammunition to OK members.[16] After the storming of the Capitol in January 2021, McWhirter announced his intention of selling the shop.[17]

John D. Shirley (2009-2020): A police officer since 1994, Shirley served in state and national leadership roles with Oath Keepers for over 10 years, according to an op-ed he wrote in February 2020 defending the group.[18] Shirley held roles including leader of the Texas OK chapter and member of the national OK board of directors.[19] As of March 2021 he was the constable for Precinct 2 of Hood County, Texas, an elected law enforcement position similar to that of a sheriff.[20] In late November 2020, he announced his intention to retire from Oath Keepers.[21]

Jessica Watkins (2019-2021): Watkins is the founder of an OK-aligned militia in Ohio known as the Ohio State Regular Militia (OSRM). She served as the leader of a contingent of Oath Keepers that participated in the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Watkins was arrested for her involvement in the riots and as of February 2021, she had been charged with conspiracy, obstruction of an official proceeding, destruction of government property, and trespassing.[22] In a bid to be released from jail pending trial, she publicly came out as transgender in February 2021, claiming that her gender identity put her safety at risk in jail.[23] In a February 2021 court appearance, she renounced Oath Keepers and announced her intention to disband OSRM.[24] She was one of the highest-profile women, and perhaps the only transgender person, to hold a leadership role in a far-right militant organization.

Doug Smith (Unknown to 2021): Smith led the North Carolina Oath Keepers until February 2021 when he announced that his chapter would split with the national organization. The split was driven by the North Carolina chapter’s opposition to OK’s involvement in the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.[25]


[1] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 29.

[2] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 29.

[3] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 29.

[4] Owen, Tess. “Oath Keepers Talked About Protecting the Capitol—Before They Stormed It.” VICE News. February 3, 2021. https://www.vice.com/en/article/epd8x4/oath-keepers-talked-about-protect...

[5] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 30.

[6] “Elmer Stewart Rhodes.” Southern Poverty Law Center. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/elmer...

[7] “Elmer Stewart Rhodes.” Southern Poverty Law Center. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/elmer...

[8] “Elmer Stewart Rhodes.” Southern Poverty Law Center. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/elmer...

[9] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 30.

[10] Lenz, Ryan. “Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes' wife alleges widespread abuse in petition for restraining order.” Southern Poverty Law Center. March 15, 2018. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2018/03/15/oath-keepers-founder-stew...

[11] Weill, Kelly. “Oath Keepers Got Ammo Discount for Post-Election ‘Chaos.’” The Daily Beast. January 29, 2021. https://www.thedailybeast.com/oath-keepers-got-ammo-discount-for-post-el...

[12] Feuer, Alan, Adam Goldman, and Katie Benner. “Oath Keepers Founder Is Said to Be Investigated in Capitol Riot.” The New York Times. March 10, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/10/us/politics
/stewart-rhodes-oath-keepers-capitol-riot.html

[13] Feuer, Alan, Adam Goldman, and Katie Benner. “Oath Keepers Founder Is Said to Be Investigated in Capitol Riot.” The New York Times. March 10, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/10/us/politics
/stewart-rhodes-oath-keepers-capitol-riot.html

[14] Sherrill, Thomas. “Local, national Oath Keepers members working to expand in Columbus County.” The News Reporter. September 15, 2020. https://nrcolumbus.com/local-national-oath-keepers-members-working-to-ex...

[15] Pogreba, Don. “The Danger of Militia-Connected Law Enforcement is Real Here in Montana.” The Montana Post. July 2, 2019. https://themontanapost.com/blog/2019/07/02/the-danger-of-militia-connect...

[16] Weill, Kelly. “Oath Keepers Got Ammo Discount for Post-Election ‘Chaos.’” The Daily Beast. January 29, 2021. https://www.thedailybeast.com/oath-keepers-got-ammo-discount-for-post-el...

[17] Weill, Kelly. “Oath Keepers Got Ammo Discount for Post-Election ‘Chaos.’” The Daily Beast. January 29, 2021. https://www.thedailybeast.com/oath-keepers-got-ammo-discount-for-post-el...

[18] Shirley, John. “Oath Keepers: An Insider’s Perspective.” Hood County Today. February 25, 2020. https://hoodcountytoday.com/oath-keepers-an-insiders-perspective/

[19] O’Rourke, Ciara. “How Oath Keepers Are Quietly Infiltrating Local Government.” POLITICO. December 9, 2020. https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/12/09/oath-keepers-far-right...

[20] “About Your Constable: Constable John D. Shirley.” Hood County, Texas. https://www.co.hood.tx.us/627/About-Your-Constable

[21] O’Rourke, Ciara. “How Oath Keepers Are Quietly Infiltrating Local Government.” POLITICO. December 9, 2020. https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/12/09/oath-keepers-far-right...

[22] “United States of America v. Thomas Edward Caldwell, Donovan Ray Crowl, Jessica Watkins, Sandra Parker, Bennie Parker, Graydon Young, Laura Steele, Kelly Meggs, and Connie Meggs.” United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Indictment filed February 19, 2021. https://int.nyt.com/data/documenttools/oath-keepers-superseding-indictme...

[23] Garrison, Jessica, Ken Bensinger, and Zoe Tillman. “Jessica Watkins, An Oath Keeper Charged In The DC Attack, Fears Harsh Treatment Because She Is Transgender.” Buzzfeed News. February 21, 2021. https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/jessicagarrison/oath-keeper-transge...

[24] Garrison, Jessica, Ken Bensinger, and Zoe Tillman. “Prosecutors Suggested That The Oath Keepers Had A Special Force Ready With Weapons During The Capitol Insurrection.” Buzzfeed News. February 26, 2021. https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/jessicagarrison/oath-keepers-armed-...

[25] Sherrill, Thomas. “Local Oath Keepers split from national following Jan. 6.” The News Reporter. February 9, 2021. https://nrcolumbus.com/local-oath-keepers-split-from-national-following-...

Name Changes

There are no recorded name changes for this group.

Size Estimates

  • 2014-15: 5,000 members (Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center)[1]

 

In 2014, Rhodes claimed that Oath Keepers boasted 35,000 dues-paying members, but independent estimates doubt this figure.[2] In 2020, reporters at the Atlantic obtained a copy of an internal Oath Keepers membership list with about 25,000 names.[3] It is unclear how many members are active in the group or participate in violent acts. Some members, such as a retired Texas state trooper interviewed by POLITICO, have suggested that they joined the group as a networking opportunity and are not active.[4]


[1] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020.

[2] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020.

[3] Giglio, Mike. “A Pro-Trump Militant Group Has Recruited Thousands of Police, Soldiers, and Veterans.” The Atlantic. November 2020. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/11/right-wing-militias...

[4] O’Rourke, Ciara. “How Oath Keepers Are Quietly Infiltrating Local Government.” POLITICO. December 9, 2020. https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/12/09/oath-keepers-far-right...

Resources

Military and First Responder Experience

Oath Keepers targets current and former military and law enforcement personnel for recruitment. The organization has two tiers of members: “full members” and “associate members.” Only retired and active-duty military personnel and first responders are entitled to full membership; others must join as associate members. Other than the difference in title, however, both full and associate members seem to enjoy the same privileges.[1]

According to information contained in a membership database from 2015, about two-thirds of the organization’s members came from a military or law enforcement background, and about 10 percent of members were active-duty.[2] Of nine suspected Oath Keepers charged with conspiracy for their alleged involvement in the January 6, 2021 storming of the U.S. Capitol, four were military veterans.[3] This included Thomas E. Caldwell, a retired Navy lieutenant commander.[4] The nine also included two members of an OK affiliate known as the Ohio State Regular Militia: Jessica Watkins, an Army veteran who deployed to Afghanistan,[5] and Donovan Crowl, who enlisted in the Marines.[6] According to a confidential source within Oath Keepers interviewed by CNN, the group has members working in federal law enforcement.[7] Their names are not included in the organization’s official membership list in order to give them plausible deniability.[8]

Fundraising

Oath Keepers has raised money through charitable fundraising programs. For example, the group’s Indiana chapter reportedly enrolled in Kroger’s Community Rewards Program, an initiative in which customers of the supermarket chain can direct donations to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. On its website, Oath Keepers encouraged the public to donate to the program as a way to support the organization. On January 19, 2021, Kroger announce that it would discontinue Oath Keepers’ participation effective immediately.[9] Indiana Oath Keepers also participated in AmazonSmile, a program that allows Amazon.com customers to donate 0.5 percent of purchases to a charity of their choice.[10] Amazon banned Oath Keepers after the group’s use of AmazonSmile became widely known in the wake of the January 6, 2021 assault on the U.S. Capitol.[11] It is unclear whether other chapters of Oath Keepers or the national leadership has engaged in similar fundraising drives.


[1] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 31.

[2] Giglio, Mike. “A Pro-Trump Militant Group Has Recruited Thousands of Police, Soldiers, and Veterans.” The Atlantic. November 2020. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/11/right-wing-militias...

[3] Valentino-DeVries, Jennifer, Denise Lu, Eleanor Lutz, and Alex Leeds Matthews. “A Small Group of Militants’ Outsize Role in the Capitol Attack.” The New York Times. February 21, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/02/21/us/capitol-riot-attack-mi...

[4] Hsu, Spencer S., Rachel Weiner, and Tom Jackman. “Self-styled militia members in three states began planning in November for recruits, weapons ahead of Capitol breach, U.S. alleges.” The Washington Post. January 27, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/self-styled-militia-me...

[5] Garrison, Jessica and Ken Bensinger. “Meet The Woman Facing Some Of The Most Serious Capitol Riot Charges.” Buzzfeed. January 27, 2021. https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/jessicagarrison/conspiracy-charge-o...

[6] Farrow, Ronan. “A Former Marine Stormed the Capitol as Part of a Far-Right Militia.” The New Yorker. January 14, 2021. https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/a-former-marine-stormed-the-cap...

[7] Simon, Mallory, Sara Sidner, and Anna-Maja Rappard. “Some of his followers are being sought by the FBI. It's not stopping the leader of the Oath Keepers.” CNN. February 15, 2021. https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/15/politics/capitol-riot-oath-keepers-stewar...

[8] Simon, Mallory, Sara Sidner, and Anna-Maja Rappard. “Some of his followers are being sought by the FBI. It's not stopping the leader of the Oath Keepers.” CNN. February 15, 2021. https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/15/politics/capitol-riot-oath-keepers-stewar...

[9] Swilley, Kristen. “Kroger pulls militia group Oath Keepers from Community Rewards donation program.” WCPO. January 19, 2021. https://www.wcpo.com/news/local-news/kroger-pulls-militia-group-oath-kee...

[10] Ongweso, Edward, Jr. “Amazon Is Helping to Fund a Militia That Stormed the Capitol.” VICE News. January 20, 2021. https://www.vice.com/en/article/g5bmg4/amazon-is-helping-to-fund-a-milit...

[11] Peters, Jay. “Amazon bans Oath Keepers and Three Percenters groups from charitable shopping program.” The Verge. January 25, 2021. https://www.theverge.com/2021/1/25/22248640/amazon-amazonsmile-oath-keep...

Geographic Locations

Disclaimer: This is a partial list of where the militant organization has bases and where it operates. This does not include information on where the group conducts major attacks or has external influences.

Oath Keepers is a national organization that operates across the United States. OK claims to have chapters in all 50 U.S. states.[1] This claim has not been independently verified, but it is clear that OK is active in multiple areas around the country. Though OK is nationwide, the organization has historically had a greater presence in the western United States. Rhodes is based in Montana and founded the group there in 2009.[2] The national Oath Keepers is officially registered as a nonprofit in Nevada using the address of a Las Vegas law firm.[3] OK rose to prominence by participating in armed standoffs with federal agents in the West, including Oregon and Nevada, along with other activists and militants belonging to the militia/patriot movement. In several Western states, including Arizona, Idaho, and Texas, members of OK have won election to public office while openly affiliated with the organization.[4] This may suggest a heavier Oath Keepers presence in these areas and a degree of public support. Oath Keepers is not limited to the West, however. Other notable Oath Keepers chapters include the Indiana chapter, which has caught attention for its aggressive fundraising via charitable giving drives;[5] the New Jersey chapter, which was involved in congressional races in 2016 and 2020;[6] and the North Carolina chapter, which split from the national organization after the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021.[7] For more information on OK’s role in the assault on the Capitol and the North Carolina Oath Keepers’ decision to leave, please see the Narrative Summary and Relationships with Other Groups sections of this profile.


[1] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 29.

[2] Beck, Madelyn. “The Oath Keepers: A Look At The Anti-Government Group Born In The Mountain West.” Boise State Public Radio. February 1, 2021. https://www.boisestatepublicradio.org/post/oath-keepers-look-anti-govern...

[3] East, Andy. “A local connection: Indiana Oath Keepers confirms group in Bartholomew County.” The Columbus Republic. January 31, 2021. http://www.therepublic.com/2021/01/31/a-local-connection-indiana-oath-ke...

[4] “‘Oath keeper’ running for House seat.” Inmaricopa.com. July 30, 2014. http://www.inmaricopa.com/mark-finchem-arizona-house-candidate/.  Aleshire, Peter. “Senate candidate claims membership in controversial militia.” Payson Roundup. October 27, 2020. https://www.paysonroundup.com/elections_2018/senate-candidate-claims-mem.... “Coming to a Town Near You: Taxpayer-Funded Extremism.” Southern Poverty Law Center. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2020/11/06
/coming-town-near-you-taxpayer-funded-extremism. “Representative Chad Christensen (R).” Idaho State Legislature. https://legislature.idaho.gov/legislators/membership/2019/id5369/. O’Rourke, Ciara. “How Oath Keepers Are Quietly Infiltrating Local Government.” POLITICO. December 9, 2020. https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/12/09/oath-keepers-far-right...

[5] Swilley, Kristen. “Kroger pulls militia group Oath Keepers from Community Rewards donation program.” WCPO. January 19, 2021. https://www.wcpo.com/news/local-news/kroger-pulls-militia-group-oath-kee.... Ongweso, Edward, Jr. “Amazon Is Helping to Fund a Militia That Stormed the Capitol.” VICE News. January 20, 2021. https://www.vice.com
/en/article/g5bmg4/amazon-is-helping-to-fund-a-militia-that-stormed-the-capital

[6] Green, Joshua. “Republican Chairman of Wall Street Committee Held Fundraiser With Official From ‘Domestic Terrorist’ Group.” Bloomberg. October 6, 2016. https://www.bloomberg.com
/news/articles/2016-10-06/scott-garrett-fundraiser-terror-group. Biryukov, Nikita. “Pallotta doubles down on support for NJ-based domestic terror group in debate vs. Gottheimer.” New Jersey Globe. October 25, 2020. https://newjerseyglobe.com/congress/pallotta-doubles-down-on-support-for...

[7] Sherrill, Thomas. “Local Oath Keepers split from national following Jan. 6.” The News Reporter. February 9, 2021. https://nrcolumbus.com/local-oath-keepers-split-from-national-following-...

Strategy

Ideology, Aims, Political Activities, Targets and Tactics

    Ideology and Goals
  • Ideology and Goals
  • Political Activities
  • Targets and Tactics

Ideology and Goals

Oath Keepers’ ideology aligns with the anti-government patriot/militia movement, a strain of far-right extremism that fears collaboration between the federal government and global elites will threaten the American way of life. Known as the New World Order, this cabal of elites is supposedly bent on dismantling the rights of U.S. citizens, most notably the Second Amendment right to bear firearms.[1] After the government declares martial law with the support of the United Nations and foreign troops, U.S. citizens’ guns will be confiscated, those who resist will be interned in concentration camps, and the country will be annexed into the New World Order socialist world government.[2] New World Order conspiracies are at the front of OK’s ideology. For example, in early 2021, Rhodes began promoting a similar conspiracy theory originated by Alex Jones. The theory posits that a Chinese-led New World Order, known as the Chicom Globalists, is plotting against the United States with the assistance of Joe Biden.[3] OK has also accused figures including Oprah Winfrey, Meryl Streep, and George Soros of being malignant “globalists.”[4]

According to Oath Keepers, the group’s primary mission is to “prevent the destruction of American liberty by preventing a full-blown totalitarian dictatorship from coming to power.”[5] An article published by Rhodes in S.W.A.T. magazine in 2008 laid out an apocalyptic vision of the future and foreshadowed OK’s ideology. Imagining a world in which Hillary Clinton were elected president, he predicted that “Herr Hitlery” would declare a national emergency and use it as a pretext to seize firearms, ban the patriot/militia movement and condemn its members to military detention, and leverage the powers of the federal government to become a dictator.[6] This article reportedly catapulted Rhodes to greater recognition in the American far right. Rhodes parlayed this attention into speaking slots at right-wing conferences during the rise of the Tea Party backlash to Barack Obama’s presidency.[7]

OK sees its role as safeguarding Americans from an overzealous federal government that fails to respect basic American freedoms. Invoking language from the Declaration of Independence in its public statements, OK depicts itself as the guardian of Americans’ natural and unalienable rights. These “inalienable, natural rights,” Rhodes has stated, “are ours by virtue of ‘nature and nature’s God.’”[8] Rather than being granted by the government, OK conceives of natural rights independently from government. Rhodes has stated publicly that “rights come first, then government is created to protect them, not the other way around.”[9] OK considers the federal government a threat to the free exercise of natural rights guaranteed under OK’s interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. For example, OK has publicly stated that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) “cares not one whit about your or my unalienable rights or our Constitutional protection as American citizens.” The group has also accused ATF of being “hell-bent on tormenting” patriots.[10]

The name “Oath Keepers” refers to the oath taken by members of the military and law enforcement to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”[11] OK prioritizes the recruitment of the military and law enforcement members, who, by virtue of their positions, take this oath. OK’s driving motivation is to uphold this oath in the face of supposed threats from the federal government and New World Order globalists. OK seeks to persuade members of the military and law enforcement to adopt OK’s interpretation of the Constitution, to the extent of disobeying orders given by commanders or other government officials.[12] As such, OK’s foundational text is called the “Declaration of Orders We Will Not Obey.”  Rhodes articulated the Declaration during OK’s founding ceremony on April 19, 2009.[13] It consists of a list of 10 hypothetical orders that, if given by the federal government, members of the group pledge to resist as unconstitutional. The orders generally correspond with tenets of the New World Order conspiracy theory popular with the patriot/militia movement and the fears raised by Rhodes in his 2008 magazine article.

All 10 orders from Rhodes’s “Declaration of Orders We Will Not Obey” are reproduced below:

  1. We will NOT obey any order to disarm the American people.
  2. We will NOT obey any order to conduct warrantless searches of the American people, their homes, vehicles, papers, or effects – such as warrantless house-to house searches for weapons or persons.
  3. We will NOT obey any order to detain American citizens as “unlawful enemy combatants” or to subject them to trial by military tribunal.
  4. We will NOT obey orders to impose martial law or a “state of emergency” on a state, or to enter with force into a state, without the express consent and invitation of that state’s legislature and governor.
  5. We will NOT obey orders to invade and subjugate any state that asserts its sovereignty and declares the national government to be in violation of the compact by which that state entered the Union.
  6. We will NOT obey any order to blockade American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps.
  7. We will NOT obey any order to force American citizens into any form of detention camps under any pretext.
  8. We will NOT obey orders to assist or support the use of any foreign troops on U.S. soil against the American people to “keep the peace” or to “maintain control” during any emergency, or under any other pretext. We will consider such use of foreign troops against our people to be an invasion and an act of war.
  9. We will NOT obey any orders to confiscate the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies, under any emergency pretext whatsoever.
  10. We will NOT obey any orders which infringe on the right of the people to free speech, to peacefully assemble, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances.[14]

 

In addition to its roots in New World Order conspiracy theories, the Declaration also references early American history. The text opens with a quote from a speech George Washington gave to his troops: “The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves.”[15] Rhodes then declares that “such a time is near at hand again,”[16] drawing a parallel between his group’s opposition to the U.S. federal government and the American colonists’ struggle against Great Britain. Of the 10 “Orders We Will Not Obey,” seven make comparisons between the current political environment and colonial Britain’s abuses, including issues such as seizure of arms, warrantless searches, and confiscation of property.[17]

Rhodes’ selection of a date and location for the founding ceremony of Oath Keepers also makes allusions to early American history. He chose Lexington, Massachusetts, site of the outbreak of the American Revolution, and April 19, 2009, the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord. Over the years since OK’s founding, Rhodes has not strayed from this messaging. In a call to resist the incoming Biden administration in January 2021, Rhodes urged OK members to “prepare to walk the same path as the Founding Fathers.”[18] The repeated historical references position Oath Keepers as descendants of the 18th-century American patriots and the federal government as a modern-day colonial Britain. Given many U.S. citizens’ belief that the American Revolution was justified, OK’s purposeful association with this time period is a strategic means to gain greater public legitimacy.[19]

Around 2016-2017, OK’s ideology began to shift away from its obsession with the federal government and adopted a new focus on the anti-fascist movement known as antifa. With his election to the presidence, Donald Trump promised to fight the “deep state” loathed by the antigovernment groups. After Trump’s arrival in the White House, a longtime enemy of the patriot/militia movement – the leader of the federal government – suddenly became an ally, according to right-wing extremism expert J.J. MacNab.[20] New World Order conspiracy theories were no longer as potent without a traditional president occupying the White House. As a result, the movement was thrust into confusion.[21] It soon had a new nemesis, however. Once antifa began targeting Trump and Trump supporters, patriot/militia extremist groups coalesced around raising antifa as their primary adversary.[22]

After Trump’s election, OK supported his administration.[23] With Trump in the White House, the group adopted a new focus on antifa, pivoting away from its traditional adversary, the U.S. government.[24] Maintaining a focus on conspiracy theories in the New World Order tradition, OK dropped its fear of the federal government collaborating with overseas enemies, instead emphasizing the dangers of the deep state, globalists, and leftist groups.[25] This new stance led Rhodes to adopt positions at odds with OK’s previous posture, such as a call for Trump to impose martial law after Biden’s presidential election victory.[26] As articulated above, martial law is the fourth in the list of “Orders We Will Not Obey.” Bitterly opposed to the rise of the antifa movement and Biden’s presidency, OK regards the Biden administration as illegitimate and has advanced the idea that a civil war is imminent and/or inevitable in the United States.[27]

Though OK is principally an anti-government extremist group, it has also published some nativist content, including screeds against undocumented immigrants and Islam.[28] For example, in 2016, OK officially endorsed Matt Bracken’s Islamophobic essay “Tet Take Two: Islam’s 2016 European Offensive,” which calls Islam “a ringworm infection.”[29] As a group, OK itself is not organized around white supremacist ideas, however. Rhodes has rejected white supremacism, saying in April 2017 that “I dislike the neo-Nazis more than Anti-fa, since they try to worm their way in and by doing so, they harm the cause of liberty far more than the radical leftists could ever do.”[30] In 2014, Rhodes said that “I’m a quarter Mexican, so it’s kind of hard for me to be a white supremacist” and noted that Oath Keepers has Black members.[31] OK has prominently displayed images of members of color on its website, but photos from its events have suggested that most members are white.[32] Rhodes has also stated that OK condemns anti-Semitism.[33] When OK decided to patrol Ferguson, Missouri during unrest after the death of Michael Brown, Rhodes insisted that the group’s intervention was not racially motivated and pointed to the fact that OK protected businesses owned by residents of color.[34] However, in the name of “free speech,” OK and other patriot/militia organizations have also provided security to groups and individuals belonging to the alt-right movement that espouse white supremacist views.[35] Notably, OK also rejected a chapter leader’s suggestion to organize a march in support of Black people’s Second Amendment rights in 2015.[36]

In addition to avoiding association with white supremacism, leaders of Oath Keepers reject characterizations of their group and its ideology as extreme or anti-government. In 2020, John D. Shirley, a former Texas chapter leader and an elected constable in Texas, wrote a blog post defending the group. He described OK’s political stance as “nonpartisan” and described the group’s mission as “almost exclusively dedicated to teaching first responders and soldiers to respect their oaths, know what the Constitution says and how that knowledge applies to their jobs.”[37]


[1]  “The Oath Keepers.” Anti-Defamation League. 2021. https://www.adl.org/Backgrounders/OathKeepers

[2] “Oath Keepers.” Southern Poverty Law Center. N.d. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/oath-keepers

[3] Goldwasser, Rachel. “Well Before The Jan. 6 Insurrection, Oath Keepers Trafficked in Violence and Conspiracy Theories.” Southern Poverty Law Center. February 12, 2021. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2021/02/12/well-jan-6-insurrection-o...

[4] Goldwasser, Rachel. “Well Before The Jan. 6 Insurrection, Oath Keepers Trafficked in Violence and Conspiracy Theories.” Southern Poverty Law Center. February 12, 2021. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2021/02/12/well-jan-6-insurrection-o...

[5] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 29.

[6]  “Oath Keepers.” Southern Poverty Law Center. N.d. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/oath-keepers

[7] Garrison, Jessica, Ken Bensinger, and Salvador Hernandez. “Some Oath Keepers Say Its Founder Has Betrayed The Group’s Mission — And Them.” Buzzfeed News. March 4, 2021. https://www.buzzfeed
news.com/article/jessicagarrison/stewart-rhodes-oath-keepers-early-history-conflicts

[8] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 65.

[9] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 65.

[10] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 67.

[11] “Oath Keepers.” Southern Poverty Law Center. N.d. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/oath-keepers

[12] Goldwasser, Rachel. “Well Before The Jan. 6 Insurrection, Oath Keepers Trafficked in Violence and Conspiracy Theories.” Southern Poverty Law Center. February 12, 2021. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2021/02/12/well-jan-6-insurrection-o...

[13] “Elmer Stewart Rhodes.” Southern Poverty Law Center. N.d. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/elmer...

[14] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 142-148.

[15] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 142.

[16] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 142.

[17] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 142-148.

[18] Goldwasser, Rachel. “Well Before The Jan. 6 Insurrection, Oath Keepers Trafficked in Violence and Conspiracy Theories.” Southern Poverty Law Center. February 12, 2021. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2021/02/12/well-jan-6-insurrection-o...

[19] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 75-90.

[20] Michel, Casey. “How Militias Became the Private Police for White Supremacists.” POLITICO. August 17, 2017. https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/08/17/white-supremacists-mi...

[21] Michel, Casey. “How Militias Became the Private Police for White Supremacists.” POLITICO. August 17, 2017. https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/08/17/white-supremacists-mi...

[22] Pitcavage, Mark, interviewed by Dave Davies. “Armed Militias Face Off With The ‘Antifa’ In The New Landscape Of Political Protest.” Fresh Air. WBUR. August 23, 2017. https://www.wbur.org
/npr/545509627/armed-militias-face-off-with-the-antifa-in-the-new-landscape-of-political-protes

[23] Lederman, Josh. “The founder of a far-right militia once warned of federal tyranny. Then came Trump.” NBC News. February 2, 2021. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/founder-far-right-militia...

[24] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020.

[25] Lederman, Josh. “The founder of a far-right militia once warned of federal tyranny. Then came Trump.” NBC News. February 2, 2021. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/founder-far-right-militia...

[26] Stan, Adele M. “Oath Keepers’ Stewart Rhodes Calls for ‘Bloody War’ if Trump Doesn’t Invoke Insurrection Act.” Right Wing Watch. December 14, 2020. https://www.rightwingwatch.org/post/oath-keepers-stewart-rhodes-calls-fo...

[27] Simon, Mallory, Sara Sidner, and Anna-Maja Rappard. “Some of his followers are being sought by the FBI. It's not stopping the leader of the Oath Keepers.” CNN. February 15, 2021. https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/15/politics/capitol-riot-oath-keepers-stewar.... Goldwasser, Rachel. “Well Before The Jan. 6 Insurrection, Oath Keepers Trafficked in Violence and Conspiracy Theories.” Southern Poverty Law Center. February 12, 2021. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2021/02/12/well-jan-6-insurrection-o...

[28] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 34-35.

[29] “‘Alt-Right’ Declares Flame War On Oath Keepers.” Southern Poverty Law Center. June 15, 2017. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/06/15/alt-right-declares-flame-...

[30] Hawkins, Derek. “‘Boomer antifa’: White supremacists rip into paramilitary Oath Keepers for not being racist enough.” The Washington Post. June 16, 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com
/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/06/16/boomer-antifa-white-supremacists-rip-into-paramilitary-oath-keepers-for-not-being-racist-enough/

[31] Heffernan, Brian. “In Ferguson, Oath Keepers draw both suspicion and gratitude.” Al Jazeera America. December 14, 2014. http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/12/14/oath-keepers-fergusonpr...

[32] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 33-34.

[33] Balko, Randy. “An Interview With Stewart Rhodes.” Reason. February 7, 2011. https://reason.com/2011/02/07/an-interview-with-stewart-rhod/?print=

[34] Hay, Mark. “The ​Leader of Oath Keepers Says the Right-Wing Group Is in Ferguson to ‘Protect the Weak.’” Buzzfeed News. December 1, 2014. https://www.vice.com/en/article/av48bg/leader-of-oath-keepers-says-the-g...

[35] Michel, Casey. “How Militias Became the Private Police for White Supremacists.” POLITICO. August 17, 2017. https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/08/17/white-supremacists-mi...

[36] Feur, Alan. “The Oath Keeper Who Wants to Arm Black Lives Matter.” Rolling Stone. January 3, 2016. https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/the-oath-keeper-who-wa...

[37] Shirley, John. “Oath Keepers: An Insider’s Perspective.” Hood County Today. February 25, 2020. https://hoodcountytoday.com/oath-keepers-an-insiders-perspective/

Political Activities

Oath Keepers actively engages in electoral politics on the national, state, and local levels. Members participate in demonstrations, support the campaigns of certain politicians, and run as candidates for public office. Though Oath Keepers is officially nonpartisan, members most commonly support Republican politicians and run for office themselves as Republicans.[1] The national organization has encouraged members’ campaigns. For example, in February 2020, OK leader Stewart Rhodes planned to hold a rally in support of Oath Keepers-aligned candidates for public office in Granbury, Texas.[2] The event was later cancelled when the venue, a local golf club, declined to host the group.[3]

Presidential Elections

In 2016, OK mobilized in support of Donald Trump’s candidacy for the presidency. Though the national organization did not officially endorse his campaign, the group’s opposition to Hillary Clinton led many members to back Trump.[4] OK ultimately sent members to provide security to pro-Trump activists at rallies, and Rhodes himself was seen in the VIP section of a Trump rally wearing an Oath Keepers shirt.[5]

In both 2016 and 2020, Oath Keepers pledged to protect elections from fraud. However, critics characterized these activities as election intimidation and misinformation. In October 2016, Rhodes called on members of his group to engage in “incognito intelligence gathering and crime spotting” at the polls, reiterating then-candidate Donald Trump’s allegations of election fraud.[6] Believing that Hillary Clinton would attempt to steal the election, Rhodes held webinars for Oath Keepers members on conducting poll surveillance and responding to election-related civil unrest.[7] The Oath Keepers adopted similar tactics during the 2020 election. In an October 2020 interview with far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, Rhodes pledged that Oath Keepers would deploy undercover members, potentially with arms, to protect voters from alleged intimidation by the political left.[8] However, in neither the 2016 nor 2020 elections was OK seen to have a major public presence at the polls.

After Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election, Oath Keepers supported President Donald Trump’s claims of voter fraud. Despite filing dozens of lawsuits contesting the election results on the basis of fraud, Trump and his allies failed to make a compelling case in the courts. As of March 2021, these legal challenges have all been rejected, all the way up to the Supreme Court.[9] State election officials have found no evidence to support Trump’s allegations.[10] A week after Biden was declared the president-elect, Oath Keepers joined far-right groups including the Proud Boys and thousands of Trump supporters for the “Million MAGA March,” a demonstration in Washington, D.C. in support of the president on November 14, 2020.[11] At the march, Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes repeated unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud in an interview with The Independent. Rhodes also declared that Oath Keepers would not recognize Joe Biden as the legitimate president of the United States.[12]

On January 6, 2021, Oath Keepers joined Trump supporters and other far-right organizations in storming the U.S. Capitol in order to prevent Congress from certifying Biden’s victory in the electoral college.[13] The riots began as a protest in support of President Trump but soon turned violent and ultimately led to the death of one member of the Capitol Police and the wounding of 138 other officers belonging to the Capitol Police and the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police.[14] It is unknown whether members of Oath Keepers were responsible for these casualties. As of March 2021, 12 people affiliated with OK had been charged for their involvement in the assault on the Capitol.[15] Of the 12 defendants, nine were charged with conspiracy; prosecutors alleged that they planned in advance to storm the Capitol and block congressional certification of Joe Biden’s election.[16]

U.S. Congress

Oath Keepers chapters participated in U.S. congressional elections, both as candidates and as campaign operatives. For example, Oath Keepers member Wendy Rogers ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2018.[17] In November 2020, Rogers was elected to the Arizona State Senate.

In 2020, New Jersey Oath Keepers member Bill Hayden served as the campaign manager for Frank Pallotta, a Republican congressional candidate who ultimately lost to incumbent Josh Gottheimer.[18] Pallotta refused to denounce the Oath Keepers and welcomed the group’s support for his campaign. He called Oath Keepers members “good people” and rejected characterizations of the group as a domestic terrorist organization.[19] In 2016, Gottheimer’s predecessor, then-Rep. Scott Garrett, attended a campaign fundraiser organized by Edward Durfee, a local Republican activist and leader of the New Jersey Oath Keepers chapter. At the event, Garrett praised Durfee as an “unsung hero.”[20] After Durfee’s affiliation with Oath Keepers became publicly known, Garrett distanced himself from Durfee; the congressman’s campaign manager said that Garrett was unaware that Durfee was involved with Oath Keepers.[21] In early 2021, Durfee declared that he was running for a New Jersey state assembly seat with the support of a local chapter of the Republican Party.[22]

Oath Keepers has also sought to cultivate ties with members of Congress who are not formal members of the group. For example, in July 2017, Oath Keepers invited Congressman Clay Higgins (R-La.) to headline a rally in Washington, D.C.[23] Wearing a red shirt emblazoned with the words “We the People,” Rep. Higgins spoke for about 15 minutes about overreach by the federal government.[24] Oath Keepers maintains a page on its website dedicated to sharing the congressman’s public statements.[25] Higgins also has ties to the Three Percenters militant organization.[26] In Arizona, the leader of the Yavapai County Oath Keepers chapter claims that Congressman Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) attended one of the group’s events.[27]

State Legislatures

Members of Oath Keepers have sought election to state legislatures, most commonly in Western states, and as of March 2021, several were serving in public office. In Idaho, Heather Scott, a Republican state representative since 2015, has publicly pledged allegiance to Oath Keepers. She spoke at a June 2020 rally against COVID-19 public health measures at which Oath Keepers provided security.[28] Another Idaho state representative, Republican Chad Christensen, describes himself as a member of Oath Keepers in his official biography on the website of the Idaho legislature.[29]

In Arizona, Mark Finchem, a realtor and state representative, publicly identified himself as an Oath Keeper during his 2014 campaign. Finchem was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives as a Republican and, as of March 2021, continued to serve in this office.[30] Before his election, Rep. Finchem spread conspiracy theories about the Obama administration and promoted Oath Keepers’ Community Preparedness Teams (CPT) initiative.[31] For more information on this program, see the Targets and Tactics section of this profile. The biography of his campaign’s Twitter account urges people to join Oath Keepers.[32]

The highest-ranking state official known to be a member of Oath Keepers is Wendy Rogers. In November 2020, she won an Arizona State Senate seat as a Republican representing District 6 in central Arizona.[33] After a failed bid for Congress in 2018, Sen. Rogers publicly affiliated with Oath Keepers and boasted of her connections to the group in campaign literature.[34] A retired U.S. Air Force pilot and colonel, Sen. Rogers ran a campaign focused on protecting Arizona from the alleged threat of violence posed by the antifa movement and Hungarian-American billionaire and philanthropist George Soros. These supposed threats are common themes found in OK rhetoric utilized by the national leadership and lower-levels of the organization.[35]

Elected Local Law Enforcement Offices

Members of Oath Keepers have also run for elected local law enforcement offices across the country, including sheriff positions. Many in the organization believe that the sheriff is the supreme law enforcement authority in the United States – above federal agents – because the position is directly elected.[36] Oath Keepers members have sought to become sheriffs in order to promote their interpretation of the Constitution and resist federal power.[37] For example, in 2010, the first major U.S. election year after the group’s founding, about a dozen members ran for sheriff, most in Western states including California, Colorado, and Montana.[38] Internal Oath Keepers chats leaked in November 2020 revealed systematic efforts to organize sheriffs in support of the group’s beliefs. Oath Keepers’ private forum included an “Outreach to County Sheriff Guide” with tips on recruiting sheriffs to the cause and propaganda materials to share with sheriffs.[39] Oath Keepers has worked closely with the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), a flagship organization of sheriffs aligned with the patriot/militia movement, in its appeals to sheriffs.[40] In 2016, the New York chapter of Oath Keepers presented David Clarke Jr – sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin and a vocal critic of the Black Lives Matter movement – with a “leadership award.”[41] The total number of OK-affiliated sheriffs is unknown.

John D. Shirley, an elected constable of Hood County, Texas, is a high-profile law enforcement official affiliated with Oath Keepers. The constable role is similar to that of a sheriff and includes the power to serve warrants and subpoenas and make arrests. Shirley has been a member of OK for about as long as the group has been active and has served in OK leadership roles, including as Texas chapter president and as a member of the group’s national board of directors.[42] In late November 2020, he announced his decision to retire as an active member of Oath Keepers.[43]


[1] Shirley, John. “Oath Keepers: An Insider’s Perspective.” Hood County Today. February 25, 2020. https://hoodcountytoday.com/oath-keepers-an-insiders-perspective/

[2] “Anti-government group to meet in Granbury.” Hood County News. February 20, 2020. https://www.hcnews.com/mailchimp-morning-update-news/anti-government-gro...

[3] “Oath Keepers Meeting Cancelled.” Hood County News. February 21, 2020. https://www.hcnews.com/mailchimp-morning-update-news/oath-keepers-meetin...

[4] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 58.

[5] Giglio, Mike. “A Pro-Trump Militant Group Has Recruited Thousands of Police, Soldiers, and Veterans.” The Atlantic. November 2020. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/11/right-wing-militias...

[6] Sullivan, Kevin. “Militia group calls on members to patrol polls on Election Day.” The Washington Post. October 27, 2016. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/10/27/militia-gr...

[7] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 58.

[8] Greenspan, Rachel E. “Far-right armed group leader says militants will 'stand up and protect people on Election Day' in an interview with Alex Jones.” Insider. October 29, 2020. https://www.insider.com/far-right-militant-leader-election-day-alex-jone...

[9] Williams, Pete and Nicole Via y Rada. “Trump's election fight includes over 50 lawsuits. It's not going well.” NBC News. December 10, 2020. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/trump-s-election-fight-in.... “Supreme Court formally rejects Trump election challenge cases.” Associated Press via NBC News. February 22, 2021. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/supreme-court-formally-re.... Williams, Pete. “Supreme Court rejects final Trump election challenge.” NBC News. March 8, 2021. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/supreme-court/supreme-court-rejects-fin...

[10] Corasaniti, Nick, Reid J. Epstein, and Jim Rutenberg. “The Times Called Officials in Every State: No Evidence of Voter Fraud.” The New York Times. November 12, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com
/2020/11/10/us/politics/voting-fraud.html

[11] “Million MAGA March: Thousands of pro-Trump protesters rally in Washington DC.” BBC News. November 15, 2020. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-54945154

[12] Connolly, Griffin and Richard Hall. “America’s largest militia says it will refuse to recognise Biden as president and ‘resist’ his administration.” The Independent. November 15, 2020. https://www.independent
.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-election-2020/oath-keepers-militia-donald-trump-joe-biden-2020-election-b1723323.html

[13] Liu, Diana. “Who are these militia seen charging up the steps during the US Capitol siege?” France24. January 12, 2021. https://observers.france24.com/en/americas/20210112-us-militia-oath-keep...

[14] Schmidt, Michael S. and Luke Broadwater. “Officers’ Injuries, Including Concussions, Show Scope of Violence at Capitol Riot.” The New York Times. February 11, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/11/us/politics/capitol-riot-police-offic...

[15] Valentino-DeVries, Jennifer, Denise Lu, Eleanor Lutz, and Alex Leeds Matthews. “A Small Group of Militants’ Outsize Role in the Capitol Attack.” The New York Times. February 21, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/02/21/us/capitol-riot-attack-mi.... Weiner, Rachel, Shayna Jacobs, and Spencer S. Hsu. “Man charged in Capitol riot is linked to Oath Keepers, seen with Roger Stone on Jan. 6, prosecutors say.” The Washington Post. March 8, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/prosecutors-arrest-oat.... Hsu, Spencer S. and Aaron C. Davis. “Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes was in direct contact with rioters before and during Capitol breach, U.S. alleges.” The Washington Post. March 9, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/stewart-rhodes-oathkee...

[16] Feuer, Alan and Katie Benner. “More Oath Keeper Suspects Charged in Capitol Riot Plot.” The New York Times. February 19, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/19/us/politics/oath-keepers-capitol-riot...

[17] Aleshire, Peter. “Senate candidate claims membership in controversial militia.” Payson Roundup. October 27, 2020. https://www.paysonroundup.com/elections_2018/senate-candidate-claims-mem...

[18] Birukov, Nikita. “New Gottheimer ad hits Pallotta over Oath Keepers.” New Jersey Globe. October 29, 2020. https://newjerseyglobe.com/congress/new-gottheimer-ad-hits-pallotta-over...

[19] Biryukov, Nikita. “Pallotta doubles down on support for NJ-based domestic terror group in debate vs. Gottheimer.” New Jersey Globe. October 25, 2020. https://newjerseyglobe.com/congress/pallotta-doubles-down-on-support-for...

[20] Green, Joshua. “Republican Chairman of Wall Street Committee Held Fundraiser With Official From ‘Domestic Terrorist’ Group.” Bloomberg. October 6, 2016. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-10-06/scott-garrett-fundrai...

[21] Salant, Johnathan D. “Organizer of Garrett event has ties to militia extremist group.” NJ.com. January 16, 2019. https://www.nj.com/politics/2016/10/a_garrett_events_unsavory_connection...

[22] Katz, Matt. “An Oath Keeper Did Security For The Capitol Rally. Now, He’s A Republican Candidate for NJ Assembly.” Gothamist. April 9, 2021. https://gothamist.com/news/an-oath-keeper-did-security-for-the-capitol-r...

[23] “Coming to a Town Near You: Taxpayer-Funded Extremism.” Southern Poverty Law Center. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2020/11/06/coming-town-near-you-taxp...

[24] White, Lamar Jr. “Captain of the Militia.” Bayou Brief. August 13, 2018. https://www.bayoubrief.com
/2018/08/13/captain-of-the-militia/

[25] “Coming to a Town Near You: Taxpayer-Funded Extremism.” Southern Poverty Law Center. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2020/11/06/coming-town-near-you-taxp...

[26] White, Lamar Jr. “Captain of the Militia.” Bayou Brief. August 13, 2018. https://www.bayoubrief.com
/2018/08/13/captain-of-the-militia/

[27] Crenshaw, Zach. “Oath Keepers look to recruit in Arizona with alarmist 'Civil War' rhetoric.” ABC 15 News. February 18, 2021. https://www.abc15.com/news/local-news/oath-keepers-look-to-recruit-in-ar...

[28] “Coming to a Town Near You: Taxpayer-Funded Extremism.” Southern Poverty Law Center. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2020/11/06/coming-town-near-you-taxp...

[29] “Representative Chad Christensen (R).” Idaho State Legislature. https://legislature.idaho.gov
/legislators/membership/2019/id5369/

[30] “‘Oath keeper’ running for House seat.” Inmaricopa.com. July 30, 2014. http://www.inmaricopa.com/mark-finchem-arizona-house-candidate/

[31] Flaherty, Joseph. “From Charlottesville to Oath Keepers, Rep. Mark Finchem Is a Fringe Lawmaker.” Phoenix New Times. March 22, 2019. https://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/rep-mark-finchem-oathkeepers-charlo...

[32] Flaherty, Joseph. “From Charlottesville to Oath Keepers, Rep. Mark Finchem Is a Fringe Lawmaker.” Phoenix New Times. March 22, 2019. https://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/rep-mark-finchem-oathkeepers-charlo...

[33] “Results for the Arizona state House, Senate races in 2020 election.” 12 News. 3 November 2020. https://www.12news.com/article/news/politics/results-election-arizona-st...

[34] Aleshire, Peter. “Senate candidate claims membership in controversial militia.” Payson Roundup. October 27, 2020. https://www.paysonroundup.com/elections_2018/senate-candidate-claims-mem...

[35] Aleshire, Peter. “Senate candidate claims membership in controversial militia.” Payson Roundup. October 27, 2020. https://www.paysonroundup.com/elections_2018/senate-candidate-claims-mem...

[36] Gouras, Matt. “In Lincoln County and across the West: Oath Keepers want sheriff back as top cop.” Missoulian. June 1, 2010. https://missoulian.com/news/local/in-lincoln-county-and-across-the-west-...

[37] Gouras, Matt. “In Lincoln County and across the West: Oath Keepers want sheriff back as top cop.” Missoulian. June 1, 2010. https://missoulian.com/news/local/in-lincoln-county-and-across-the-west-...

[38] Gouras, Matt. “In Lincoln County and across the West: Oath Keepers want sheriff back as top cop.” Missoulian. June 1, 2010. https://missoulian.com/news/local/in-lincoln-county-and-across-the-west-...

[39] “‘It’s Time to Start Killing the News Media Live on Air’: Oath Keepers Private Chats Show Increased Desire for Post-Election Violence.” Unicorn Riot. November 16, 2020. https://unicornriot.ninja/2020/its-time-to-start-killing-the-news-media-...

[40] Cooper, Cloee, Ethan Fauré, and Olivia Lawrence-Weilmann. “Mapping Far-Right and Anti-Immigrant Movement Alignment with County Sheriffs.” Research Associates. September 14, 2020. https://www.politicalresearch.org/2020/09/14/mapping-far-right-and-anti-...

[41] “Wisconsin Sheriff David Clarke, Jr., Reported Headed to DHS, Has Ties to Extremist Groups.” Anti-Defamation League. May 18, 2017. https://www.adl.org/blog/wisconsin-sheriff-david-clarke-jr-reported-head...

[42] O’Rourke, Ciara. “How Oath Keepers Are Quietly Infiltrating Local Government.” POLITICO. December 9, 2020. https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/12/09/oath-keepers-far-right...

[43] O’Rourke, Ciara. “How Oath Keepers Are Quietly Infiltrating Local Government.” POLITICO. December 9, 2020. https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/12/09/oath-keepers-far-right...

Targets and Tactics

This section focuses on OK’s targets and tactics relating to the threat and use of violence. Other key Oath Keepers tactics include appeals to community support and involvement in politics. For a description of some of the tactics involved in Oath Keepers’ public-facing strategy, see the Community Relations section of this profile. For more information on Oath Keepers’ participation in electoral politics, see the Political Activities section. For targets of recruitment, see the Resources section.

Oath Keepers has not typically conducted attacks with human casualties. The group’s primary tactics include armed confrontations and security operations, which leverage the threat of violence to achieve political goals or express political messages. In security operations, OK militants deploy to certain locations with the goal of keeping communities safe from known or unknown adversaries. The choice of target and venue accords with the group’s political views.

Several of OK’s most well-known operations have targeted symbols of government power, particularly federal land use regulators, such as the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service. For example, in April 2015, OK militants traveled to Cliven Bundy’s ranch in Bunkerville, Nevada, to support other far-right activists in an armed standoff with Bureau of Land Management (BLM) agents. The agents were attempting to confiscate Bundy’s cattle per a court order over Bundy’s unpaid grazing fees for use of federal land.[1] The next year, OK militants patrolled the Sugar Pine Mine in Oregon at the request of the mine owners to prevent BLM agents from coming to shut down unauthorized mining activity.[2] In 2016, some members of Oath Keepers participated in an occupation of Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon in protest of the arson conviction of two men for burning brush on federal land. The OK national leadership condemned the occupation and organized an armed buffer force to keep the peace between the occupiers and the authorities.[3]

Beyond land use disputes with the federal government, other targets of OK operations include Black Lives Matter protesters and the anti-fascist (antifa) movement. In 2014 and 2015, OK militants deployed to Ferguson, Missouri, to stand armed guard and counter the unrest associated with demonstrations against police brutality.[4] In the summer of 2020, OK sent militants to serve as security for businesses in Louisville, Kentucky during protests advocating justice for Breonna Taylor, a Black paramedic shot by police in her apartment.[5] In January 2017, Rhodes announced “Operation Defend J20” to provide security for President Donald Trump’s inauguration. In coordination with the Three Percenters and Bikers for Trump, OK sought to protect the event from political enemies on the left, such as antifa groups, and the Islamic State (IS).[6] OK also organized members to provide security at Trump campaign rallies in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Dallas, Texas in October 2019.[7] Along with other militia organizations, OK has provided security to groups belonging to the alt-right movement, ostensibly to protect free speech from antifa protesters.[8]

OK has also been known to engage in organizing armed patrols across the United States. Framed as a public safety asset, OK’s Community Preparedness Teams, or CPT, program (initially “Civilization Preservation Teams”) acts as an armed neighborhood watch. Members pledge to provide security and emergency services to local communities after natural disasters, terrorist attacks, or other events.[9] CPTs have conducted paramilitary training on topics including weapons skills, patrolling techniques, and emergency relief.[10] OK has described CPTs as a step towards establishing a militia, hearkening back to the tradition of American colonial militias and alluding to the “well-regulated militia” mentioned in the Second Amendment. The CPTs aim to provide local security so that Americans will not need to rely on the U.S. government for their defense.[11] It is unknown how many CPTs have been established, and the last time there was evidence that the CPT program was active was 2016.[12] In 2018, OK announced the creation of an initiative similar to CPT, known as “Spartan Training Groups.”[13] As of 2021, it is unclear to what extent this program has been implemented.

As of March 2021, Oath Keepers’ most recent and highest profile operation was the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. OK’s participation in the insurrection does not fit the pattern of tactics used by the group in the past. Rather than providing security or participating in standoffs, OK militants actively participated in storming the Capitol. OK is believed to have played a major role. Groups of OK militants in tactical gear were seen roaming the Capitol complex and breaching security checkpoints.[14] Judging from a recording of an Oath Keeper leading the group’s charge on the Capitol, there may have been approximately 30-40 members of the group there.[15] In an indictment filed on February 19, 2021, prosecutors argued that nine individuals affiliated with Oath Keepers conspired to storm the Capitol and prevent electoral votes from being counted.[16] It remains to be seen whether OK will continue to utilize more offensive and violent tactics or revert to its previous tactics.


[1] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 46-47.

[2] Wiles, Tay. “Sugar Pine Mine, the other standoff.” High Country News. February 2, 2016. https://www.hcn.org/issues/48.2/showdown-at-sugar-pine-mine

[3] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 45-57.

[4] Fowler, Sarah. “Ferguson unrest: Who are the mysterious ‘Oath Keepers’?” BBC News. August 12, 2015. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-33867245

[5] Klemko, Robert. “Behind the armor: Men seek ‘purpose’ in protecting property despite charges of racism.” The Washington Post. October 5, 2020. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/behind-the-armor-men-seek-purpos...

[6] “Oath Keepers On Guard at Inauguration of President Donald Trump.” Southern Poverty Law Center. January 20, 2017. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/01/20/oath-keepers-guard-inaugu...

[7] “Militia-Style Group, ‘The Oath Keepers’, Seeks Volunteers To Protect Trump Supporters At Mpls. Rally.” CBS Minnesota. October 9, 2019. https://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2019/10/09/militia-style-group-the-oath-k.... Garcia, Nic. “Militia-style group, Oath Keepers, will be in Dallas for Trump rally.” The Dallas Morning News. October 11, 2019. https://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/2019/10/11/militia-style-group-...

[8] Michel, Casey. “How Militias Became the Private Police for White Supremacists.” POLITICO. August 17, 2017. https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/08/17/white-supremacists-mi...

[9] “The Oath Keepers.” Anti-Defamation League. 2021. https://www.adl.org/Backgrounders/OathKeepers. Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 44.

[10] “The Oath Keepers.” Anti-Defamation League. 2021. https://www.adl.org/Backgrounders/OathKeepers

[11] Lenz, Ryan and Mark Potok. “Seeds of Sedition.” Southern Poverty Law Center. August 3, 2016. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/intelligence-report/2016/seeds-s...

[12] Lenz, Ryan and Mark Potok. “Seeds of Sedition.” Southern Poverty Law Center. August 3, 2016. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/intelligence-report/2016/seeds-s...

[13] Neiwert, David. “Oath Keepers announce national ‘Spartan’ training program aimed at ‘violent left.’” Southern Poverty Law Center. August 23, 2018. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2018/08/23/oath-keepers-announce-nat...‘spartan’-training-program-aimed-‘violent-left’

[14] Liu, Diana. “Who are these militia seen charging up the steps during the US Capitol siege?” France24. January 12, 2021. https://observers.france24.com/en/americas/20210112-us-militia-oath-keep...

[15] Hsu, Spencer S., Rachel Weiner, and Tom Jackman. “Self-styled militia members in three states began planning in November for recruits, weapons ahead of Capitol breach, U.S. alleges.” The Washington Post. January 27, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/self-styled-militia-me...

[16] “United States of America v. Thomas Edward Caldwell, Donovan Ray Crowl, Jessica Watkins, Sandra Parker, Bennie Parker, Graydon Young, Laura Steele, Kelly Meggs, and Connie Meggs.” United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Indictment filed February 19, 2021. https://int.nyt.com/data/documenttools/oath-keepers-superseding-indictme...

cardinal red photo

Major Attacks

DisclaimerThese are some selected major attacks in the militant organization's history. It is not a comprehensive listing but captures some of the most famous attacks or turning points during the campaign.

Oath Keepers does not have an extensive history of violence resulting in human casualties. This does not mean that the group is nonviolent, however. Oath Keepers has often carried out operations that implicitly or explicitly threaten violence, such as participation in armed standoffs with federal agents and protesters. Most notably, the group participated in the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. OK is also known for providing armed security, such as during unrest associated with protests against police brutality. Details on these operations are not included here but can be found in the Narrative Summary and the Targets and Tactics sections.

April 2014: Members of Oath Keepers, including OK leader Stewart Rhodes, joined far-right activists from around the United States in an armed standoff with U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) agents in Bunkerville, Nevada, in support of rancher Cliven Bundy. The militants aimed to prevent BLM from confiscating Bundy’s cattle due to his refusal to pay grazing fees. This was OK’s first major operation (no casualties).[1]

April 2015: After being cited by U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for unauthorized mining activity at the Sugar Pine Mine, Rich Barclay and George Backes requested security support from Oath Keepers. Members from around the country came for a weekslong armed patrol of the site to defy BLM (no casualties).[2]

January 2016-February 2016: Unsanctioned by the Oath Keepers national leadership, some members (exact number unknown) participated in the occupation of Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon to protest the conviction of two men for arson for burning brush on federal land. The OK national leadership approved the establishment of an armed patrol to serve as a buffer between the occupiers and federal agents (1 killed, unknown wounded).[3]

January 6, 2021: Oath Keepers participated in the storming of the U.S. Capitol along with members of other far-right organizations, including the Three Percenters, Proud Boys, adherents of the QAnon conspiracy theory, and other supporters of then-U.S. President Donald Trump in an attempt to halt the certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election. The assault led to the deaths of one police officer and four protesters. One hundred thirty-eight police officers were injured, while the number of rioters injured is unknown (5 killed, at least 138 wounded).[4]


[1] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 46-47.

[2] Wiles, Tay. “Sugar Pine Mine, the other standoff.” High Country News. February 2, 2016. https://www.hcn.org/issues/48.2/showdown-at-sugar-pine-mine

[3] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 45-57.

[4] Liu, Diana. “Who are these militia seen charging up the steps during the US Capitol siege?” France24. January 12, 2021. https://observers.france24.com/en/americas/20210112-us-militia-oath-keep.... Schmidt, Michael S. and Luke Broadwater. “Officers’ Injuries, Including Concussions, Show Scope of Violence at Capitol Riot.” The New York Times. February 11, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/11/us/politics/capitol-riot-police-offic.... McEvoy, Jemima. “Woman Possibly ‘Crushed To Death’: These Are The Five People Who Died Amid Pro-Trump Riots.” Forbes. January 8, 2021. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jemimamcevoy/2021/01/08/woman-possibly-crus...

Interactions

Foreign Designations and Listings, Community Relations, Relations with Other Groups, State Sponsors and External Influences

    Designated/Listed
  • Designated/Listed
  • Community Relations
  • Relationships with Other Groups
  • State Sponsors and External Influences

Designated/Listed

There are no designations or listings for this group.

Community Relations

Oath Keepers actively appeals to the public for support and has taken steps to portray itself as a civil society organization with a positive community impact. For example, when the National Parks Service closed parks and memorials due to a federal government shutdown in October 2013, OK filmed Stewart Rhodes escorting a World War II veteran into the closed and barricaded World War II Memorial, highlighting the group’s support of the military.[1] In Oregon, the Josephine County Oath Keepers engaged in public service activities, including painting local houses, building a new playground, and assembling wheelchair ramps for neighbors in need.[2] A flagship OK initiative, Community Preparedness Teams (CPTs), encouraged OK members to join armed neighborhood watch groups to provide security and emergency services to local communities in response to public safety threats.[3] In 2017, OK organized to provide disaster relief to areas affected by hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.[4] OK has also sponsored NASCAR driver Jeffrey Earnhardt and displayed the OK logo on his car, purchased advertisements on billboards in the Washington, D.C. transit system and near military bases around the country, and sent care packages with OK materials to servicemembers.[5]

In addition to appeals to the general public and members of the military, Oath Keepers prioritizes positive relations with police departments in areas where OK chapters are active across the United States. For example, in an internal conference call on October 29, 2021, OK leaders shared best practices for building rapport with local police. During the call, Jessica Watkins, a leader of an OK affiliate in Ohio, shared an example of her militia’s efforts to establish a good relationship with law enforcement in her region.[6]


[1] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 45.

[2] Wiles, Tay. “Sugar Pine Mine, the other standoff.” High Country News. February 2, 2016. https://www.hcn.org/issues/48.2/showdown-at-sugar-pine-mine

[3] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 44.

[4] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 61.

[5] “The Oath Keepers.” Anti-Defamation League. 2021. https://www.adl.org/Backgrounders/OathKeepers

[6] Owen, Tess. “Oath Keepers Talked About Protecting the Capitol—Before They Stormed It.” VICE News. February 3, 2021. https://www.vice.com/en/article/epd8x4/oath-keepers-talked-about-protect...

Relationships with Other Groups

Allies

Oath Keepers has generally avoided developing close ties or alliances with other militant groups. For example, despite increased fundraising success due to the 2014 Bundy Ranch armed standoff, OK did not follow through on promises to financially support like-minded groups that also participated in the confrontation with federal agents. In response to the lack of support, local far-right groups in Nevada barred OK from coming back to the area.[1]

Three Percenters

The Three Percenters (III%ers) are an ideological ally of Oath Keepers. A far-right, anti-government extremist group founded in 2008, the III%ers are one of the largest umbrella groups in the militia movement and coalesce around the incorrect notion that only three percent of the population fought against the British in the American Revolution.[2] Unlike OK, the III%ers are not organized into a hierarchical organization. Its loosely connected subgroups do not follow a single national leadership.[3] III%ers share aspects of OK’s worldview, such as favorable self-comparison with the American Revolution and fear of a tyrannical federal government.[4]

OK has been linked to the III%ers since Rhodes launched the group. Three Percenters founder Mike Vanderboegh attended OK’s founding ceremony in Lexington, Massachusetts on April 19, 2009.[5] Rhodes has spoken publicly in support of the III%ers over the years and as early as September 2009, OK members were seen carrying a Three Percenters flag at an Oath Keepers demonstration in Washington, D.C.[6] Over the years, OK and the III%ers have participated alongside each other in several major operations. In April 2014, both groups came to the aid of rancher Cliven Bundy in his armed confrontation with the federal government.[7] The next year, a III%er group, Idaho Three Percent, joined OK in its standoff at the Sugar Pine Mine.[8] OK and the III%ers also banded together to organize armed patrols outside military recruiting centers around the United States after a shooting at such a center in Chattanooga, Tennessee in July 2015.[9]

In January 2017, OK coordinated with the III%ers and a group called Bikes for Trump in organizing an operation to provide security for President Trump’s inauguration in anticipation of threats from antifa and the Islamic State (IS).[10] OK and the III%ers’ collaborative relationship continued during the Trump presidency. For example, in June 2017, OK and the III%ers both participated in efforts to provide security for anti-Muslim rallies organized by ACT for America and participated in a right-wing free speech rally in the face of a heavy antifa presence in Portland.[11] Along with OK, Three Percenters played a major role in the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.[12] According to federal prosecutors, a Virginia man affiliated with Oath Keepers was in contact with the III%ers as he organized OK members to travel to Washington, D.C. to protest Joe Biden’s election victory.[13] It is unclear to what extent Oath Keepers may have collaborated with Three Percenters in planning the Capitol insurrection. The Three Percenters denied involvement in the attack on the Capitol in a statement posted to Twitter.[14] The extent and regularity of coordination between OK and the III%ers is unknown. Though the groups have an observed history of cooperation, it is difficult to assess their nonpublic relationship.

Affiliates

Ohio State Regular Militia

The Ohio State Regular Militia (OSRM) is an affiliate of Oath Keepers. The FBI has identified this group as “a dues-paying” subset of OK. Its founder and leader, Jessica Watkins, is a member of Oath Keepers.[15] Leaked audio showed Watkins participating in an October 2020 conference call of OK chapter leaders, which suggests that the OSRM may coordinate with the national Oath Keepers organization.[16]

Watkins launched the group in late 2019. She has claimed that the OSRM has patrolled 12 protests in Ohio and Kentucky since its founding.[17] According to her boyfriend and business partner (also a member of OK), Watkins founded her group with the goal of providing first aid and security after natural disasters.[18] Watkins is an Army veteran formerly deployed to Afghanistan and has previously worked as a firefighter and EMT.[19] Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes has credited Watkins with playing a major role in OK’s demonstrations against protestors for police reform in Louisville in summer 2020.[20] OSRM’s size is unknown, but the group is believed to be small. Photographic evidence analyzed by the Anti-Defamation League showed about “a handful of people.”[21]

Watkins allegedly led three members of her militia in traveling from Ohio to Washington D.C. in order to join the riots at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.[22] Footage of the storming of the Capitol shows Watkins making her way through the crowd in a line with other Oath Keepers.[23] She has later arrested and charged with conspiracy, among other crimes.[24] In a bid to be released from jail pending trial, Watkins announced in late February 2021 that she was disbanding OSRM.[25]

Splinter Groups

Liberty Watch of Josephine County

The Liberty Watch of Josephine County is an Oath Keepers splinter group that previously operated as the OK chapter for Josephine County, Oregon. The group has also gone by the name Citizen Patriots of Josephine County.[26] Joseph Rice, a former National Guardsman and Department of Defense contractor, founded the Josephine County Oath Keepers in 2012.[27] The group quickly became a fixture of the community by participating in public service, sponsoring a float in a local parade, and recruiting local elected officials for membership.[28] In April 2015, the chapter captured national attention when it led militants and anti-government activists from across the United States in an armed patrol of Oregon’s Sugar Pine Mine in defiance of Bureau of Land Management regulations.[29] In August 2016, Rice’s chapter split from the national Oath Keepers and reorganized as the Citizen Patriots of Josephine County.[30] By 2017, the group appeared to go by the name Liberty Watch of Josephine County.[31] Rice indicated that Rhodes’s leadership was the primary reason for leaving the national OK organization. In an interview with the Southern Poverty Law Center, Rice said that he had lost trust with the national organization’s vision for the future of OK and argued that Rhodes was more interested in self-promotion than the good of the organization.[32]

North Carolina Oath Keepers

In early February 2021, the North Carolina chapter of Oath Keepers split from the national organization. Doug Smith, the leader of the chapter, announced that the North Carolina Oath Keepers had voted unanimously to break away; he cited OK’s involvement in the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6 as the catalyst for the decision.[33] Though North Carolina Oath Keepers had attended President Trump’s rally on January 6, Smith said that the chapter did not participate in the Capitol riot.[34] Calling the insurrection “an ugly stain on our nation’s history,” Smith said that his group would return to its roots of supporting local law enforcement.[35] According to Smith, North Carolina Oath Keepers had begun distancing itself from national leadership as early as November 2020 due to dissatisfaction with OK’s response to the results of the 2020 presidential election.[36] As of March 2021, Smith had not announced a new name for his organization.

Unknown

Proud Boys

OK’s relationship with the Proud Boys (PB), an all-male Western chauvinist organization, is ambigious. At times, the two groups have taken the same side in far-right street demonstrations, but Rhodes has shied away from publicly associating with the Proud Boys. For example, in April 2017, OK, PB, and the Three Percenters (III%ers) all  provided security for protests held by ACT for America, the largest U.S. anti-Muslim organization, in 28 cities across the country.[37] In August of that year, Rhodes announced publically that OK would not participate in far-right events alongside “known white nationalists,” citing Kyle Chapman, leader of the PB affiliate Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights, as an example.[38] More recently, Oath Keepers and Proud Boys both participated in the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021. In a March 2021 court filing, federal prosecutors alleged that members of the two organizations were in contact in the weeks before January 6 and appear to have coordinated to some degree.[39] In Facebook messages, Kelly Meggs, leader of the Florida chapter of Oath Keepers, called the Proud Boys a “force multiplier” and said that he had “organized an alliance” with the Proud Boys and the Florida III%ers chapter.[40] However, the extent of cooperation between OK and PB before, during, and after the storming of the Capitol remains unknown. There is no evidence that the OK central leadership has organized any coordination with PB; instead, any connections between the two groups seem to have been forged by individual OK members or chapters acting of their own accord.


[1] Garrison, Jessica, Ken Bensinger, and Salvador Hernandez. “Some Oath Keepers Say Its Founder Has Betrayed The Group’s Mission — And Them.” Buzzfeed News. March 4, 2021. https://www.buzzfeed
news.com/article/jessicagarrison/stewart-rhodes-oath-keepers-early-history-conflicts

[2] Perliger, Arie. American Zealots: Inside Right-Wing Domestic Terrorism. Columbia University Press, New York: 2020.

[3] Hafner, Josh. “Three Percenters: What is the gun-toting group? And what do its supporters want?” USA Today. March 1, 2018. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/03/01/three-percente.... Desrochers, Daniel. “Who are the Three Percenters, the armed group Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear called out?” Lexington Herald-Leader. May 28, 2020. https://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article243023096.html. “Three Percenters.” Anti-Defamation League. N.d. https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounders/three-percenters

[4] “Three Percenters.” Anti-Defamation League. N.d. https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounders/three-percenters

[5] Giglio, Mike. “A Pro-Trump Militant Group Has Recruited Thousands of Police, Soldiers, and Veterans.” The Atlantic. November 2020. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/11/right-wing-militias...

[6] “Oath Keepers and Three %ers Part of Growing Anti-Government Movement.” Anti-Defamation League. N.d. https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounders/oath-keepers-and-three-ers-p...

[7] Ketcham, Christopher. “Capitol attackers have long threatened violence in rural American west.” The Guardian. January 9, 2021. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jan/09/us-capitol-attackers.... Childress, Sarah. “The Battle Over Bunkerville: The Bundys, the Federal Government and the New Militia Movement.” PBS Frontline. May 16, 2017. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/the-battle-over-bunkerville/

[8] Wiles, Tay. “Sugar Pine Mine, the other standoff.” High Country News. February 2, 2016. https://www.hcn.org/issues/48.2/showdown-at-sugar-pine-mine

[9] Jackson, Sam. Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020: 51.

[10] “Oath Keepers On Guard at Inauguration of President Donald Trump.” Southern Poverty Law Center. January 20, 2017. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/01/20/oath-keepers-guard-inaugu...

[11] Sottile, Leah. “Right-wing free speech rally draws massive counterprotests in Portland.” The Washington Post. June 4, 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/right-wing-free-speech-rally-dra...

[12] Valentino-DeVries, Jennifer, Denise Lu, Eleanor Lutz, and Alex Leeds Matthews. “A Small Group of Militants’ Outsize Role in the Capitol Attack.” The New York Times. February 21, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/02/21/us/capitol-riot-attack-mi...

[13] Weiner, Rachel and Spencer S. Hsu. “Former FBI official, a Navy veteran, is ‘key figure’ in Jan. 6 riot, prosecutors allege.” The Washington Post. February 11, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com
/local/legal-issues/thomas-caldwell-capitol-riot-detention/2021/02/11/a94bb3f2-6c92-11eb-9f80-3d7646ce1bc0_story.html

[14] Weiner, Rachel and Spencer S. Hsu. “Former FBI official, a Navy veteran, is ‘key figure’ in Jan. 6 riot, prosecutors allege.” The Washington Post. February 11, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com
/local/legal-issues/thomas-caldwell-capitol-riot-detention/2021/02/11/a94bb3f2-6c92-11eb-9f80-3d7646ce1bc0_story.html

[15] Sparling, Hannah K. and Kevin Grasha. “Ohio militias: Who are the Oath Keepers, Ohio State Regular Militia?” The Cincinnati Enquirer. January 22, 2021. https://www.cincinnati.com
/story/news/2021/01/21/ohio-militias-who-oath-keepers-ohio-state-regular-militia/4231869001/

[16] Owen, Tess. “Oath Keepers Talked About Protecting the Capitol—Before They Stormed It.” VICE News. February 3, 2021. https://www.vice.com/en/article/epd8x4/oath-keepers-talked-about-protect...

[17] Sparling, Hannah K. and Kevin Grasha. “Ohio militias: Who are the Oath Keepers, Ohio State Regular Militia?” The Cincinnati Enquirer. January 22, 2021. https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news
/2021/01/21/ohio-militias-who-oath-keepers-ohio-state-regular-militia/4231869001/

[18] Garrison, Jessica and Ken Bensinger. “Meet The Woman Facing Some Of The Most Serious Capitol Riot Charges.” Buzzfeed. January 27, 2021. https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/jessicagarrison/conspiracy-charge-o...

[19] Garrison, Jessica and Ken Bensinger. “Meet The Woman Facing Some Of The Most Serious Capitol Riot Charges.” Buzzfeed. January 27, 2021. https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/jessicagarrison/conspiracy-charge-o...

[20] Barrett, Devlin, Spencer S. Hsu, and Aaron C. Davis. “‘Be ready to fight’: FBI probe of U.S. Capitol riot finds evidence detailing coordination of an assault.” The Washington Post. January 30, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/fbi-capitol-riot-coordi...

[21] Sparling, Hannah K. and Kevin Grasha. “Ohio militias: Who are the Oath Keepers, Ohio State Regular Militia?” The Cincinnati Enquirer. January 22, 2021. https://www.cincinnati.com
/story/news/2021/01/21/ohio-militias-who-oath-keepers-ohio-state-regular-militia/4231869001/

[22] Zuckerman, Jake. “Ohio bartender and her ‘militia’ drove to D.C. to join the Capitol breach.” Ohio Capital Journal. January 13, 2021. https://ohiocapitaljournal.com/2021/01/13/ohio-bartender-and-her-militia...

[23] Zuckerman, Jake. “Ohio bartender and her ‘militia’ drove to D.C. to join the Capitol breach.” Ohio Capital Journal. January 13, 2021. https://ohiocapitaljournal.com/2021/01/13/ohio-bartender-and-her-militia...

[24] “United States of America v. Thomas Edward Caldwell, Donovan Ray Crowl, Jessica Watkins, Sandra Parker, Bennie Parker, Graydon Young, Laura Steele, Kelly Meggs, and Connie Meggs.” United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Indictment filed February 19, 2021. https://int.nyt.com/data/documenttools/oath-keepers-superseding-indictme...

[25] Garrison, Jessica, Ken Bensinger, and Zoe Tillman. “Prosecutors Suggested That The Oath Keepers Had A Special Force Ready With Weapons During The Capitol Insurrection.” Buzzfeed News. February 26, 2021. https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/jessicagarrison/oath-keepers-armed-...

[26] Sunshine, Spencer. “The Oath Keepers in Oregon.” Political Research Associates. October 3, 2016. https://www.politicalresearch.org/2016/10/03/the-oath-keepers-in-oregon

[27] Wiles, Tay. “Sugar Pine Mine, the other standoff.” High Country News. February 2, 2016. https://www.hcn.org/issues/48.2/showdown-at-sugar-pine-mine

[28] Wiles, Tay. “Sugar Pine Mine, the other standoff.” High Country News. February 2, 2016. https://www.hcn.org/issues/48.2/showdown-at-sugar-pine-mine

[29] Wiles, Tay. “Sugar Pine Mine, the other standoff.” High Country News. February 2, 2016. https://www.hcn.org/issues/48.2/showdown-at-sugar-pine-mine

[30] Sunshine, Spencer. “The Oath Keepers in Oregon.” Political Research Associates. October 3, 2016. https://www.politicalresearch.org/2016/10/03/the-oath-keepers-in-oregon

[31] Lenz, Ryan. “Leader of Josephine County Oath Keepers Breaks with Stewart Rhodes Over Leadership Style.” Southern Poverty Law Center. May 16, 2017. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/05/16
/leader-josephine-county-oath-keepers-breaks-stewart-rhodes-over-leadership-style

[32] Lenz, Ryan. “Leader of Josephine County Oath Keepers Breaks with Stewart Rhodes Over Leadership Style.” Southern Poverty Law Center. May 16, 2017. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/05/16
/leader-josephine-county-oath-keepers-breaks-stewart-rhodes-over-leadership-style

[33] Sherrill, Thomas. “Local Oath Keepers split from national following Jan. 6.” The News Reporter. February 9, 2021. https://nrcolumbus.com/local-oath-keepers-split-from-national-following-...

[34] Weaver, Jefferson. “State organization breaks ties with Oath Keepers.” Columbus County News. January 22, 2021. https://columbuscountynews.com/2021/01/state-organization-breaks-ties-wi...

[35] Sherrill, Thomas. “Local Oath Keepers split from national following Jan. 6.” The News Reporter. February 9, 2021. https://nrcolumbus.com/local-oath-keepers-split-from-national-following-...

[36] Sherrill, Thomas. “Local Oath Keepers split from national following Jan. 6.” The News Reporter. February 9, 2021. https://nrcolumbus.com/local-oath-keepers-split-from-national-following-...

[37] Morlin, Bill. “ACT’s Anti-Muslim Message Fertile Ground for Oath Keepers.” Southern Poverty Law Center. June 12, 2017. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/06/12/act’s-anti-muslim-message-fertile-ground-oath-keepers

[38] Rodriguez, Joe Fitzgerald. “Presidio businesses rack big financial losses from ‘Free Speech’ rally.” San Francisco Examiner. August 29, 2017. https://www.sfexaminer.com/news/presidio-businesses-rack-big-financial-l...

[39] United States District Court for the District of Columbia. United States of America v. Kelly Meggs. No. 1:21-cr-28 (APM). “Government’s Opposition to Defendan’ts Renewed Reqest for Pretrial Release.” Filed March 23, 2021. https://int.nyt.com/data/documenttools/oath-keepers-proud-boys/605aa93a48fbae1e/full.pdf. Feuer, Alan. “Justice Dept. Links Oath Keepers and Proud Boys Ahead of Capitol Riot.” The New York Times. April 13, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/24/us/politics/oath-keepers-proud-boys-c...

[40] Feuer, Alan. “Justice Dept. Links Oath Keepers and Proud Boys Ahead of Capitol Riot.” The New York Times. April 13, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/24/us/politics/oath-keepers-proud-boys-c...

State Sponsors and External Influences

There are no identifiable external influences for this group.

Maps

The project develops a series of interactive diagrams that “map” relationships among groups and show how those relationships change over time. The user can change map settings to display different features (e.g., leadership changes), adjust the time scale, and trace individual groups.