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For Immediate Release

Contact

Karl Frisch, 202-580-5813

Press Release

Extremist Oath Keepers Leader's Arrest Follows History of Anti-Federal Lands Activism

Stuart Rhodes’ group made their name fighting public management of natural resources before attempting to overturn 2020 election.
WASHINGTON -
The leader of the Oath Keepers Stuart Rhodes was arrested today for seditious conspiracy over his role in the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Non-partisan government watchdog Accountable.US previously documented the group’s central role in the overlap between the anti-public lands and anti-democracy movements.  
 
“Rhodes’ challenges to the electoral process and to public ownership of land are two sides of the same coin,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US. “The crisis of conservation is a crisis of democracy.  We must hold accountable the special interests that threaten the public’s role in guiding the government’s decisions.” 
 
In 2014, Rhodes And The Oath Keepers Joined An Armed Standoff Between Patriot Groups And The BLM In Nevada On Behalf Of Cattle Rancher Cliven Bundy. “In 2014, Rhodes and the Oath Keepers joined an armed standoff between Patriot groups and federal authorities in Nevada on behalf of the cattle rancher Cliven Bundy. The next year, they led another standoff, at the Sugar Pine Mine in Josephine County, Oregon. Both times, what started as a dispute over land-use issues became a rallying cry on the militant right. Both times, the authorities backed down.” [The Atlantic, 09/30/20]
 
Armed Oath Keepers And Sagebrush Rebels Flocked To Josephine County Oregon To Participate In A Standoff To Protect The Unauthorized Sugar Pine Mine. “It was impossible to tell how many people were actually coming. The JoCo Oath Keepers’ former public information officer, Mary Emerick, told me at least 700 volunteers passed through over the course of several weeks. An Oath Keepers associate involved in the operation just shook his head and said quietly to me, ‘You don’t need to know that.’ […] Sugar Pine invigorated sagebrush insurgents West-wide. In Montana last year, after the federal government sued two miners for shirking regulations, several JoCo Oath Keepers became closely involved, traveling there or supporting the defendants from afar.” [High Country News, 02/02/16]
 
In 2014, Rhodes And The Oath Keepers Joined An Armed Standoff Between Patriot Groups And The BLM In Nevada On Behalf Of A Cattle Rancher, And Joined Another Standoff At An Oregon Mine Against The BLM In 2015. “The next year, they (Oath Keepers led another standoff, at the Sugar Pine Mine in Josephine County, Oregon. Both times, what started as a dispute over land-use issues became a rallying cry on the militant right. Both times, the authorities backed down.” [The Atlantic, 09/30/20]
 
The Oath Keepers Showed Up For The Armed Takeover Of The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge In Oregon In 2016. “More recently, Oath Keepers showed up for the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon by a militia group led by Ammon and Ryan Bundy earlier this year, though the Oath Keepers say they were there merely to ‘keep the peace’ between the occupiers and law enforcement, not to participate in the actual takeover of the wildlife refuge.” [Vox, 11/07/16]

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Accountable.US is a nonpartisan watchdog that exposes corruption in public life and holds government officials and corporate special interests accountable by bringing their influence and misconduct to light. In doing so, we make way for policies that advance the interests of all Americans, not just the rich and powerful. 

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