A new analysis on Wednesday from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Center on Extremism finds that the leaked membership list for the Oath Keepers includes hundreds of elected officials, law enforcement officers, members of the military and first responders.
The ADL’s interactive map shows that Illinois has 883 Oath Keepers members, including three elected officials, 21 law enforcement officers, two members of the military and ten first responders. Illinois also has the highest number of first responders (EMTs, firefighters and paramedics) on Oath Keepers membership rolls.
Jake Hyman, ADL associate director of communications, said that the three elected officials were Aaron D. Booker, Winnebago County Board member in Northern Illinois; Doug Lafary, the mayor of Lewistown in western Central Illinois; and Kenneth R. Briley, the sheriff of Grundy County, on the southwestern edge of the Chicago metropolitan area.
Hyman said that the ADL could not release the names of rank-and-file police, military and emergency personnel. However, the organization has been in contact with law enforcement agencies impacted and are working with them to address extremism in their ranks.
“The Oath Keepers are a virulently anti-government, violent extremist group, whose members have been arrested in connection with a wide range of criminal activities, including seditious conspiracy and other charges related to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, and including various firearms violations, conspiracy to impede federal workers, possession of explosives and threatening public officials,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. “To know that members of this group have permeated key aspects of civil society should serve as a wake-up call to people of all political persuasions that extremists hell-bent on destroying our democratic norms are making in-roads across the country.”
The Oath Keepers’ founder and leader Stewart Rhodes is currently on trial for sedition in relation to the Jan. 6 insurrection.
In September 2021, the non-profit journalist collective Distributed Denial of Secrets released the membership database for the Oath Keepers organization.
ADL’s analysis uses the leaked data to highlight the number of individuals who signed up for or supported the Oath Keepers in key areas: elected office, law enforcement, the military and emergency services – as well as in the general population.
According the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Oath Keepers were founded in 2009 as a reaction to the election of President Barrack Obama. They’re considered an anti-government militia.