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Elkhart County Commissioner Brad Rogers on leaked Oath Keepers militia membership rolls

Elkhart County Commissioner Brad Rogers
Brad Rogers
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Elkhart County Commissioner Brad Rogers

The names of hundreds of U.S. law enforcement officers, elected officials and military members appear on the leaked membership rolls of the Oath Keepers, a far-right extremist group that’s accused of playing a key role in the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

According to a report released Wednesday by the Anti-Defamation League, out of the more than 38,000 names listed, at least 370 may currently work in law enforcement. More than 100 are current members of the military, and at least 80 were running for or served in public office as of August.

The report says 696 Hoosiers are on the leaked list — and 9 work in law enforcement, 3 are in the military, 5 are first responders and 6 are elected officials. That includes Elkhart County Commissioner Brad Rogers, who previously served as Elkhart County Sheriff from 2011 to 2018.

Appearing in the database doesn't prove that someone was or is still an active member of the Oath Keepers or shares its ideology — and Rogers says that applies to him.

In a statement posted on his website, he says he was a member of the Oath Keepers at one point but has not been part of the organization for eight years.

He says when he joined, the group focused on protecting individual rights granted by the U.S. Constitution, which he supports. In 2014, Rogers traveled to Nevada on a trip partially paid for by the Oath Keepers to show support for Cliven Bundy, who was engaged in an armed standoff with the federal government over grazing fees. Rogers spoke to supporters of Bundy and the media while wearing his Elkhart County Sheriff's uniform.

But Rogers says leaders of the Oath Keepers began to promote and encourage civil war — which he says was egregious, unacceptable and in violation of the group’s own bylaws. He subsequently left.

The Oath Keepers, founded in 2009 by Stewart Rhodes, is a loosely organized conspiracy theory-fueled group that recruits current and former military, police and first responders. It asks its members to vow to defend the Constitution “against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” promotes the belief that the federal government is out to strip citizens of their civil liberties and paints its followers as defenders against tyranny.

More than two dozen people associated with the Oath Keepers — including Rhodes — have been charged in connection with the Jan. 6 attack. Rhodes and four other Oath Keeper members or associates are heading to trial this month on seditious conspiracy charges for what prosecutors have described as a weekslong plot to keep then-President Donald Trump in power. Rhodes and the other Oath Keepers say that they are innocent and that there was no plan to attack the Capitol.

Rogers has condemned the Jan. 6 insurrection. He issued a statement on the day of the attack calling it “abhorrent and without excuse” and called for those who participated to “be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Contact Jakob at jlazzaro@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @JakobLazzaro.

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Jakob Lazzaro comes to Indiana from Chicago, where he graduated from Northwestern University in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and a double major in History. Before joining WVPE, he wrote NPR's Source of the Week e-mail newsletter, and previously worked for CalMatters, Pittsburgh's 90.5 WESA and North by Northwestern.