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Oath Keepers is an American nonprofit organization that advocates that its members (current and former U.S. military and law enforcement) disobey any orders that they are given if they believe they violate the Constitution of the United States.
The Oath Keepers were founded on March 2009 by Stewart Rhodes and incorporated in Las Vegas, Nevada as a non-profit corporation. Rhodes is a Yale Law School graduate, a former US Army paratrooper, and a former staffer of Congressman Ron Paul. The Oath Keepers as a group have grown to include chapters in many states across America.
In addition to maintaining a web site, Oath Keepers has taken various actions. It placed a billboard at the D.C. Metro White House Station on August 12, 2013, directed toward White House employees, stating, "Snowden honored his oath. Honor yours! Stop Big Brother! Expose unconstitutional actions."
In the Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) 2009 report The Second Wave: Return of the Militias, Larry Keller, a writer for the SPLC, wrote that the Oath Keepers "may be a particularly worrisome example of the Patriot revival." Keller described Richard Mack, an Oath Keeper, as a "longtime militia hero":7 and quoted him as having said, "The greatest threat we face today is not terrorists; it is our federal government… One of the best and easiest solutions is to depend on local officials, especially the sheriff, to stand against federal intervention and federal criminality.":7 Mack, a former sheriff, responded by denouncing the SPLC's claims. Rhodes, who is one quarter Mexican and part Native American has disputed the SPLC claim of racism.
Rhodes has appeared on several TV and radio shows to discuss Oath Keepers. Lou Dobbs talked with Rhodes on his radio show and criticized the SPLC for "perpetuating the same kind of intolerance it claims to condemn." On Hardball with Chris Matthews, Matthews and Rhodes discussed both the SPLC report and issues involving the Oath Keepers and extremists.
MSNBC's political commentator, Patrick J. Buchanan, quoted Alan Maimon in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, as saying "Oath Keepers, depending on where one stands, are either strident defenders of liberty or dangerous peddlers of paranoia.” Mr. Buchanan explained their existence on the alienation of white America, concluding that "America was once their country. They sense they are losing it. And they are right."