EXTREMISMTwo Constables, Four Police Chiefs and More Than 3,000 other Texans Were Members of the Oath Keepers: Report

By Sneha Dey and William Melhado

Published 9 September 2022

A recent analysis of Oath Keepers’ membership rolls leaked last year found that Texas had more members of the far-right extremist group than any other state — and the most who worked as elected officials, law enforcement officers or members of the military.

More than 3,000 Texans — including four police chiefs, two county sheriffs, two constables and two county commissioners — have been members of the Oath Keepers, a far-right extremist group that played a prominent role in the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, according to an analysis of leaked membership rolls.

The Anti-Defamation League Center on Extremism published a report Tuesday after reviewing more than 38,000 names on a massive cache of documents from the Oath Keepers that was leaked to transparency collective Distributed Denial of Secrets and released last year. The documents included chat logs, emails and membership rolls from 2020 and 2021. It’s unclear when the membership lists were last updated.

The ADL’s report analyzed where the members lived and worked and found that Texas had more people listed in the Oath Keepers’ membership rolls than any other state. Texas is the country’s second-most populous state.

Texas also had the most people who were either elected officials, law enforcement officers, military members or first responders, the report found. Of the Texas signups, 33 were law enforcement officers, 10 were members of the military, eight were elected officials and seven were first responders. No federal officials were listed in the membership documents.

At least six law enforcement officers who have been affiliated with the far-right group at some point are currently at the helm of their departments: Howe Police Department Chief Carl Hudman; Tom Bean Police Department Chief Timothy Green; Idalou Police Department Chief Eric Williams; Amarillo ISD Police Department Chief Paul Bourquin; Nueces County Sheriff John Chris Hooper; and Clay County Sheriff Jeff Lyde.

Other people listed in the Oath Keepers’ membership rolls who currently serve as elected officials in Texas include Ellis County Commissioner Paul D. Perry; Galveston County Commissioner Joseph Thomas Giusti; Collin County Constable Joe Wright; Hood County Constable John D. Shirley; Quitman Alderman Steven Glenn; and Faulkey Gully Municipal Utility District board member Mark H. Syzman. Syzman is also a retired U.S. Army Military Police Master Sergeant.

Some of the law enforcement officers and elected officials named by the ADL told The Texas Tribune they were not familiar with the group’s mission at the time they signed up. Others said the the direction of the Oath Keepers had shifted away from its original mission.