September 8, 2022

DFL Party Statement on Republican Legislator Don Raleigh appearing on the roster of a violent, right-wing militia

Two days ago, the Anti-Defamation League used a data leak to reveal that a sitting elected official was on the membership roster of the Oath Keepers, a violent, extremist, anti-government militia. Now, according to reporting from the Minnesota Reformer, we know who that is: Representative Don Raleigh.

DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin released the following statement:

“I am not surprised that Donald Raleigh, a man who helped create violent cartoons making jokes about the murder of children, is associated with an extremist, anti-government militia. Anyone who would willingly join a violent militia that encourages armed conflict with the United States does not belong anywhere near elected office.

“Time after time, Donald Raleigh has been caught engaging in dangerous, disturbing, or extremist behavior and time after time, he has insisted it is someone else’s fault. Raleigh’s denials are growing less and less convincing by the day.”

Background on Donald Raleigh’s Extremism

Raleigh claimed that his appearance on the Oath Keepers member rolls was not really his fault. Raleigh said he joined long ago and that his membership was simply “market research” because he “wanted to know what interesting cool marketing they were doing.” Raleigh also claims he disavows the Oath Keepers, saying he has “heard they’ve taken a very dark turn” during the January 6th insurrection.

As the Reformer notes, the Oath Keepers’ extremism has been on display and easy to find since their founding. They did not take a dark turn, as Raleigh puts it. Instead they had a chance to act on their stated ideology.

Raleigh previously made news when he was discovered to have helped create a series of web comics depicting the murder of numerous people by gun, including children, members of the U.S. military, government employees, the President, and more.

In this circumstance too, Raleigh insisted via a spokesperson that the comics were not his fault:

Andrew Wagner, Director of Public Affairs for the Minnesota House Republican Caucus, told Heartland Signal that the cartoons were drawn by Raleigh’s brother, despite them being labeled as authored by “Dan & Don.” Don’s younger brother is named Dan. One of the cartoons depicting the authors also has a bald character that resembles Don.

Wagner did not respond as to whether Raleigh knew the comics were being posted, despite the fact that the website the cartoons were originally hosted on, is owned by him.

The Reformer also noted that Raleigh attended Mike Lindell’s election denial conference a year ago in South Dakota, even though prior to the conference, Lindell’s claims about election fraud were regularly and very publicly debunked. Despite attending the multi-day conference and winning their hacking contest, Raleigh insists that he left Lindell’s event unconvinced by Lindell’s claims of election fraud.

Background on the Oath Keepers

The Oath Keepers are a far-right militia movement described by the FBI as a “paramilitary organization” and a “large but loosely organized collection of militia who believe that the federal government has been coopted by a shadowy conspiracy that is trying to strip American citizens of their rights.”

Their members have been charged with plotting to attack the United States Capitol on January 6th. The Southern Poverty Law Center has documented numerous criminal activities that both the organization and its members engaged in, including joining the Bundy’s during their armed confrontation with the federal government.

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