VAOK and the Status of the national organization

As fellow members of the state organization, I know you get questions about Stewart Rhodes because I do.

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Disbarment

I recently had a conversation with former National Oath Keeper Board Member Steve Homan. I need to begin by saying that Steve is a Marine, Vietnam veteran and received multiple medals including the Purple Heart (more than once). For a long time, he was my conduit to the national organization and he did a lot to support Virginia before we broke away. I am sure Steve was disappointed when we left, but he also understood on some level why we had to go. Steve made it another year and recently resigned after fighting the good fight for a long time. I think he was just tired of having to explain decisions he had not made. When he resigned, Stewart Rhodes called Steve Homan a coward. I find it odd that a man who never served in combat had the audacity to call a decorated veteran a coward, perhaps Mr. Rhodes should think back on his own actions. His unwillingness to attend his own disbarment hearing after leaving fellow Oath Keepers in front of a judge without representation seems awfully cowardly to me.

I spoke with Steve for a couple hours and he shared a few important tidbits with me. One, there are indictments that have yet to be executed for some of the leaders of the national Oath Keepers who participated in the Bundy stand down. They may never be used but it is important information to be aware of and prepare for. Second, national has been unable to make payroll for several months. As many here in Virginia can attest, a large part of our disenchantment with the national organization was related to our observations of Stewart Rhodes and his financial behavior when he visited the Commonwealth. Watching expensive dinners being purchased and shots lined up at the bar all while using the Oath Keepers credit card gave many people pause. The high-performance Mustang rental car was another item that people noticed. Of course, there is the infamous helicopter arrival in West Virginia.

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Financial Improprieties

When we were promised dues sharing for over two years and were told there was no money for it, we had patience. Later when I was told our bank account was set up and on the way, and when it never arrived the state leadership encouraged me to support moves that would allow Virginia the autonomy to be self-reliant. While many have not made the move from national to the state organization, Virginia is financially solvent; we have money and are no longer operating out of my personal checkbook. We are very frugal with your money and it is not spent on anything that does not benefit the membership at large. I now know that the actions of national resulted in many Virginians simply not paying dues to anyone. Honestly, I understand that and I would rather have people keep their money than send it to national for steak, liquor, and fast cars.

I write all of this not to bemoan the wrong-headed actions of Mr. Rhodes or to lament the disrespect a combat veteran received but to let my fellow Virginians know that the national Oath Keepers organization is due for some close scrutiny. There have been multiple financial lapses including the embezzlement of hundreds of thousands of dollars. There have been bad decisions that have led to Oath Keepers being placed in compromising positions legally that could have been avoided. The financial structure of the national organization is questionable at best and my hope is that all Virginians have ceased to send money to that sinking ship. When Oath Keepers hits the national media please be prepared to explain that we all saw this coming. I have spoken with our Board of Directors and told them that we need to have ready answers for that day.

I also want to encourage you to explain to people who ask that the Virginia Oath Keepers has been an independent organization since 2015 and that we have a voting board that can remove any officer for cause at any time, including the President. Hopefully, everyone understands that as your president I cannot introduce a motion, I only vote on the board in the event of a tie and I am duty bound to be impartial on most issues. In August 2017 I will be stepping down from my position. I am a long time believer in term limits and the future of your Virginia Oath Keepers depends on the organization reflecting the republican (not the political party) values we pledge our allegiance to when we renew our oath.

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Stay Focused On the Constitution

Between now and then I am working to strengthen our focus on two of our three pillars that have been largely ignored these last few months; RTI including Constitutional education and non-partisan political action at the state level. Our winter statewide training will include a four-hour block of Constitutional education. I am encouraging all current and future state and chapter officers to attend these classes. We have all taken an oath to the Constitution, but many do not understand or know the document. We will also have a class regarding political advocacy and lobbying that will be the foundation of our efforts during the 2017 Virginia election cycle. While I will not be endorsing any candidates in the Virginia Oath Keeper elections in 2017, I would ask the membership to not support any candidate who has not taken these two classes. After all, we are the Virginia Oath Keepers, you deserve leadership that knows exactly what the oath means.

In closing, I am asking all of you to work hard during these next few months to ensure the sovereignty of the Commonwealth of Virginia. 2017 is a crucial year for our beloved home, and the fight for the control of the House of Delegates, the State Senate and the Governorship is much more important than I think many people realize. The liberty of Virginians depends on people who understand that to honor our oath and ensure our freedom we must think locally and act locally to defend our republic. Please consider attending our statewide training in early 2017 and I look forward to seeing many of you soon.

The Virginia Oath Keepers is an independent state-level organization and is not affiliated with Elmer Stewart Rhodes or the national organization he runs. We do not endorse his positions or statements.

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3 Responses to “VAOK and the Status of the national organization”

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  1. Skeetre says:

    Mr. BMWRider:

    Hello.

    I am a Virginian and, I would like to think, a patriot. As such, my interest in Oath Keepers has been on-going while my observation of the inner workings has been non-existent, sad to say.

    It had been a question of mine for only a little while as to the non-relationship between Virginia Oath Keepers and the national organization. In fact, I was stunned to read, in more than one place on this site, quote: “We do not endorse his (Mr. Rhodes) positions or statements.”

    So, when I stumbled upon this particular page, I read it with great interest. Honestly, I had no idea that such was the story, at least this side of the story. I intend to do more legwork and try to understand the entirety of the situation.

    Having said all that, I wanted you to know that I really much of what you wrote here:

    1) “Our winter statewide training will include a four-hour block of Constitutional education. I am encouraging all current and future state and chapter officers to attend these classes. We have all taken an oath to the Constitution, but many do not understand or know the document.”

    For not a few years I have bristled against the “We support our troops” mantra, if only because it was my belief that the vast majority of “our troops” had taken their oath with little to no REAL AND MEANINGFUL understanding of what it means to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic….”

    (Of course, thinking thusly puts one in a minority camp, and tends to soften the tongue.)

    But thank God you have recognized this all-important need, and are seeking to remedy it. I can only hope and pray that this remedy will be commonplace throughout our country, and will ultimately result in a “military Constitutional complex” (if I may take off on what President Eisenhower said years ago).

    2) “We will also have a class regarding political advocacy and lobbying that will be the foundation of our efforts during the 2017 Virginia election cycle. While I will not be endorsing any candidates in the Virginia Oath Keeper elections in 2017, I would ask the membership to not support any candidate who has not taken these two classes.”

    Very interesting. I would think the classes would be helpful to VAOK efforts, but I’m not at all convinced that lack of attendance in any way disqualifies someone from elected to leadership positions within VAOK.

    Lastly, from the sounds of it, I think you will be greatly missed as VAOK President. But that’s just me.

    I hope to return to this site once I gain some insights as to some/all of what’s been going on at the national OK level. If by chance you have some material that supports the VAOK position on this issue, I’d be grateful to have it.

    In any event, thank you for your service(s) and I look forward to my full membership in and working with VAOK.

    Regards,

    Skeetre

    • BMWRider says:

      I appreciate your comments. I think the biggest tell regarding the status of the national organization is when you look at the current Board of Directors versus what it was a year or two ago. While every organization has churn (we do at the state level) I believe you will see that it is extreme there. Honestly, I take a philosophical approach to a lot of things and in this case, we know them by their fruit. If you click on the two documents I linked and read them, you will see what I said is true regarding Rhodes disbarment. Ask some of your local VAOK members who have been around and ask them what they saw when Rhodes was here. Anyway please take a look into all I say, I could be lying but I will conclude with this thought, we have nobody drawing any salary or stipend in Virginia. Everyone is a volunteer.

  2. Grey Hamilton says:

    New member education due to the split: My Son and I just joined VAOK, but I am very confused about the membership fees that we paid. I believe we joined through the national website, but I was contacted by a VAOK member. I know these “break-a-ways” can be complicated, but I am concerned about where my money went. Is it sitting with VAOK, which I would like; or is it at national? If my funds went to national, I will have owe membership dues to VAOK. The entanglement of the websites and perspective candidates ignorance of the situation may be costing us prospective members. I wanted to bring this to your attention because I believe VAOK is the right place to be – and I want to see it as strong as strong as possible. Please illuminate/educate me on the process if you can.

    “Not On Our Watch”
    Grey Hamilton