In ’emergency’ meeting, OC election conspirator says officials involved in fraud ‘deserve to be suspended’
A who’s who of leading figures in Colorado’s far-right Holocaust denial movement gathered in Castle Rock Thursday night for a lengthy town hall meeting that featured a slew of baseless conspiracy theories and at least one threat of violence Politics.
The “emergency” meeting, organized by right-wing activist and FEC United founder Joe Oltmann, took place two days after the arrest of Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters for obstructing investigators’ attempts to seize an iPad pursuant to a search warrant.
Peters arrived at Friday’s event, held at The Rock Church, to a standing ovation from the gathered crowd. She said she always wore the same clothes she wore when she went to be booked on misdemeanor charges of obstructing a peace officer and obstructing government operations at the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office earlier Thursday.
“When you do the right thing, you have nothing to be ashamed of,” said Peters, who was seen attempt to hit a policeman in a video of the February 8 incident. “I will not back down. They don’t like it.
The iPad seized by authorities allegedly contained prohibited recordings of a legal proceeding involving Peters’ deputy clerk, Belinda Knisley, who is facing burglary and cybercrime charges as part of a professional misconduct investigation. Peters, a Republican who consistently promoted false claims that former President Donald Trump was the rightful winner of the 2020 election, is separately under consideration for allegedly allowing unauthorized access to Mesa County voting systems during a security update in May 2021.
Just before Peters’ arrival, prominent election conspirator Shawn Smith – who works with the US Election Integrity Plan and is an ally of MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell – rallied the crowd against Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, whom he accused of being an accomplice to voter fraud. .
As the crowd chanted ‘Lock her up’, Smith said he believed in ‘due process’ and ‘justice’.
“I think if you’re involved in voter fraud then you deserve to be hanged,” he said to applause and cheers from the crowd. “Sometimes the old ways are the best.
“I don’t condone violence, I say when you put your hand on a hot stove you get burned,” Smith continued. “And you should see it coming. This is what happens to tyrants.
Griswold replied to Smith’s threats on Twitter Thursday night.
“This video may be hard to watch, but I’m sharing it so we can all see clearly: Threats against election officials like me happen every day,” Griswold wrote. “We must resist these blatant attempts to end democracy as we know it.”
Joining Peters and Smith on stage at Thursday’s event, which featured an hour-long Q&A session, were John Eastman, a former visiting conservative scholar at the University of Colorado Boulder and Trump lawyer who wrote legal memos advocating for the former president and his congressional allies to cancel the 2020 election; Republican U.S. Senate candidate and State Representative Ron Hanks of Penrose; El Paso County Sheriff Candidate Todd Watkins; Vickie Tonkins, El Paso County Republican Party Chairwoman; and GOP gubernatorial candidate Danielle Neuschwanger.
Network of Holocaust deniers with ties to the GOP
Oltmann, who organized the event, was instrumental in popularizing the baseless conspiracy theory alleging Denver-based Dominion Voting Systems helped perpetrate widespread fraud. Along with other Trump allies, he faces a defamation lawsuit brought by a former Dominion employee in Denver District Court.
A former digital marketing executive, Oltmann founded FEC United in 2020 after becoming a prominent organizer of protests against COVID-19 public health measures. The group is affiliated with the United American Defense Force, a militia led by former Trump campaign surrogate John Tiegen, which has predicts another American “civil war” following the country “forced into communism”. Colorado Republican Party Chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown was formerly chairwoman of FEC United, Oltmann said disclosed in court testimony.
In his “Conservative Daily” podcast, Oltmann has repeatedly called for mass executions “treacherous” journalists and political opponents, including Governor Jared Polis and several US senators. He spoke in December of being “able to build gallows from Washington, DC, to California,” asking his followers to “go get some wood.”
Eastman denounced the “attacks” he and other members of the election conspiratorial movement have suffered, and told the crowd they faced “pure evil”. He again raised the oft-discussed possibility of a legal challenge to Colorado’s open primary law, which allows unaffiliated voters to choose to vote in either party’s primary elections. Eastman solicited donations to a legal fund that will fund the case and said the lawsuit would be filed “next week.”
Open primary law, Eastman said, “is guaranteed to let the establishment control who the party appoints and prevent you all from regaining control of your destiny.”
Hanks drew cheers when he bragged to the crowd Thursday about go “to the Capitol” on January 6, 2020. The first-term state legislator launched his Senate challenge against incumbent Democratic Senator Michael Bennett with a video ad featuring the explosion of a simulated Dominion voting machine.
The ballot has constantly displayed that more than three-quarters of Republican voters continue to believe the “big lie” that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump. Hanks, who won first two mock polls in a crowded field of GOP Senate candidates, said his campaign was gaining “remarkable” momentum.
“I’m the only Senate candidate to talk about election integrity,” Hanks said. “And the reality is that’s what people want to talk about.”
This article originally appeared in Colorado Newsline, which is is part of States Newsroom, a network of news outlets supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Colorado Newsline maintains editorial independence. Contact editor Quentin Young with any questions: [email protected] Follow Colorado Newsline on Facebook and Twitter.