GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Recently leaked data shows a North Carolina state representative to be on a list of members of the Oath Keepers, an anti-government militia organization.
North Carolina Rep. Keith Kidwell, a Republican, was listed as a member in the leaked data.
The Oath Keepers are one of the country’s largest anti-government extremist groups. They were largely involved in the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The entry for Kidwell shows a date in 2012, suggesting an annual membership, and at least one donation.
The group was founded in 2009 shortly after the election of President Barack Obama.
Kidwell serves as the North Carolina House Deputy Majority Whip. He represents Craven and Beaufort counties. 9 OYS has reached out and is awaiting a response from Kidwell. However in an article from “Raw Story,” he is quoted saying:
“I am not going to exacerbate a theft of data from any organization, I’m going to refuse comment since the information was ill-gotten. That is just protection of people’s rights,” Kidwell said in the web story.
The accusation began about a month ago, when five gigabytes of data from the group was hacked and leaked.
In response, regarding the long-term effects of public officials pledging to extremist militias, one professor of public policy, Richard Carpiano, said, “It raises a concern as to what degree this fringe ideology is invading our democratic institutions.”
In New York City, the group was being investigated for ties to a police department. Mayor Bill De Blasio said any ties to the group would disqualify any officer from serving.
“Organizations that are trying to destroy our democratic freedoms, undermine our nation, undermined our people, that’s very very troubling to me,” said De Blasio.
So far, 22 members of the Oath Keepers have been charged in connection to the Jan. 6 insurrection. WNCT has reached out to other Republican and Democratic lawmakers in our area for comment on this issue and is awaiting a response.