The group known as Oath Keepers is a loose network of organizations made up of former military, police, fire, and first responders — people who have taken oaths at some point in their lives to defend the Republic.
Rep. David Eastman is a member of the Oath Keepers, and for this, he is being hunted and hounded by Alaska House Democrats.
The Democrat majority members have for weeks been acting to remove Eastman from all of his committee assignments because of his association with the group, whose leaders await trial for their activities leading up to and on Jan. 6, 2021 in the nation’s capital.
The charges against Yale University graduate and Oath Keeper founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes are serious, but as of yet unproven, as his trial does not begin until April 19.
The Department of Justice charges say Oath Keeper defendants were not just engaged in mere disorderly conduct on Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol, but that they organized militarily well in advance to stop the peaceful transfer of power from President Donald Trump to President Joe Biden.
On Wednesday, Rhodes is scheduled to appear before the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. The committee, formed on a party-line vote on July 1, 2021, has been subpoenaing citizens and documents ever since to testify about what they knew and in what manner they participated in the Jan. 6 surge into the Capitol. The committee has even subpoenaed numerous Trump Administration members and advisers, and people associated with other patriotic nonprofit groups, including Women For America First and Moms for America.
Among the dozens of Alaskans who also went to Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021 to attend a Trump rally and participate in a protest was Rep. Eastman of Wasilla, who stayed a good distance from the halls of Congress the entire time.
For months, socialist organizers in Alaska political circles and their Democrat surrogates in the House have been on Eastman’s trail, to try to get him removed from office altogether, due to his membership in Oath Keepers.
But there just are not enough votes for him to be expelled by the House, and Plan B is to redline him from all of his committees.
That failed on Monday because there were evidently not enough votes, but the Democrats plan to take the matter up again when Rep. Sara Rasmussen returns. Although she is a registered Republican, the Democrats are counting on her vote to punish Eastman, who is somewhat of his own caucus most of the time. Rasmussen is said to be out due to quarantine and votes with the Democrat majority frequently.
If the House does act against Eastman, it will set a precedent for the Legislature to punish members for their associations with various legally recognized groups — groups such as the Democrat Socialists, or Black Lives Matter.
Oath Keepers is not only a legal organization, it enjoys protection by the Internal Revenue Service as a charitable, non-taxable entity. The IRS recognizes several Oath Keeper affiliates as 501(c) groups, including:
- Indiana Oath Keepers Inc.
- Oath Keepers Educational Foundation
- Oath Keepers Of Josephine County
- Oath Keepers United
- Pennsylvania Oath Keepers
- Southern Nevada Oath Keepers
- Virginia Oath Keepers Inc
- Oathkeepers, (Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club), NC
But politically motivated groups like the Democratic Party and Southern Poverty Law Center view Oath Keepers as “one of the largest far-right antigovernment groups in the U.S. today.”
In a court of law, what a nonprofit political group calls another nonprofit political group is one thing, but when a group is protected by the federal government as a charitable group, it’s quite another.
The Alaska House Committee on Committees was planning to meet at noon Tuesday to try again to remove Eastman from committees on its roster, but abruptly canceled its meeting, which had not even been advertised on the legislative calendar. That means it’s likely no floor action will be taken against Eastman on Wednesday.
The dispute is spinning the wheels of the House of Representatives, which is on Day 15 of its current 90- to 120-day session. Although Speaker Louise Stutes said this session was going to be more harmonious, she chairs the Committee on Committees, and she has verbally sneered at those defending Eastman.
Democrat Majority Leader Rep. Chris Tuck on the House floor on Monday said that some rights are simply not allowed. Tuck, who has not served in the military but has sworn an oath as a lawmaker, said there are distinct curbs on people’s free speech rights.
“We really don’t have the right to do whatever you want. It really is the right to do what’s best,” Tuck said.
But Rep. Kevin McCabe said that military men and women, when they take an oath, it’s for life, to defend against enemies foreign and domestic.
“Notice there is no expiration on that oath, Madam Speaker,” he said, saying that would be important for people to remember in coming days.
Rep. Ben Carpenter, also a veteran, spoke to the importance of defending the First Amendment rights of all Americans.
“One of the lessons I learned in the military, after I took my oath to defend this nation, is that the Marxist that sits in the tank next to me has the same rights that I do,” Carpenter said. “First among those are the right to free speech and to freely associate with the organizations that I choose.”
Carpenter continued: “If you can remove somebody from a position because you don’t like what they say or what they think, it’s only a matter of time before somebody else gets removed,” for some other topic.