South Dakota lawmaker no longer associates with right-wing militia group Oath Keepers

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A South Dakota lawmaker who once signed up to be a member of the Oath Keepers says he is no longer affiliated with the group.

The Oath Keepers is a far-right, anti-government militia group with connections to the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. The FBI arrested more than a dozen members of the group. Some came to the Capitol dressed in full military gear and equipped with zip ties.

Senator Jim Stalzer says he signed up for the group 5 or 6 years ago when Sheriff Richard Mack, leader of the Constitutional Sheriffs movement, spoke in Sioux Falls.

“I visited with him, he was at that time a director of Oath Keepers, and he encouraged a number of us veterans to join the organization. So, I signed up, you know if you look at their website and you look at what they stand for, sounds great,” Stalzer said. “But in the meantime, they have gotten confrontational they’ve gotten involved in some violent things.”

Stalzer, a state senator who represents Minnehaha County, has been serving in the legislature since 2013, first in the house and now in the senate. He is a supporter of the right to bear arms. He’s a certified pistol instructor, too.

In fact, when we caught up with him, he was taking part in a Senate GOP event at Hunters Point near Humboldt.

“I absolutely believe in not only maintaining our second amendment rights, but all of our rights under the constitution. And I believe in fighting for those things but again you do it an adult manner and you don’t do like Oath Keepers have done, you don’t do it like Antifa,” Stalzer said.

Stalzer says his ties to Oath Keepers were severed long ago and he no longer gets emails from the organization.

The name of South Dakota Representative Phil Jensen of Rapid City also shows up on a list of alleged members of the Oath Keepers. We reached out to Jensen earlier this week, but never heard back from him.

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