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Grundy County Sheriff Briley says he’s not affiliated with Oath Keepers

GRUNDY — Grundy County Sheriff Ken Briley was one of three elected officials in the state who appeared on a list of members of the Oath Keepers, according to leaked membership logs from a non-profit journalism collective.

Briley said he is not a member of the group and he doesn’t know how he ended up on the list, aside from one phone call he received from an Oath Keeper in 2011.

“The call basically consisted of questions like, ‘Ken, are you currently a police officer? Did you take an oath? Do you support that oath?’ If you become sheriff or elected sheriff will you take that oath and would you support the oath,” Briley said.

“And the answers to those questions were obviously, yes, all police officers take an oath. And yes, I do believe in that oath and do support the oath. Beyond that, that was the extent of any talks ever. So, I can only assume that’s how my name ended up on the list,” he said.

In 2021, Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDoSecrets), a whistleblower non-profit journalism collective, leaked a copy of the Oath Keepers’ membership list. In September, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) analyzed the data leak from DDoSecrets, and Briley’s name is on this list.

Being on the list is not proof of one’s membership in the group.

The Oath Keepers are an extremist group established in 2009. Its founder, Stewart Rhodes is on trial for seditious conspiracy charges for his alleged role in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

According to the Oath Keepers’ website, “The Oath Keepers are a group of proud American Patriots who are dedicated to upholding the constitution of the United States. Our members have a long history of service to the United States as military, law enforcement, first responders, and service-oriented citizens, and continue to serve through community service, volunteer, and emergency support.”

In all, Illinois has 883 of the over 38,000 members, including three elected officials, 21 law enforcement officers, two military personnel, and 10 first responders, according to the DDoSecrets list.

Briley said he was “not happy about being on the list,” especially because the group has been tied to the Jan. 6 insurrection, an event he described as “absolutely deplorable.”

“I think anytime you have violence or an attempt to disrupt government, that’s not something I support,” he said.

The Oath Keepers have not confirmed the data leaked is a list of current or previous members. The website, states there is an annual fee of $100 to remain a member. Briley said he has had no interaction with the Oath Keepers, aside from one phone call 11 years ago.

“I have had no other interactions with anyone from the Oath Keepers,” Briley said. “I’ve never had a second telephone call. I’ve never met anyone. No one has ever come to my home or my office. I’ve never provided money. I don’t have a pin or a patch or a card that indicates I am a member.”

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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