Oath Keeper Stewart Rhodes Spent $33K on Guns, Equipment While Plotting Sedition: DOJ

Stewart Rhodes, the founder and leader of the far-right Oath Keepers group, spent tens of thousands of dollars on guns, ammunition and equipment while allegedly plotting violently to stop the transition of presidential power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) revealed on Thursday that Rhodes spent a total of $33,000 obtaining an arsenal of weapons and gear in the days before and after the January 6, 2021 attack, while announcing he and 10 others have been charged with seditious conspiracy in connection to the Capitol attack.

The sedition charges against the members of the Oath Keepers, an extremist anti-government militia group, are among the most serious of all those brought against those accused of storming the Capitol on January 6.

Rhodes is not alleged to have entered the building himself, but is accused of conspiring with the group to violently obstruct the certification of the 2020 election results.

According to the indictment against Rhodes and the other Oath Keepers, the group's leader sent a message to an invitation-only Signal group on December 11, 2020, which said that if Biden were to assume the presidency: "It will be a bloody and desperate fight. We are going to have a fight. That can't be avoided."

Prosecutors allege that on January 1 and 2, 2021, Rhodes spent $5,000 on firearms and related equipment such as a scope, magazines, sights, ammunition, and gun-cleaning supplies.

On January 3, 2021, Rhodes left his hometown of Granbury, Texas, and began traveling to Washington, D.C. for the protests. On the way, Rhodes spent a further $6,000 on an AR-platform rifle and firearms equipment and attachments.

The 56-year-old also stopped off in Mississippi to spend $4,500 on further firearms equipment, including sights, mounts, an optic plate, a magazine, and various parts.

While allegedly plotting how to stop the certification of the election results on January 6, the Oath Keepers frequently discussed whether they should bring guns to D.C.

The group ultimately decided not to bring firearms due to D.C.'s laws prohibiting open carry at protests. Instead, Kenneth Harrelson—one of the 10 Oath Keeper members charged along with Rhodes—is alleged to have stored firearms at the Comfort Inn in Arlington, Virginia, as part of plans to initiate a "quick reaction force" if violence broke out on January 6.

During the January 6 attack, the Oath Keepers are accused of forming a "stack" formation before storming the Capitol building while wearing paramilitary gear.

On the evening of January 6, Rhodes met with fellow Oath Keepers Joshua James, Edward Vallejo, and others in order to "celebrate" the attack and discuss their next moves, according to the indictment.

That evening, Rhodes sent a message in a private Signal group chat saying: "Thousands of ticked off patriots spontaneously marched on the Capitol. You ain't seen nothing yet." Rhodes said that "patriots" storming the Capitol on January 6 was "NOTHING compared to what's coming."

According to prosecutors, Rhodes then spent the next few days buying more firearm equipment and gear.

On January 10, 2021, Rhodes spent approximately $6,000 more on items including sights, a scope, mounts, a gun grip, and a magazine pouch.

The next day, he spent over $1,500 on magazines and other items before spending nearly $7,000 on hundreds of rounds of ammunition, duffel bags, magazines, rifle scopes, and a gun light on January 12.

Between January 13 and 19, Rhodes spent $3,000 on further firearms items and equipment.

The sedition charges leveled against the Oath Keepers are the first to have been brought forward against U.S. citizens since 2010. If convicted, the defendants face 20 years in prison.

Discussing the allegations, Matthew Miller, a political analyst for MSNBC and former justice department official, tweeted: "The seditious conspiracy charges are important for a lot of reasons, but in my mind the most important is that, should they be convicted, the Oathkeepers will be forever branded as traitors to their country."

Rhodes' lawyer, Jonathon Moseley, has been contacted for comment.

Stewart Rhodes oath keeper
An Oath Keeper from Idaho in Bozeman, Montana. Stewart Rhodes (not pictured), the founder and leader of the far-right Oath Keepers group, allegedly spent $33,000 on guns, ammunition and equipment while in the days around the January 6 attack. William Campbell/Getty Images