After the storming of the US Capitol Building on 6 January 2021, media has been trying to figure out who the Oath Keepers are. 60 Minutes, 3 months after the riot, interviewed 4 members of a group calling themselves the “Arizona Oath Keepers”. In mid-June 2021, 60 Minutes re-aired the segment, providing the group more airtime. These Oath Keepers were four members of a Prescott, Arizona area organization known as the Yavapai County Preparedness Team.
Who are the Yavapai County Preparedness Team (YCPT)? The YCPT is an Arizona Oath Keepers chapter, previously directly part of the Stewart Rhodes-led national organization but now autonomous and independent. They still, however, call themselves Oath Keepers and use Oath Keepers iconography and ideology to describe themselves. This article explores their structure, their relationships to the right, and where it looks like they are heading.
This is a very long article, so MilitiaWatch has prepared a first “TL;DR” (too long; didn’t read) that hits at some of the core points from this investigation without the goose chases and too-in-the-weeds writing the MW audience might be accustomed to at this point. You can read that here:
Prior to the split with Rhodes, the Arizona Oath Keepers (as they were once known), partially rebranded as the Yavapai County Preparedness Team (YCPT). There are several reasons for why this happened, which will be covered below. Directly relevant to the structure of the YCPT was a growing disenchantment with an absent national organization. The YCPT’s leader expressed this both to journalists and to his organization, saying that the relationship to the national organization was not worth the energy.
This does not mean that the YCPT has never had a relationship with the national organization running Stewart Rhodes’ Oath Keepers. The YCPT’s lead said during a meeting that the group’s name is “Yavapai County Preparedness Team” in part due to a conversation with Rhodes, during which the YCPT lead got Rhodes’ blessing to create a separate non-profit organization.
This non-profit entity, created under the Arizona group’s name, was in fact incorporated in the state of Arizona as a “Community Service”. Federally speaking, this places the YCPT’s nonprofit under the “Disaster Preparedness and Relief Service” subcategory as part of the “Public Safety, Disaster Preparedness and Relief” category of organizations. In the articles of incorporation, the YCPT claims to be an organization without members. Below is the leading portion of the YCPT’s articles of incorporation in the state of Arizona, detailing this:
As shown above, the articles to establish this 501(c)3 were filed at the start of 2019. The YCPT’s organization brings in less than $50,000 in annual revenue so its directors are only required to file a Form 990-N each fiscal year. Due to this setup, very little information about the organization, including its on-the-books revenues and spending, is made public. However, there is so far only a record of the group’s 2019 filing. This could be due to lags in processing on behalf of the state, given that the organization is still recognized as in good standing with the Arizona Corporation Commission.
The YCPT is led by James ‘Jim’ Arroyo and his wife Janet, who both reside in Chino Valley, Arizona. Jim was previously the vice president of the Arizona Oath Keepers and is currently the Director, Incorporator, and President of the YCPT. Janet is the Secretary of the YCPT and handles the group’s correspondence, note-keeping, and most of their social media.
Jim works as a gunsmith at Mazy’s, a pro-police gun store located in Chino Valley. In March 2020, as COVID-19 restrictions began to be put in place throughout the US, Jim detailed on a podcast the “panic buying” happening at his store, describing the sales as “unbelievable”, adding that “probably 25-30%” of buyers were first-time gun buyers.
Janet Arroyo, Jim’s wife, acts as the group’s secretary and takes a backseat when compared to Jim in the YCPT meeting structure. Janet, however, does handle a lot of the group’s social media presence. She often signs her engagement on behalf of the YCPT account with her name:
The Yavapai County Preparedness Team has created numerous sub-teams within their ranks. One of the more important ones is the Neighborhood Preparedness Groups (NPGs), which operate simultaneously as neighborhood watch and would-be militias. Gary Harworth runs the NPG program. Here is YCPT lead Arroyo and YCPT NPG lead Harworth explaining the NPGs at the Prescott E-News filming desk (more on the E-News later):
Harworth, like Jim, was one of those who appeared in the 60 Minutes piece on the YCPT (originally airing in April 2021, but reairing in June). He notably said during the interview that “when things get a little chaos-y around you, you have to be able to take care of yourself, defend yourself, protect your family [and] those you love–that’s part of the Constitution”, seemingly indicating towards his primary function within the Arizona Oath Keepers milieu and what drives him: self-defense and the notion of protecting one’s loved ones.
On the NPGs
Gary Harworth’s Neighborhood Preparedness Groups (NPGs) have a lot of related text and video on the group’s website, including this amazing intro page, perhaps hinting at their target client:
One of the most important functions of the NPGs, according to meeting footage recorded by the YCPT, is to react and response to BLM and ‘Antifa’ in NPG-controlled areas. This involves linked communications channels that are connected to a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) that is ready to show up armed to stand off against these perceived adversaries. This should sound fairly familiar to those who have been tracking both Oath Keepers movements specifically or militia units more broadly – the NPG in a lot of ways takes on the specific roles of a militia unit that the YCPT claims to have moved beyond.
Within this reaction paradigm, YCPT NPG members are expected to gather ‘intel’ on the situation to which they seek to respond. Jim lays out in a video but also in YCPT NPG handouts a system for documenting the highest quality data on the ‘units’ they are tracking. Below is the “SALUTE Report” format:
Right off the bat, the reader will note that the ‘S’ in SALUTE stands for size, which is specified as “number of troops“, pointing to the perception of adversaries as military gatherings. That “aircraft” are also listed in this element of the reconnaissance report speaks to potentially broader targets, e.g. modern military units, as well. This is then repeated once more under ‘E’ for equipment.
The NPGs, as described above and elsewhere on the YCPT online ecosystem, also seek to build out a robust ‘intel’ infrastructure. This set-up is partially based on the well-known “Intelligence Cycle”, but also the following “three jobs” to build “a proficient analysis capability”:
- Gaining subject matter expertise
- Removing bias from our thinking
- Arriving at accurate conclusions
It’s unclear how rigorously either of these are followed within NPG units, but the overall YCPT structure speaks to major failures to adhere to these baselines. Take, for example, this 15 October post by the YCPT mods, which shares a pdf of the “Antifa Manual”:
When asked about the manual’s source, the moderator replies that “A member said they found it left behind”, though the YCPT has yet to have engaged with antifascists in the street and the file is a series of screenshots of a supposed manual “Dropped in Eugene on May 29, 2020 during a Riot.”, first page reproduced below:
The ‘manual’ is an obvious hoax, and a simple web search of “the antifa manual” turns up as a first result a page from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) titled “Disinformation: Antifa manual”. This page by the ADL links to 2017 Snopes debunking of the false document and pointing to the first poster of the document as an August 2017 Imgur upload by a literal Nazi. The ADL also specifically discusses the iteration of the document that includes the Eugene riot leading line as a widely circulated disinformation document during the summer of 2020. The riot mentioned at the top of the document is perhaps the only real part of any of this file.
Uncovering the non-validity of this document took MW less than 15 seconds to search on Google, without using any fancy OSINT tricks. If the YCPT mods are unable to do this, how can they claim that NPGs follow an intelligence doctrine that isn’t equally as flawed, biased, and inaccurate?
The NPGs fit into a larger prepping hierarchy, which moves from most discrete to most broad in this order:
- Individual preparedness
- Family preparedness
- Community Preparedness Teams (CPT)
All of these levels include staples of prepper lists, everything from water to comms channels to weapons (described on their sites as “Firearms for every adult, capable teenaged children” and “One rifle, one pistol, in common calibers only. Preferably on AR platform for magazine interchangeability. Pistols are a personal choice”). Other equipment for these teams include such items as “palm pilots”, “night vision”, “tactical clothing”, and “good socks”.
The Community Preparedness Teams (CPT) is the superstructure by which the YCPT operates, which is something they are now pushing at a greater scale. This will be covered more in-depth later, but first, some notes on the group’s events schedule.
The YCPT keeps a fairly regular schedule, usually meeting every other Saturday for a two- to four-hour-long meeting led by Jim Arroyo in Prescott, Arizona. These meetings cover a range of topics (many of them well-tread by now) and are all recorded by the YCPT team, who then upload the recordings on their media channels.
To show how regular these meetings usually are, here is a graph of each of the 22 meetings the YCPT has posted online, alongside the meeting’s date:
The chart of these meeting dates is fairly evenly spread, with only a few jolts in the YCPT’s biweekly schedule. It appears that despite many people opting to avoid group meetings during the summer and fall of 2020 due to the virus’s spread, the YCPT actually launched their recorded group meetings at that time.
Note: there is *technically* a 26 October 2019 YCPT meeting that was recorded and uploaded to YCPT media channels, but it is a major outlier on the graph.
These meetings cover a range of topics, but mostly repeat a lot of the same material. Looking at the content of these 22 meetings, 100% of the meetings discuss guns or firearms explicitly. All but one meeting discuss the topics of ‘Antifa’, Donald Trump, and civil war. Civil war seems to be a constant feature of these meetings, and the one meeting not to discuss civil war was the group’s meeting right after the 2020 election, which did discuss civil unrest and violence though not civil war specifically. Democrats and Black Lives Matter were discussed by Jim Arroyo and his friends 90.0% and 86.4% of the time, respectively. Cumulative discussion of these topics are charted below, with lapses in mention portrayed as 0 on the y-axis to show gaps.
These meetings are occasionally also supplemented with additional training material or vlogs from Jim. The training material comes in the form of a lecture to a camera, covering topics such as home remedies, survival foods, or “neighborhood security”. These lectures usually are recorded and posted on off weekends, allowing for more YCPT content to be consumed on a near-weekly basis. The vlogs have mostly been in the form of a COVID-19 “check in” while Jim sips coffee from a YCPT-branded mug, usually 15-30 minutes.
During these vlogs, Jim provides his viewers with such insights as referring to the mid-April COVID-19 numbers as “wrong”, adding that “we are in the midst of a propaganda campaign the likes of which we’ve never seen”.
The content of these vlogs varies between political theorizing, claims against public health departments, and assorted prepper tips. In a May 2020 video, Jim discusses details on bleach for several minutes, interjecting advice on how to encourage friends and family to get into prepping between providing his views on the cleaning product.
Many of these vlogs are posted on YCPT media but recently have also found a home in the Prescott E-News media channels, citing Jim Arroyo as the writer/creator.
The group primarily meets at First Southern Baptist Church of Chino Valley. Here’s how that was determined.
First, there’s this post from the First Southern Baptist Church of Chino Valley (FSBCCV), which discusses an Oath Keepers member who made “inappropriate comments” in a Chino Valley community group. In the post, the FSBCCV details that the Yavapai Country Preparedness Team “meets on our property” in this 22 July 2020 post:
This location is corroborated as the core YCPT meeting place by a few other clues from the YCPT chatter Mewe. First, four months ago, the YCPT account posted that attendees could park at a Safeway and then drive to the church in one car:
There is, in fact, a Safeway just down the street from the First Southern Baptist Church (FSBC), accounting for about a 4 minute drive parking lot to parking lot:
A month later, another post includes the address of the church as the meeting location, down to the specific building (“C”):
But more recently, here is a post for a *scheduled* training class on 21 June 2021 just before this article’s publication. The event lists the “First Southern Baptist Church in Chino Valley” as “where the OK/YCPT Meetings are held”:
Another late summer 2020 Facebook event for a “Yavapai County Oath Keepers bi weekly meeting” included the FSBCCV as a meeting location, hosted by an organization known as the “Yavapai Patriots”.
The Yavapai Patriots are another important recent development to be discussed further below, too.
Oath Keepers relationship
The YCPT formed directly out of the national organization run by Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes. In 2015, the YCPT even got a pat on the back from the national organization, who reposted a positive news article about Jim’s organization on their site:
However, a recent fixture of YCPT media presence has been their continuing claim that they are no longer affiliated with the national Oath Keepers organization. Arroyo puts a timeline to this, saying in a recent meeting that he hasn’t talked with Rhodes in “over two years”. But it wasn’t always this way, as Jim has discussed even in the last year and six months the process by which the YCPT’s non-profit was created. Specifically, he summarizes a conversation that he and Rhodes allegedly had about forming the YCPT so that the group could apply for funding via grants federal and otherwise. The YCPT was incorporated in 2019 so Jim’s “two years” statement is at least close to that timeline.
Though the YCPT may have broken up with Rhodes, they clearly haven’t broken up with the idea of the Oath Keepers. Jim still wears OK gear, the group still maintains that they adhere to the 10 “Orders We Will Not Obey” outlined by Rhodes in 2009, and they still refer to their movement colloquially as Oath Keepers. They do this while simultaneously and fervently saying that the Oath Keepers are not a militia. This is in direct contradiction to the Oath Keepers founder’s opinion of the movement, which both he and national Oath Keeper writers have defined as a “militia’ in begging President Donald Trump to deputize the national organization for violence.
Ultimately, the definition of “militia” isn’t as important as the notion that the Oath Keepers nationally and the YCPT’s NPGs specifically, see themselves as armed arbiters of peace in direct opposition to movements to their left (from BLM to ‘antifa’ to the Democratic Party).
Connections to the GOP state apparatus
The Yavapai County Preparedness Team is quite well connected to their geographically-specific GOP state apparatus. At minimum in August 2020, November 2021, and March 2021, Arizona State Representative Quang Nguyen spoke at meetings for the organization. Nguyen said just ahead of the contentious 2020 election that not only was the Democratic Party the “Communist Party of America”, but that “the only good commie is a dead commie”, to thunderous applause. Quong is also the head of the Arizona State Rifle and Pistol Association and has used YCPT appearances to push for membership of the organization. Quong also identified himself in the March 2021 meeting that he “might be the only Oath Keeper down [in the Arizona Legislature]” alongside Wendy Rogers, for which he clarified “Yes. So one in the Senate, one in the House. And I’m not exactly real shy about it either.”
Wendy Rogers, an Arizona State Senator, has also boasted about her appearances at YCPT events, calling herself a member of the Oath Keepers on her Twitter page after attending an Arizona Oath Keepers meeting in Cottonwood. YCPT lead Jim Arroyo has also referred to Arizona State Representative Judy Burges as an ally of his movement, too.
YCPT meetings have been frequent campaign stops for would-be elected officials. In June 2020, US Senate candidate Daniel McCarthy described the current political moment of the day as “a literal war”, saying that “the United States is actually in the middle of a war right now… and that’s why you’re here.” Despite being a member of the Council for National Policy, McCarthy (a highly-moneyed conservative network which Anne Nelson describes as a “pluto-theocracy”) lost the Republican primary 3:1 to Martha McSally, who in turn lost to Democrat Mark Kelly.
Selina Bliss, a GOP candidate for Arizona State Representative, spoke at a June 2020 YCPT meeting before she lost a primary to Quang Nguyen and Judy Burges, both of whom went on to win against the Democratic candidate, Judy Stahl, for the two open seats as part of the 2020 election.
GOP candidate Harry Oberg, now an elected member of the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors, attended a July 2020 meeting of the YCPT, too. He spoke just after Jim described “your House of Representatives [and] your US Senate” as the group’s “domestic enemies”.
One of the three current members of the Arizona Corporation Commission, Jim O’Connor, also spoke at the June 2020 YCPT event that Selina Bliss spoke at.
YCPT lead Jim Arroyo has also claimed that US Representative Paul Gosar, who is representing Arizona, has met with the group, telling them that they are “in [a civil war], we just haven’t started shooting yet”. Gosar attended a 4 July 2020 event in Prescott, Arizona, where he took photos with men in Proud Boys shirts while a man in an Oath Keeper shirt looked on (see photo at left, via Vaughn Hillyard).
Paul Gosar is a far-right politician with connections to White Nationalists. He skipped a vote in the House to attend and speak at Nick Fuentes’ America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC) in March 2021. At AFPAC, attendees chanted his name in support. He’s also one of the members of the far-right “America First Caucus” that just released a policy platform in mid-April 2021. This caucus claims to push ‘a uniquely Anglo-Saxon political tradition’, a very thin dogwhistle even rejected by some other right-wing caucuses like the ‘Freedom Caucus’. The platform was so controversial, that three days after its release, the AFC’s frontwoman, Marjorie Taylor Greene, said she was suspending the caucus. As Trump was waffling over “many fine people” on “both sides”, Representative Paul Gosar continued to repeat the obviously false claim that 2017’s Unite the Right in Charlottesville VA, which led to the murder of Heather Heyer, was a ‘left-wing plot’. Gosar repeated similar dubious claims after the storming of the US Capitol Building on J6.
The Prescott E-News blog, which is unabashed in its admiration for the Oath Keepers in general and the YCPT specifically, has also detailed a lot of these relationships, writing just ahead of the 2020 election the following:
“Since 2016, I have attended a number of Oath Keeper meetings in Chino Valley and been invited to speak during political campaigns. To my knowledge, many other local officials and candidates including Rep. Noel Campbell, Sheriff Scott Mascher, Sheriff-elect David Rhodes, County Attorney Sheila Polk, County Supervisor Craig Brown and Representative-elect Judy Burgess have all spoken and been warmly received at Oath Keeper meetings. Representative-elect Quang Nguyen, a Vietnamese refugee, recently spoke to a standing room only crowd about his life under communism and his support for the Second Amendment.”
The previous statement is written by David Stringer, the owner and publisher of the Prescott E-News, who describes his media organization’s role in engaging with the YCPT as part of the Prescott E-News’ stance that they are “committed to providing a platform for [the YCPT’s] vital public service.”
David Stringer is a disgraced public official who was pushed to resign from the Prescott City Council over racist comments in 2018. Stringer was recorded in November 2018 expanding on his views on “multiculturalism”, saying that there aren’t “enough white kids to go around” in Arizona’s public schools, saying non-white Americans do not “blend in” after coming to the US, and calling immigration an “existential threat”.
Allegations related to this episode have featured highly on the Prescott E-News platform Stringer manages, including in an interview he hosted of himself with Prescott E-News staffer Glenn Martin. Behind the two, chatting at a table in July 2020, a “Stringer for County Attorney” sign sits below an “ENEWS” sign.
Technically, the Prescott E-News is not registered as an incorporated body in the state of Arizona. However, at the street address that the Prescott E-News team works (115 E Goodwin Street), there is a media company named “Specialized Publishing LLC” run by David Stringer that appears to be the body that controls the Prescott E-News. This Specialized Publishing LLC was founded in 2016 by Lynne LaMaster, who now runs CopperState news. Lynne lists on her LinkedIn that she was the owner and founder of “Prescott eNews” from June 2000 through May 2020. On the Arizona Corporation Commission’s site, the “Specialized Publishing LLC” previously owned and operated by LaMaster changed hands in April 2020, to be operated by Stringer at the 115 East Goodwin Street location:
The above filming location, used for most if not all Prescott E-News interviews and webcasts filmed inside, is the same location that Arroyo and Harworth discussed the YCPT’s NPG units. This is the same location that a multitude of Jim’s webcasts were recorded from for YCPT media channels (which have since been removed by the group from major platforms, but are all on Prescott eNews channels). Here’s one, featuring the same “ENEWS” sign and Arizona flag and an “OATH KEEPERS” flag in place of a campaign sign:
One such video series recorded at the Prescott E-News webcast table is a November 2020 take from Jim Arroyo on “The Coming Civil War”, a 1-hour-long discussion in two parts that was also removed from YCPT media channels.
Glenn Martin, the host with the Prescott E-News who interviewed David Stringer and has interviewed Jim and Janet Arroyo several times, is also a member of the YCPT’s Mewe group and actively posts as though he is not solely an observer but an outright member of the organization. Here he is around Christmas addressing the group as “Patriots”:
Glenn is a fairly constant poster in the YCPT’s Mewe group, posting 18 times to the group’s wall and in the chat within the day of writing this post, during which he shared a screenshot of a post by the aforementioned far-right AZ representative Quang Nguyen, adding, “This is his freshman term… wait till his next term…. He’s just warming up. Conservative Republican and Oath Keeper……”.
Paul Gosar, the right-wing GOP politician linked to white nationalist organizing and an originator of Arizona’s seemingly never-ending Stop the Steal endeavor, has also had his content reposted on the Prescott E-News site (archive) and on their Facebook page (live).
The YCPT site and media pages also give more insight into the group’s connections. The YCPT site has numerous pictures in a slideshow. Among these is a photo taken including Mike Rice (the group’s sole visible Black member) and Allen West, a high-profile Black Tea Party representative from Florida.
The above photo is likely at a campaign event but is presented as promotional material for the YCPT. Rice is wearing an Oath Keepers shirt and a United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA) morale patch on his hat, theater seating visible behind the two.
Other right-wing figures, such as Dave Hodges of “The Common Sense Show”, which spends a lot of time posting on caps lock about “CHICOMS” and “WW III”.
In 2016, The YCPT also was apparently engaged in polling place observation, according to Jim Arroyo. They did this in Arizona at the same time as Roger Stone’s “Stop the Steal” efforts of that election were underway in the state. Arroyo told journalists he and other Oath Keepers were there as part of “a surveillance operation”.
Connections to police
In the 60 Minutes interview of Jim Arroyo, Jim stated that active law enforcement are part of their group. He said this to push the group’s professionalism and knowledge. It’s a bit unclear about which officers are, but the group’s connections to law enforcement are easily detectable.
Among the YCPT meetings of 2020, at least one former NRA volunteer law enforcement instructor took the microphone to talk to the chapter. This man, first name Frank, claimed to have formerly provided instruction to the Maricopa County and Yavapai County Sherriffs’ offices. He came to the meeting to share his disdain for BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors at a July 2020 meeting, mostly because of her faculty position at Prescott College, in the YCPT’s own backyard. The Oath Keepers claim to be fighting against “neo-Marxists”, so much of Frank’s critique of Cullors is related to her interviews in which she identifies herself as a scholar of Marx.
The YCPT photo slideshow also features Jim Arroyo standing in front of an Oath Keepers tent next to an unnamed police officer wearing a shirt emblazoned with “Chief of Police” on it.
First up is confirming that this casualwear is part of a police department’s uniform. Thankfully, a quick search for Chino Valley police results in an article with the following photo, wherein the man on the left wears the same shirt as the man in the photo above, sans the “Chief of Police” stitching:
These two men are featured in an article about announcing a new police patch at a “National Night Out”, a pro-police community festival held in many locations in the US. The Chino Valley website has a webpage devoted to this exact event, describing its goals:
In the screenshot above, the CVPD’s chief is listed as “Charles Wynn”, who had a 2015 profile in the Daily Courier, the same outlet as published the story on the department’s new “modern” looking patch. In his profile, he is seated at a desk and named as “Chuck Wynn”:
The National Night Out appears to be a pretty big deal in Chino Valley, and has become a yearly tradition known for the seasonal pro-cop party. In a recap video with an assortment of strange skits about the musical acts for the 2016 Night Out, Chief Wynn is visible, wearing his casual shirt and a confused look:
The Chino Valley Police Department also has sold patches and hats at Mazy’s, the gun store where YCPT leader Jim Arroyo works as a gunsmith:
Prescott E-News indicated that they attended a YCPT meeting with Sheriff Scott Mascher in attendance. The YCPT’s slideshow also has a photo of Mr. Mascher from before he retired:
The same is the case for far-right Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who took a glamor shot with multiple YCPT members, including Mike Rice and Jim Arroyo, here:
The connections and comraderie with police isn’t something of the past, either, as the YCPT plans to hang out with police for a fundraiser a few days after this post was written:
YCPT Tangoes: ‘Antifa’ and ‘BLM’
Jim Arroyo, like most Oath Keepers and indeed those in his own unit, are extremely concerned about the specter haunting Chino Valley, Arizona: leftist shenanigans. 95.5% of all videos viewed by MilitiaWatch as part of this investigation mentioned ‘Antifa’ and 86.4% mentioned ‘BLM’. Both of which are often mentioned together and interchangeably. In a discussion about “Neighborhood Watch” programs, these actors serve as a boogeyman for which the Oath Keepers are to respond with force of arms. Those patrolling the street on behalf of the YCPT are to send a warning via walkie-talkie to a central ‘command’, which then sends out a ‘Quick Reaction Force’ (or ‘QRF’) to dissuade their adversaries.
In a May 2021 community meeting, the YCPT leader detailed the actions of Black Hammer, specifically a cadre of the group that had bought land in Colorado. Jim Arroyo said that the group — which he and other meeting attendees ridiculed over being feckless and ineffective — was evidence that communists had also taken over the United States. Shortly thereafter, Jim added that the “U.S. military has been heavily penetrated by the Communist Party — witchcraft, all kinds of crazy religions”. The ‘threat environment’ of the YCPT, like with the Oath Keepers they claim to have distanced themselves from and the militia movement they claim not to be a part of, is exceedingly broad, convoluted, and ever-growing. These types of discussions — melding discussions about adversaries with complaints about the current state of affairs in the US — are a staple of YCPT meetings.
There is not yet any evidence that YCPT has ever interacted with BLM, Antifa, or other leftists. Nor is there yet documentation that they have activated the NPGs to respond to rumors about their adversaries.
As mentioned above, the YCPT incorporated as a non-profit to seek donations for disaster relief. While they have reported some individual donations, it does not yet appear that they have been successful in earning a major grant, private or federal or otherwise. As early as March 2020, Jim was saying they had the 501c3 specifically to apply for funding and grants, a line he has repeated during many meetings.
One of the things that seems to indicate a posture towards a possible channel for funding is the YCPT’s alignment with CERT programs, the “Community Emergency Response Team” federal program that seeks to teach preparedness to communities before disaster response is needed. They have CERT logos alongside “Stop the Bleed” logos on their physical and web banners.
There is a Yavapai County CERT organization that is active in Prescott Valley:
And the Yavapai County CERT group has hosted Jim and his big YCPT banner at least once in May 2019:
The Yavapai County CERT has also advertised a Three Percenters Original first aid training in the summer of 2019, too:
In addition to establishing the YCPT as a non-profit for donations and grant funding, Jim has used YCPT meeting time to advertise the group’s coffee, known as “YCPT BREW”, with its own corresponding line of YCPT-branded mugs. In transmissions, Jim refers to his coffee guy as “Jason”, pointing him out to the crowd from his table at the front of the room.
While this isn’t enough to determine who is supplying the group the coffee to sell, the YCPT posted on social media to advertise their coffee, which had a like from a Jason:
Jason Pangburn, as he is named on social media, has been a longtime member of the social media platform that the YCPT uses since 2014 (one of the earliest MilitiaWatch has seen):
Jason lists two companies on his profile: Divinitus Coffee and Beard Rescue. Divinitus Coffee just so happens to be listed on the bag posted by YCPT, too, located in “Dewey, Arizona”:
It wasn’t hard to confirm Jason as the person in charge of Divinitus Coffee, which did, in fact, say it was incorporated in Dewey, Arizona at a location about half an hour away from the YCPT’s meeting location at First Southern Baptist Church.
Just out of curiosity, we then looked up the Beard Rescue company, which helpfully posted a semi-obscured trademark document on public social media:
This was not hard to find on the Trademark Electronic Search System, and the owner/registrant was located at the same street address as the Divinitus Coffee LLC (obscured for privacy) in Dewey, Arizona:
To top it all off (and perhaps to make this tangent unimportant), a Facebook account belonging to someone with the same name and with photos that bear the same resemblance posted the following:
This 30 May 2021 post by Jason shows an admittance that he attended one of the YCPT’s trainings in Prescott, a city nearer than Chino Valley to the locations Jason’s companies are incorporated.
There are two important developments that speak to the direction of the YCPT. The first is a recalibration of their brand of Oath Keepers, nationally. The second is the group’s new “political wing”, launched in June after months of low-grade activity and planning.
The YCPT came out of a national movement (the Oath Keepers), split from the national organization over being alienated from national, and have now moved to establish a new national organization using their chapter’s name. This national organization was created for a few different reasons, a primary one likely is to funnel interest in the Oath Keepers from the 60 Minutes interview towards an organization. As of the time of writing, YCPT’s national organization has claimed to have chapters in Arizona and Illinois. Arroyo has said that the national body, like the Arizona chapter that precedes it, is pushing to incorporate as a tax-exempt non-profit to seek federal funding.
While YCPT’s incorporation is on the books with the Arizona Corporation Commission, the national organization has yet to clear onto the agency’s site. There are delays related to incorporation that may explain this, but it points to the newness of the YCPT’s nationwide expansion when compared to the 2-year-long operation window of the YCPT under legal filings with the state.
The YCPT’s new national organization appears to be a realization of an aspirational organization that Arroyo and company have been discussing for a while. So far, the organization is only in its infancy, but has established a chapter in Illinois and there are claims of other chapters being organized in Florida and elsewhere. This new development shows the YCPT in AZ understands competition in the far-right/prepper space and specifically that Rhodes’ Oath Keepers organization is looking quite weak on the national state. It also speaks to how important it is not to platform the group or their members because they have very much used several prominent media appearances to translate aspiration into organizational inertia. If they keep receiving this kind of major coverage (positive or otherwise), they will likely be able to continue to translate attention into organization.
Established and led by “Lyle Rapacki” of Prescott Arizona, the “Yavapai Patriots” have made a recent feature at YCPT meetings. They filed to incorporate on 26 May 2021 as a domestic LLC for “Civic information and education” as their type. A trade name reservation was submitted in March 2021 ahead of the establishment of the LLC.
On 10 May 2021, Lyle Rapacki’s news about establishing the “Yavapai Patriots” was published on the group’s Facebook, with the subheader of none other than the constantly featured Prescott E-News:
Lyle Rapacki, because this network is so tightly wrapped, is of course also the host of a show on the Prescott E-News media environment. His program, “Arizona Today” has 20 uploads to its name, mostly about theories about how the election can be overturned:
Rapacki has run intelligence consulting firms for years. In 2009 he incorporated “Sentinel Intelligence Services, LLC”, and by a year later, had apparently written a leaked document labeled as an intelligence briefing on “Mexican Drug Gangs taking Over National Parks”. Within this document, Dr. Lyle argues that these cartels are growing “highly potent marijuana”:
The same report also argues that “Drug cartels hire marijuana experts” in their quest for more potent drugs to sell on the American market, which the cartels, Rapacki argues, intend “to take over… similarly to what they have with the methamphetamine business.”
The Yavapai Patriots, Lyle’s newest endeavor tacitly connected to the YCPT, is specifically an Arizona-based Political Action Committee. According to Transparency USA, the group has earned contributions of $5812 at the time of writing. The largest single donor is Lyle himself, who donated $1553 to the PAC.
The YCPT is quite cozy with the Yavapai Patriots. Arroyo says he is a member of the Yavapai Patriots and attends their meetings, and allowed a representative to speak at his Oath Keepers meeting in June to fill the void of electoral action that the YCPT’s legal standing does not allow.
Prescott E-News is also quite cozy with the Yavapai Patriots. Not only was the group announced on their site and led by one of their writers/content creators, but Dr. Rapacki lists his address as the same building as Prescott E-News. Here’s Google’s Streetview of the office building, with a Prescott E-News-emblazoned car in the handicap parking outside:
So who do the Yavapai Patriots fund?
The Yavapai Patriots have only one expenditure on behalf of a candidate. This was $350 made to the campaign of Mark Finchem, a member of the Arizona House of Representatives. March Finchem is the Arizona lead for the Coalition of Western States, which supported the Bundy occupation in Malheur Oregon, for which Finchem himself promoted three standoffs over email. Finchem called Unite the Right a “Deep State” operation staged by Democrats, an argument he made in a blog post on his campaign website in 2017 following the deadly riot. Finchem is also a member of the Oath Keepers, according to an interview in 2014, during which he said “I’m an Oath Keeper committed to the exercise of limited, constitutional governance.” Finchem, like most politicians listed previously in this post, supported the “Stop the Steal” movement in Arizona, earning himself the disdain of many members of the Arizona Legislature.
This article has named a ton of individuals, organizations, and the linkages between them. This can be difficult to grapple in just dry text and an occasional image, so here is a network visualization of all people and organizations mentioned here, sized by number of direct connections:
This is an exceptionally tight network (community detection determined essentially just 1 community of nodes). This is partially due to the way that network nodes were gathered — those who take photos and attend meetings or organize together are likely to do the same with others within the same network. One thing that is telling, though, is how close the GOP and the police are within this network.
The other story here is the potential flow of information from movements outside of the YCPT’s immediate sphere and into a large, primed audience. The group is not in direct content with but also is not far from actors such as Ammon Bundy or Nick Fuentes, for example.
The YCPT appears to be vying for national relevance and legal recognition currently, with the understanding that this could translate to authority and finances tomorrow. Their history of focus on political adversaries, military-flavored response organizations, and endless discussions of US civil war is unavoidably informing this future. The YCPT’s ability to bring dozens and hundreds of participants at their events speaks to their size and influence in a waning Oath Keepers field, something they seem to be actively trying to use to their advantage.