Monthly: May 24

Greetings, MW reader, and happy Pride! Here’s a very light monthly roundup for May 2024, featuring a couple of key stories related to the following:

  • Bundy’s followers running for office in Oregon, setting up amateur radio stations
  • An arrest and a guilty plea for a Patriot Movement supporter and militia member, respectively

And here’s last month’s update in case you missed something in April:

People’s Rights Running for Office

As revealed by Jason Wilson in The Guardian, at least 66 members of Ammon Bundy’s People’s Rights Network (PRN) have run for office as part of the Republican Party in Oregon. These candidates are members of People’s Rights Oregon 5 and were heavily featured on radiowaves hosted by PRN which were, in turn, intercepted and recorded by an amateur radio user. As expressed by Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights (IREHR) president Devin Burghart, this campaign figures into the group’s strategy for local office, which mirrors Dan Schultz’s “precinct strategy”. PRN founder Ammon Bundy is still a fugitive, evading repercussions for his political activism. 

An Arrest and a Plea

On 17 May, police in Pekin, Illinois pulled over Dalton Mattus. They allegedly found pipe bombs in a bag in his backseat and went to arrest him, leading to a brief standoff. On May 22, a judge in Tazewell County ordered that Mattus remain in jail awaiting his court hearing on June 20. The Rolling Stone and American Doom investigated Mattus’s social media accounts and found a slew of right-wing and especially Patriot Movement content he had posted. For example, in 2020, Mattus wrote, “If it was up to me I would gather patriots and go to civil war against these domestic terroris”. 

Louisiana man Dan Wilson pleaded guilty to conspiracy to impede or injure a federal officer for his role in the storming of the US Capitol Building on 6 January 2021. Ahead of his participation, Wilson attempted to coordinate with others planning to travel to DC, describing himself as a member of the “Gray Ghost Militia”. Pondering the usefulness of both guns and civil war, Wilson also wrote, “if we go to a Civil War do we try to take Washington DC first or do we try to take state capitals first.” Wilson also participated in J6-related Zello channels.

As revealed as part of a previous MW joint investigation, it appears that Wilson likely also administrated a Zello channel for the Indiana chapter of the American Patriots III%. Notably, MW flagged his account and associated APIII channels to Zello in October 2020, 3 months before he would use the platform to coordinate storming the Capitol. Zello would not take action against militias on its platform until a week after J6, following revelations of its use during the day of the storming.

Further reading: 

  • Amy Cooter, writing for The Conversation, shares her thoughts on militias’ relationship to Facebook bans