(Filed under “disturbing” – Promoted by Colorado Pols)
FEC United, a new conservative political group, organized the Oct. 10 “Patriot Muster” rally in Denver’s Civic Center Park. The event turned deadly immediately after its conclusion when a private security guard hired by 9News to protect its reporters shot and killed a rally attendee who pepper sprayed him.
As the event’s name implies (“muster” means to assemble military troops), the rally was a call to action for armed supporters to gather publicly. FEC United has its own armed group called the United American Defense Force (UADF), led by former Benghazi security contractor John Tiegen. The “defense force” doesn’t use the word “militia,” but it is indistinguishable from other coordinated groups of armed civilians. The UADF is just one component of FEC United’s multi-pronged organization (FEC stand for Faith, Education & Commerce) that has ambitions to be a national political & policy membership organization for the religious right.
While FEC intends to organize in churches, schools and businesses, it was the “defense force” that was most visible on Saturday. According to the group’s website, membership requires a background check and provides benefits including “insurance protection for use of force; discounts on ammunition; medical supplies; hard goods; soft goods; weapons, tactical, and CPR/ first aid training, as well as public safety notifications.”
UADF charges members $50 to join as well as $10 monthly dues, a policy that sets it apart from other militia groups such as the III% United Patriots of Colorado. The leader of that militia released a statement saying he would not endorse UADF or encourage his members to join up specifically because of the fee structure and because “the same guy collecting the funds also owns the store which you get a discount in which didn’t sit well with several of us.”
Most of the UADF members wore shirts sporting the group’s logo. Many also wore military-style fatigues with patches of other militia groups, such as the Three Percenters and Oath Keepers.
Speakers included UADF leader John Tiegen, GOP Congressional candidate Casper Stockham, self-defense instructor Jimmy Grahm and Major League Liberty podcast host Louie Huey who expressed his continued support for the Proud Boys.
Oltmann addressed the group, dismissing COVID-19 as a “Plandemic” and saying he founded the group to reclaim freedoms and constitutional rights he believed were being taken away by an unnamed “them,” presumably the government.
“When we set out to build FEC United, it had more to do with protecting our community, with holding on to what is ours. There are lots of people that have lost everything through this “Plandemic.” If you believe in the pandemic then that’s on you, but you have a choice because this is America. You have a choice in what you believe, in whether you wear a mask. That’s what this country is about- choosing your risk. I saw them taking away our freedoms. The constitutional integrity of our country disappearing overnight, and I saw Americans literally letting it happen.
So we had no choice. FEC United is the part that has a voice and has teeth. It will have a law and policy center that will allow us to file lawsuits and get involved in legislation- and to have a season of recalls!”
FEC United’s law and policy center doesn’t exist yet, but it’s already active in the political arena.
Colorado GOP Vice-Chair Kristi Burton Brown is actively involved in building the group’s law and policy center, telling an audience of FEC members in a presentation last week that “we have people who can intimidate the left.” Brown did not immediately return a message requesting comment.
The group was initially set up as a for-profit company called Unite Colorado, LLC. In the Q&A portion of Brown’s presentation, Oltmann explains that they did that to “hide all the numbers from the government.” He goes on to say they with the help of other groups like Americans for Prosperity they realized that wasn’t the best structure, and instead the entity will become a trio of nonprofits: 501c3, 501c4 and 501c6 organizations. FEC United registered those entities with the state on Oct. 8.
The group is organizing field efforts for several Republican statehouse candidates.
At least one of the candidates receiving FEC United’s support, Lynn Gerber, has signed the group’s pledge, which commits aspiring elected officials to oppose all government restrictions on business owners and parents.
FEC United is also sending emails on behalf of the Colorado Republican Party and the Trump campaign. An Oct. 6 email asked Denver supporters to attend a fundraising event for state senate candidate Doug Townsend, and provided Colorado GOP Regional Field Director Blake Alfred’s name and phone number as a contact.
The group also asked its email list members to sign up with the RNC’s “Army for Trump” poll watcher program, claiming that “Democrats have been actively stacking the poll-watching positions with their own people, and this will only contribute to the fraud…Join Our Election Day Team!”
Part of FEC’s success in online organizing is no doubt due to its founder’s years of experience in marketing conservative politics online. Castle Rock resident Joe Oltmann is a digital advertising strategist who also owns Advocacy to Action, a “Political Marketing Platform” and Conservative Daily, a hyper-partisan conspiracy site that pushes a mix of real and fake news stories, with inflammatory headlines such as ““Breaking: United Nations Caught Helping and Coaching Caravan Illegal Aliens!” Each CD “news” story includes a “call to action,” which is actually a sales pitch to pay Advocacy to Action to send faxes to Congress on the reader’s behalf.
Messages requesting comment from Oltmann via phone and Facebook were not immediately returned. This article will be updated with any response received.
This article first appeared on the Colorado Times Recorder.