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January 26, 2024 01:52 PM UTC

‘You Have to be Willing to be Arrested’ — The Gideon 300 Training for Civil Disobedience

  • by: James O'Rourke

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

by Heidi Beedle and James O’Rourke

During a Spunky Patriots meeting on Oct. 17, 2023, members of the conservative activist group practiced resisting arrest at Brave Church, formerly Fervent Church, in Colorado Springs.

“They are coming to arrest your brothers and sisters,” said podcast host, election conspiracist, and defamation defendant Joe Oltmann. “Just because the police are going to make a bad choice doesn’t mean that we do. We do not let somebody’s bad behavior dictate our behavior. But they’re coming to arrest — we’re all brothers and sisters in Christ, so they’re going to come right now, and they’re going to try to arrest these two ladies who are your sisters. If your sister is up here, what do you do? You surround them. … Everyone build a large wall around them … While this is happening you’re still talking. You’re still talking about election fraud.”

Attendees stood up from their chairs and gathered in the center of the room. “The police are going to try to get in,” warned Oltmann. “Shoulder-to-shoulder, shoulder-to-shoulder. … What do you say, when the police come up to arrest you? ‘What you do to one of us you do to all of us.’ Say it. Stand with the tyrants or stand with the people.”

After the patriot version of a de-arrest drill, Oltmann encouraged the audience to harass elected officials. “That’s what you do over and over again, and they get no peace,” said Oltmann. “Their wives get no peace. Their families get no peace. We call their work. We call them over and over again, ‘We want no machines, we want hand counts, we want no mail-in ballots. It’s day-of [voting], bring your ID.’ We deserve a voice. That’s not transparent, stop lying to us. Are we going to negotiate? Are you trying to negotiate with terrorists? Is it terroristic to take away your ability to affect what happens in your community? Stealing the election is the one thing you have.”

Oltmann’s disputed claims about an alleged “Antifa conference call” involving former Dominion Voting Systems executive Eric Coomer are central to conspiracies that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. Oltmann — along with his entities FEC United and Shuffling Madness Media, ultra-conservative pundit Michelle Malkin, James “Jim” Hoft of The Gateway Pundit, podcaster Eric Metaxas, One American News Network (OAN) and Chanel Rion, Sidney Powell and her organization Defending the Republic, Trump lawyer Rudolph Giuliani, and the Trump Campaign — were named as defendants in a 2021 defamation lawsuit filed by Coomer. OAN and Chanel Rion settled with Coomer in September 2023. The remaining defendants are waiting on a ruling on their motions to appeal the May 2022 denial of anti-SLAPP motions by Denver District Court Judge Marie Moses, who said Oltmann’s claims were “evasive and not credible,” and concluded that Oltmann’s “statements regarding that conference call are probably false.”

Violent and hyperbolic rhetoric is nothing new from Oltmann, who has called for Gov. Jared Polis to be hanged. But now, Oltmann and his partner in election fraud conspiracies, former New Mexico business professor turned election conspiracy filmmaker David Clements, are urging their followers to engage in large-scale civil disobedience with a project they are calling the “Gideon 300,” named after the biblical figure Gideon, who won a decisive victory over a Midianite army despite a vast disadvantage, leading a troop of 300 valiant men.

“We want 300 or more warriors — spearheaded really through the local church,” explained Clements during an episode of Oltmann’s “Conservative Daily” podcast earlier this month. “If you’ve got local churches that are walking with the Lord, you’ve already got a population that’s there. The churches have to rise up, but if they don’t it’s going to have to be the patriots that we’ve found. The idea is that we have 3,000-plus counties that have these units. When I say ‘warriors,’ warriors aren’t afraid to die. They’re not afraid to be arrested. I mean, we don’t want people that are going to show up to these local commissioner meetings, that are minding their pleases and thank yous and they’re just scared. That’s not what we’re looking for. We’re looking for the people that see clearly and so the ask is pretty simple. What do we do when we get there? You need to demand the withholding of certification of election equipment and results where the jurisdiction uses defective products — which we’ve already proven — that facilitate inaccuracy, a lack of transparency, in other words, it facilitates fraud. That’s the demand.”

Last week, during an appearance on the “All Politics is Local” podcast, Clements doubled down on his call for people to get arrested at local board meetings. “You have to be willing to be arrested,” he said. “You have to be willing to be jailed over this. This is like an abolitionist movement. If you’ve got great numbers, the chances of you being arrested, with a packed room, is zero … It’s going to be that level of agitation and commitment over the next nine months.”

In lieu of getting arrested, Clements actually hopes he and Oltmann can sway local law enforcement to their side. “Sheriffs that enforce or coerce forcible removal of members of the public, when the public presents concerns over fraud, are in violation of their oaths and must stand with their constituents over the feckless politicians,” he said on Oltmann’s podcast. “One of the ways you do this — don’t wait until you’re confronted with a sheriff’s deputy at a local meeting, you all should be engaging and going to sheriff’s offices, and talking with them and the deputies. Saying, ‘Look, we’re having a bunch of patriots show up to this meeting because we haven’t been heard, and our expectation is that you’re going to stand with us since we elected you.’”

On Jan. 15, Oltmann posted on social media that the Gideon 300 project is nonviolent. “Share that there is a Gideon Project to force the people stealing our voice to surrender to the will of the people,” he urged. “No violence, only force.”

Clements issued a plea for members on Oltmann’s podcast. “You need to recruit veterans,” he said. “You need to recruit disenfranchised law enforcement.”

Oltmann and Clements on “Conservative Daily.”

The Gideon 300 appears to have its roots in Michigan. According to the Michigan Corporations Online Filing System, the Gideon 300, Inc. was registered Oct. 19, 2023 by Patrick Muir, a former Woodland Park resident, Jack Tuuk, and Joseph Potgeter.

Oltmann has denied any involvement with the Michigan-based Gideon 300, but Oltmann has connections to far-right Michigan politics. In 2021, he launched a Michigan chapter of FEC United, though the group ultimately rebranded itself as Liberty Leaders Unite last year.

Ottawa County, where The Gideon 300 is based, has become a hotbed for far-right politics in Michigan. In the 2022 election, the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners was taken over by candidates backed by Ottawa Impact, a conservative Christian activist group. With Ottawa Impact members holding a strong majority on the board, they almost immediately began dismantling the county’s public health department, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion office, and anything else that they could claim supported abortion or LGBTQ people.

In the Gideon 300’s articles of incorporation, Gregory Todd is listed as Muir’s attorney. Todd is currently running for Ottawa County prosecutor.

Gideon 300 takes similar ideological stances. A page on the website singles out certain people as “poisoning” Ottawa County. Along with an array of local activists and national media, it also lists the health department, including specific officials who had already been the target of much ire over the course of 2023.

In May, the Board of Commissioners passed a resolution to make Ottawa County a “constitutional county,” meaning that the county would not enforce any laws “restricts the rights of any law-abiding citizen affirmed by the United States Constitution.” The commissioners were especially concerned with protecting freedom of religion and gun rights, both of which they felt were under threat in a Democrat-controlled state.

Another constitutional county resolution had previously passed in Livingston County. Michigan Advance reported that the resolution had been promoted by FEC United Michigan, which invoked COVID conspiracies to threaten that President Joe Biden planned “to take away our sovereignty as soon as the next pandemic emerges.”

Gideon 300 seemingly has connections to the far-right commissioners. On the Events page of its site, Gideon 300 previously advertised that during its January group meeting attendees could learn “the truth about what’s going on in our County… directly from Ottawa County Commissioners.”

The event, which would have been held on Jan. 20, has since been taken off the site to make way for February’s group meeting.

The Gideon 300’s website also has a membership page. For $50 a year, members gain access to a social media platform to join “like-minded men” to become “well-informed by doing the ‘homework.’” In 2022, Oltmann attempted to roll out a similar program for FEC United in 2022, where in addition to paying the annual FEC United membership fee, members could sign up for The People’s Chamber of Commerce and have access to a network of like-minded, patriot businesses, in theory bypassing “big tech” platforms like Amazon or Google, frequent targets of Oltmann’s ire on his podcast.

“Take chess pieces off the table, or you will never have a fair election at any level and chaos and our ultimate demise will continue,” wrote Oltmann on social media. “God is sovereign, and he sent you at this time. 300-500 is not that hard. All you have to do is decide you are willing to lead in humility. Do not need a grand plan. Just the power of the word ‘No’ and the ability to create courageous density.”

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect Oltmann’s statement that he is not involved with the Michigan-based Gideon 300 group.


12 thoughts on “‘You Have to be Willing to be Arrested’ — The Gideon 300 Training for Civil Disobedience

  1. Spunky Patriots?  Are they serious?

    Why not the Bukkake Boys?

    I'm visualing a large group of overweight, over 50, white men jerking off onto a woman or man draped in the American flag.

  2. To be honest, this is pretty much what the left needs to do: train and support an army of activists that are not afraid, willing to get arrested, attend meetings, persuade police officers, etc and confront the right, with forceful but nonviolent activism.

    1. Therein lies a problem, Martin.

      When you say, "the left"…who would that be? I can't think of a banner under which to gather that force. Liberals are notoriously unwilling to follow the leader. Magats, and their ilk are just the opposite.

      I don't think the Democrats can do it because of the malign corporate interests baked in to that cake. Something like a militant wing of the League of Women Voters, in cahoots with a couple of LGBTQ organizations, PETA, and some environmentalists.

      They could start by organizing against what the SCOTUS is about to do to NEPA.


      1. "When you say, "the left"…who would that be? I can't think of a banner under which to gather that force."

        When you watch Fox, or OAN, or Newsmax, they would have you believe we are all part of an underground army poised to attack with our battle hardened soldiers of wokeness back from another successful War on Christmas. 


  3. re:  "You need to demand the withholding of certification of election equipment and results where the jurisdiction uses defective products — which we’ve already proven — that facilitate inaccuracy, a lack of transparency, in other words, it facilitates fraud."

    I'm not certain they are using "proven" in any sense I'd recognize. 

    I know of no court judgment (criminal OR civil) even casting doubt on the effectiveness of the election products.  I don't know of any state election official who has officially decertified any product.  I know of no sales competition among multiple providers showing a crucial security flaw.

    Anyone have a link for any "proof" or decision endorsed in some sort of official government act? . 

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