Joe Oltmann’s Rise to Power in Colorado – Colorado Times Recorder

joe-oltmann’s-rise-to-power-in-colorado-–-colorado-times-recorder

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During this Saturday’s Colorado Republican assembly, which saw election-conspiracist candidates like Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters and Rep. Ron Hanks (R-Cañon City) get top billing on June’s primary ballot, Rep. Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock), seconded a motion to nominate FEC United founder Joe Oltmann for governor.

Oltmann has been influential in stoking election conspiracy claims, not just with his own story of catching Dominion Voting Systems executive Eric Coomer on an “Antifa conference call,” but by platforming some of the biggest names in the election conspiracy world like Patrick Byrne, Doug Logan, Jovan Pulitzer, Seth Keshel, Clay Clark and others. The Colorado Times Recorder has compiled a timeline of Oltmann and FEC United’s meteoric rise to the top of conservative politics in Colorado.

Reopen Colorado – May 2020

Oltmann’s political organizing efforts begin in May, 2020, with a rally at the state Capitol to protest COVID-19 restrictions that were put in place at the beginning of the pandemic. The rally on May 1, 2020, drew the attention of a militia group that planned to openly carry firearms, which is prohibited in Denver, at the event. One of the militia members, Bradley Bunn, was the subject of an FBI raid the day of the rally. Bunn was charged with possession of destructive devices, specifically four pipe bombs. Oltmann told Vice News that Bunn was not associated with the event, which he described as “non-politically affiliated.” Bunn was sentenced in October 2021 to time served and three years probation.

On May 26, 2020, the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights (IREHR), identified Oltmann as the administrator of a reopen Facebook group and critiqued his conspiracy-laden posts alongside a profile of far-right pundit Michelle Malkin, whose close ties to white supremacists like Nick Fuentes of America First and Patrick Casey, former leader of Identity Evropa and American Identity Movement, have been thoroughly documented. The IREHR noted, “Playing on long-standing ideas with roots in anti-Semitism, such conspiracy ‘theories’ reduce complex political and economic relations and actions to the machinations of an invisible elite – Oltmann, for instance, writing that ‘We can’t see the deep state but the Deep State sees us.’ Across the variety of politics at play in the ‘reopen’ mobilization, conspiracy theories also emerge as reactionary attacks on efforts to address societal inequality.”

Black Lives Matter protests – June 2020

On his podcast, Conservative Daily, Oltmann frequently cites the June 2020 Black Lives Matter protests as an example of the dangers of “Antifa” and BLM. Denver and Colorado Springs both experienced violent clashes with police from approximately May 30, 2020, to June 3, 2020. Despite Oltmann’s frequent claims that Antifa was “burning down buildings,” the city of Denver was recently ordered to pay $14 million to 12 protesters who were injured by police during the protests. Colorado Springs also paid $175,000 to a protester for excessive use of force during a June 2, 2020, arrest.

During the Colorado Springs protest, John Tiegen, the Benghazi veteran and former Marine who would go on to form United American Defense Force, the militia arm of FEC United, appeared during a June 6, 2020 speech by University of Colorado at Colorado Springs professor Stephany Rose Spaulding. Tiegen and approximately seven other armed individuals set up a hasty observation post, with a spotting scope and a scoped rifle with a suppressor, on top of a city parking garage overlooking Spaulding’s speech. Tiegen repeated debunked conspiracy theories about “busloads of Antifa” to justify his presence there. Tiegen claimed to have received intelligence from law enforcement agencies, but the Colorado Springs Police Department denied sharing any information with Tiegen.

Tiegen’s observation post during the June 6 speech from UCCS professor Stephany Rose Spaulding.

Civic Center Police Rally – July 2020

A pro-police rally at Civic Center Park on July 19, 2020, which was promoted by conservative radio figure Randy Corporon, was interrupted by a large crowd of anti-police protesters. The anti-police crowd sprayed silly string on attendees, used noisemakers to disrupt speakers and was involved in scuffles with the pro-police crowd.

During the July 21 episode of Conservative Daily, Oltmann, appearing under the pseudonym “Joe Otto,” admitted to participating in the violence during the July 19 “Back the Blue” rally: “One of the guys came in and was trying to destroy the equipment and then jumped on the back of one of the guys and took one of the guys down, so then I just nailed this guy. I haven’t gotten into a fistfight in a long time. I knocked that guy out,” he said.

Oltmann promised there would be another rally, and that they would be ready for Antifa. “We’re gonna have another rally in three weeks and we’re gonna be prepared. I hope Antifa shows up. I hope they do,” he said, going on to claim, “The next one, no one’s leaving. Not only is no one leaving, but it’s going to be an ass-whupping of magnificent proportions.”

Oltmann also said the next rally would be organized with the intention of drawing out Antifa. “We’re done being respectful. When we have this future event, we’re going to publicize it, and we hope they come,” he said.

FEC United – August 2020

By August, FEC United was established and began holding recruitment meetings across the Front Range. Churches in Douglas and El Paso Counties hosted FEC United events, and Colorado Springs Independent reporter Pam Zubeck raised concerns about these events violating COVID-19 capacity restrictions.

On Aug. 28, Tiegen and a group of armored men showed up to oppose protests in downtown Denver. Tiegen claims the event was not a UADF action. 

Patriot Muster – October 2020

On October 10, 2020, FEC United, UADF, and other conservative groups and figures, including former Denver-area Proud Boy and podcaster Louie Huey, gather in Civic Center Park for a Patriot Muster. In opposition, a coalition of leftist groups, led by the Denver Communists, organized a counter-protest dubbed “BLM-Antifa Soup Drive,” a reference to comments made by Donald Trump that Antifa uses cans of soup as weapons.

A flyer of the BLM-Antifa Soup Drive organized by the Denver Communists.

At the conclusion of the event, Lee Keltner, an attendee of the Patriot Muster, assaulted Matthew Dolloff, a contracted security guard for Pinkerton, assigned to 9News. Dolloff shot and killed Keltner in self-defense. Oltmann baselessly accused 9News of orchestrating the incident.

Five days later Oltmann appeared at an FEC United event at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, and threatened journalists who “write bad things” about him. Oltmann threatened to sue outlets that were critical of him and put up billboards of “Antifa journalists.”

“They’ll run out of money before I do,” Oltmann said at the event that also featured video messages from Eric Trump and then Colorado GOP Vice-Chair Kristi Burton Brown, who would go on to serve briefly as FEC United’s president.

To date, Oltmann has not filed any lawsuits against Colorado journalists, or purchased any billboard space, and is currently soliciting donations to his Give Send Go, citing financial difficulties from the defamation suit filed against him by Coomer.

The 2020 Election – November 2020

Following President Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump, right-wing media figures begin to question the integrity of the 2020 Presidential election. On a November, 2020, episode of Conservative Daily, Oltmann reveals that he was on an “Antifa conference call” and claims he heard someone he identified as Coomer say, “Don’t worry about the election, Trump is not gonna win. I made f-ing sure of that. Hahahaha.” Oltmann went on to claim that Dominion Voting Systems, Coomer, and Antifa took part in a conspiracy to steal the 2020 election.

On Nov. 5, the Colorado Springs Police Department was called to a Lowe’s parking lot where armed UADF members caused alarm among employees. No one was arrested or cited for violating any laws. 

On Nov. 13, 2020, Oltmann appeared on Michelle Malkin’s program, and went on to appear on a variety of right-wing podcasts and news programs, including former U.S. Senate candidate Deborah Flora’s KNUS show, spreading his claims that Coomer stole the 2020 Presidential election.

Flora hosted Oltmann on her KNUS program.

Also on Nov. 13, 2020, Oltmann signed an affidavit for lawyer Sidney Powell, repeating his claims about Coomer, and also making false claims about this reporter. Oltmann’s affidavit would be included in the lawsuits Powell filed in battleground states seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 Presidential election. As a result of those lawsuits, the State Bar of Texas has accused Powell of professional misconduct and called her lawsuits “frivolous.”

Harassment Campaigns and Lawsuits – December 2020

On Dec. 6, 2020, Oltmann posted a photo of Coomer’s Salida home on Parler with the caption, “I’ve been busy doing 15 interviews in the last 2 days. Was told today, after questioning why the MSM has not picked up Eric Coomer, that I was ‘breaking something they are running away from’ What the living hell is that supposed to mean? Antifa in the middle of 28 states, by proxy one of the largest shareholders in Dominion Voting Systems. So it is up to you. Blow this shit up. Share, put his name everywhere. No rest for this shitbag. Eric Coomer, Eric Coomer, Eric Coomer. This shitbag and the corrupt asshats in Dominion Voting systems must not steal our election and our country! Eric we are watching you…”

Oltmann has attempted to deny he authored this Parler post.

During his Sept. 17, 2021 deposition, Oltmann claimed he didn’t actually make that Parler post. “I don’t know if I posted it,” he said. “To me, something like that would be an echo. It would not be — an echo is where you basically repost somebody else’s post.”

In Douglas County, Mark Hall, an FEC United member and co-chair of the Parker Republicans, began publishing the names and home addresses of public health workers. “We will publish the names/addresses of these people with no law enforcement abilities,” Hall posted to the Facebook group, according to 9News. “If they want a war, we can give them that but it is time for a revolution.”

On Dec. 22, 2020, Coomer filed a defamation lawsuit against Oltmann, Malkin, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., Powell, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, FEC United and other Oltmann business entities, James Hoft of The Gateway Pundit, Eric Metaxas, Chanel Rion, Herring Networks, Inc. dba One America News Network, and Newsmax Media.

Jan. 6 and Parker Mayor – January 2021

Oltmann appeared at a Jan. 5 “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington D.C., the night before the Capitol riots. Oltmann provided a diagram he claims explains how Dominion stole the election. Oltmann was also spotted at the Willard Hotel, which was been described as a “command center” for the events of Jan. 6. Members of UADF took part in a Stop the Steal rally at the Colorado Capitol on Jan. 6.

According to Oltmann, this is how they stole the election.

On Jan. 11, Oltmann announced on Parler that he is no longer the CEO of PIN Business Network, the data marketing company he founded. PIN’s clients include the Douglas County Republican Party and recently the conservative slate of Douglas County Board of Education candidates.

On Jan. 25, Parker Mayor Jeff Toborg came under scrutiny for his support of Oltmann, FEC United and QAnon conspiracy theories. Toborg was asked by Kyle Clark of 9News, “About your work with FEC (Faith, Education, Commerce United, a group formed in protest of health restrictions in Colorado related to COVID-19), where you were on the board — FEC is building a sort of militia, the United American Defence Force, with the goal to ‘protect and defend what is ours.’ As mayor of Parker, would you invite your former group’s militia to operate within your town?”

Toborg responded, “No, absolutely not. And the Defence Force was a separate part of FEC. The part of FEC I was involved in was on the politics and policy pillar. We were interested in finding candidates that would support the Constitution, but moreover, and like the pledge says right in the beginning, you’ll be accountable to go back into your community, listen to your constituents, and vote in the way they want you to vote.”

On Jan. 29, U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) appeared in a recorded a video message that FEC United used in a fundraising email.

On Jan. 31, at 12: 12 a.m., Oltmann sent an email to a large group of El Paso County GOP members and elected officials, criticizing them for their treatment of embattled El Paso County GOP Chair Vickie Tonkins and acknowledging FEC United’s role in filling precinct leader positions. “Sorry you do not like that we worked to fill the Precinct leaders positions,” he wrote. “Sounds like some of you are working overtime to be obstructionists and stop those in the community from serving and being involved.”

El Paso County GOP – Feb. 2021

The El Paso County GOP released a tentative schedule for their Feb. 6, 2021, Central Committee Meeting that lists UADF as security. Oltmann later claimed on Conservative Daily that it was a miscommunication. During the Feb. 6 event, Tonkins, an FEC United supporter, wins reelection with a seven-vote margin.

Oltmann and Tonkins during the Feb. 6 El Paso County GOP Central Committee meeting.

FEC United began organizing people around school board issues like critical race theory and LGBTQ issues. On Conservative Daily, Oltmann falsely claimed teachers are “recruiting kids to be gay.” FEC United members are encouraged to attend a Feb. 24 District 49 Board of Education meeting in Colorado Springs, where parents have raised concerns about an art lesson that featured an image of a Black Lives Matter mural.

Recalls and Free DougCo – March 2021

In a March 2, 2021 email, FEC United threw its support behind an effort to recall Douglas County Board of Education members over COVID-19 precautions. “The current BoE has failed our children and community by failing to get and keep our children in school, lack of leadership, lack of transparency, mismanagement of tax dollars, and loss of educational opportunities,” read the email sent out to FEC United members. The recall effort was abandoned after the Douglas County Board of Education decided to fully reopen schools. 

Flanked by militia members, Oltmann appeared at a March 9, 2021 “Free DougCo” rally. The rally is in response to Douglas County’s COVID-19 precautions. “If somebody asks me, ‘Joe are you advocating for violence?’ I’m going to tell you, no,” said Oltmann. “But if you want to take our country, it will have to be with violence. If you’re going to take our way of life away from us, you’re not going to do it without blood spilled.”

FEC United also hosted racist, homophobic and anti-Muslim speakers Katie Hopkins and Trevor Louden at speaking events across Colorado.

Masks – April 2021

FEC United organized an anti-mask protest for the April 14, 2021, Colorado Springs School District 11 Board of Education meeting, where members spread false claims about the efficacy of masks and the COVID-19 vaccine.

Newsmax, one of the defendants in the Coomer defamation suit, settled and issued a retraction and an apology. “There are several facts that our viewers should be aware of,” the statement reads. “Newsmax has found no evidence that Dr. Coomer interfered with Dominion voting machines or voting software in any way, nor that Dr. Coomer ever claimed to have done so. Nor has Newsmax found any evidence that Dr. Coomer ever participated in any conversation with members of ‘Antifa,’ nor that he was directly involved with any partisan political organization.”

Boebert appeared as a guest on Conservative Daily.

Masks, Continued – May 2021

FEC United members continued to appear at Colorado Springs Board of Education meetings, spreading COVID-19 misinformation at Lewis-Palmer District 38’s meeting on May 17, 2021, and Cheyenne Mountain School District 12’s meeting on May 24, 2021.

Deep Rig – June 2021

Oltmann is featured in the film, Deep Rig, about the 2020 Presidential Election. The film was directed by Roger R. Richards, known for his film Above Majestic, which claims “lizard people” played a role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, among other conspiracy theories.

On June 10, 2021 Oltmann is joined on Conservative Daily by Jake Freijo, who took part in an October 2018 fight with anti-fascists who protested an event involving Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes, who carried a sword to the event.

Freijo’s (right) first appearance on Conservative Daily.

UADF appeared at the Western Conservative Summit on June 19, 2021, to counter protest leftist activists. UADF members also appear at a June 23, 2021, Cherry Creek Board of Education meeting to protest critical race theory.

On the June 29, 2021, episode of Conservative Daily, Oltmann encouraged people to assault trans women using bathrooms or changing rooms that match their gender identity.

Ice Cream Socials – July 2021

During a July 17 town hall event in Colorado Springs, Rep. Dave Williams (R-Colorado Springs) and Hanks spread election conspiracies, including false claims that dead people voted, and Williams admits, “We are in contact with Joe Oltmann and his organization and he has given us a wealth of information.”

Oltmann is listed as the speaker for the 5th Annual Colorado Springs Republican Women’s Ice Cream Social fundraiser on July 25, 2021.

Mesa County – August 2021

On Aug. 9, 2021 the Colorado Secretary of State announced that Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters is under investigation for violating the security of election systems after Ron Watkins, who was the subject of Q: Into the Storm, an HBO documentary series about the QAnon movement that strongly suggested Watkins was behind the Q posts, shared videos with Colorado passwords on Telegram.

On August 10, 2021, Peters appeared at MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell’s Cyber Symposium, alongside “America’s Mom” Sherronna Bishop and election conspiracist Shawn Smith. Oltmann made an appearance at Lindell’s symposium on Aug. 11 and 12, failing to appear for a scheduled deposition in the Coomer defamation case. During an Aug. 27 hearing, Coomer’s lawyers move for sanctions against Oltmann for failing to appear for the deposition.

Election Integrity Townhalls – September 2021

On Sept. 14, 2021, Oltmann has Pizzagate conspiracist and far-right extremist Jack Posobiec on Conservative Daily. Oltmann also appeared on the MG Show, a QAnon-linked podcast, and later that week complained that people are associating him with QAnon.

On Sept. 16, 2021, FEC United hosts a viewing of Deep Rig in Parker.

On Sept. 24 and 25, 2021, FEC United hosted events featuring Oltmann, New Mexico election conspiracist David Clements and former military intelligence officer Seth Keshel at two events in Colorado Springs and Castle Rock. The Colorado Springs event is held at Fervent Church.

The released transcripts of the Sept. 17, 2021, deposition show that Oltmann told Powell in an email that he had “several county clerks” working with him.

On Sept. 24, 2021, Oltmann appeared at Clay Clark’s “ReAwaken America” tour stop at the Charis Christian Center in Colorado Springs. Oltmann shared a copy of Maricopa County, Arizona audit report that he claims shows clear evidence of fraud. That report is later revealed to be an inaccurate, draft version of the final report.

On Sept. 30, 2021, Oltmann appeared with Scott McKay, a QAnon conspiracy figure, at a speaking event in Denver.

Anthrax Scare – December 2021

Following a Dec. 11, 2021, appearance at the Dallas, Texas “ReAwaken America” tour stop, Oltmann claims that Jovan Pulitzer and others were attacked with a bioweapon, possibly anthrax. It was not anthrax.

Oltmann came under fire from former U.S. Senate candidate Eli Bremer for comments Oltmann made about building gallows to hang “traitors.”

Marshall Fire Response – January 2022

On his Modern Patriot podcast, Tiegen claimed UADF provided security following the devastating Marshall Fire. “We have UADF members that are up there providing overwatch, kinda fire watch, because they’ve got equipment up there that’s helping the buildings where all the supplies are,” said Tiegen. “But unfortunately you’ve got people who take advantage of that and try to steal stuff or try to break into things. The fire watch had to stop a couple people from doing just that up in Boulder. So UADF members are up there providing that aid to the community, because it benefits the community. Plus they are being paid- the businesses are paying them to keep watch, but the money stays within the state.”

Emergency Meetings – February 2022

On Feb. 2, Oltmann endorses Hanks for U.S. Senate during his appearance on Conservative Daily.

On Feb. 10, Oltmann organized an “emergency meeting” at The Rock Church in Castle Rock. Speakers included Peters, Smith, John Eastman, author of legal memos advocating for the former president and his congressional allies to overturn the 2020 election, Hanks, Todd Watkins, a candidate for El Paso County Sheriff, Tonkins, and former GOP gubernatorial candidate Danielle Neuschwanger. The meeting drew media attention for Smith’s comments, “I think if you’re involved in election fraud, then you deserve to hang. Sometimes the old ways are the best ways. I’m not endorsing violence, I’m saying when you put your hand on a hot stove, you get burned. And you ought to see it coming. That’s what happens to tyrants.”

Community members organized a protest in response to the event on Feb. 13.

On Feb. 15, FEC United hosted a caucus training event at Fervent Church in Colorado Springs, featuring Oltmann, Williams, Watkins, and Peter Lupia, a candidate for El Paso County Clerk and Recorder.

On Feb. 17, a $1,000 donation to FEC United from the El Paso County GOP became the subject of a campaign finance complaint against the El Paso County GOP. The “donation” was actually a payment to UADF for security services.

Russian Propaganda – March 2022

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Oltmann repeated Russian propaganda talking points on the March 11 episode of Conservative Daily. “Okay, so let me unpack this you really quick,” Oltmann said on the podcast. “When a nation is attacked, the words of their leaders are typically very, very strong, if they are a strong leader. And I look at what Putin has said up until this point, that he wants the sovereignty of the Russia to be respected. And a lot of people have said that Russia is bad, and that Putin is bad. Well, I refuse to believe that the people in Russia are bad, because the people in the United States are really good people. In our country, they are really good people — holistically, really good people. And most people don’t adhere to the B.S. of the couple thousand people that get on the street and act like idiots and burn and loot things. What Putin is saying there is that he knows about the plan that’s a globalist plan. Now, let me ask you a question: is it possible that a globalist plan would be unleashed upon the American people?”

Oltmann took credit for the results of the March 19 El Paso County GOP assembly during a March 21 episode of Conservative Daily. The assembly process was plagued by accusations of “manipulation” and bias from a number of candidates who said Oltmann ally Tonkins had a preferred slate of candidates.

“We literally swept the entire deal,” said Oltmann. “Now, part of that is that we were able to put people into delegate positions and do that. It’s common sense. The reason why we were able to do it and the way that we were able to do it is most people actually want what’s best for other Americans. This is just another litmus test of what they’re trying to put in front of us with these radical pieces of trash that are trying to transform our entire society and make your kids victims of some sort of gender confusion. The way we get back to it is we just take it back.”

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