Wyoming’s nominal Republican Rep. Liz Cheney escalated her attacks on political opponents at home Wednesday while the Jan. 6 Committee on which she serves as vice chair runs their government persecution.
Speaking to Politico, Cheney sought to indict Wyoming GOP Party Chair W. Frank Eathorne as guilty by association for his alleged enrollment in the grassroots group Oath Keepers, some of whose members have been charged in connection to the Capitol riot. Last week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted the group’s founder and 10 other individuals for “seditious conspiracy.”
“If you look at the fact that you’ve had a number of Oath Keepers indicted by the Department of Justice for a range of charges, including seditious conspiracy… it’s very clearly an organization that ought to be renounced,” Cheney said. “I think it is concerning that the head of the state Republican Party in Wyoming is apparently, reportedly a member of that organization.”
Cheney’s comments taking aim at Eathorne, the chairman of the party that voted to no longer recognize its sole representative in the House as a Republican, draws on a December whistleblower report that claimed Eathorne was a member.
Documents hacked by the group Distributed Denial of Secrets claim to have uncovered the names of nearly 200 Wyoming residents who signed up with the Oath Keepers since its inception in 2009. Eathorne’s name, according to the local paper WyoFile, was among the most prominent identified.
The extent of Eathorne’s alleged involvement, however, remains unclear. Neither Eathorne nor the Wyoming GOP immediately responded to The Federalist’s inquiries.
Eathorne was in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6 but said in a statement on the day after his attendance merely extended to the peaceful protests that occurred beyond the Capitol grounds.
“No violence or property damage was observed during my time there including a brief stop in the vicinity of the Capitol building property,” Eathorne said at the time. “I retired from the public gathering near mid-afternoon and watched the news of some reported events I personally had not witnessed.”
With at least 19 members indicted in connection with the Capitol unrest, Cheney’s Jan. 6 Committee issued subpoenas to the Oath Keepers and its founder, Elmer Stewart Rhodes, who was indicted last week.
While several of the nationwide group’s members face charges from the Capitol riot, the Oath Keepers’ scope and influence in Wyoming is dim, as outlined by WyoFile.
Boone Tidwell, a long-time Cody resident, became a member of Oath Keepers in 2009. He nearly took on the title of Wyoming Chapter President for the group, he said.
Initially, he said, there were 200-300 Wyoming people active online in the Oath Keepers. Folks were waking up to constitutional issues, Tidwell said, and he liked the idea of its ‘Reach, Teach, and Inspire’ mission.
The group’s presence was short-lived in Wyoming, Tidwell said. Engagement dropped off quickly and in-person gatherings typically only attracted a handful of people. It’s difficult to organize in a state where members are all geographically so far apart, he said. …
‘Oath Keepers is a fairy tale here,’ he said. ‘There was a presence in a computer 12 years ago.’
Eathorne was elected chair of the Wyoming GOP in 2019, ten years after the Oath Keeper’s brief launch.