Report says Indiana state senator listed as Oath Keepers member

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Scott Baldwin

A report published by ProPublica lists Republican state Sen. Scott Baldwin of Noblesville as a member of the far-right Oath Keepers militia group, but he denies it.

Baldwin released a statement on Thursday saying the only interaction he had with the group was in April 2010. He said he donated $30 while he was running for Hamilton County sheriff, under the impression that the group was a Second Amendment rights organization. He said he has not had any communication with the Oath Keepers since then.

“I initially had no recollection or familiarity with the organization, but have since discovered that back in April 2010, more than 11 years ago, when I was running for county sheriff, an advocate for the organization described it to me as a 2nd Amendment rights group, and I donated $30,” Baldwin said in the statement. “I haven’t had any interaction or communication since. Recent media reports indicate that the group has changed significantly since its founding in 2009.”

The Oath Keepers, founded in 2009, spent most of its existence under the radar, until this year when the group came under scrutiny for its alleged role in the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Dozens of members have been arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection, including Indiana native and heavy metal guitarist Jon Ryan Schaffer. Schaffer was the first defendant to plead guilty to federal charges in April this year.

Although Baldwin said his only interaction was the one-time donation, the Oath Keepers listed him as an “annual member,” according to ProPublica, which defined members as those who pay the organization $50 per year.

Baldwin is the CEO and owner of Indianapolis-based Envoy Inc. He was a U.S. Marine and an Indianapolis police officer. He was elected to the Indiana Senate in 2020, taking the seat vacated by now U.S. Rep. Victoria Spartz.

Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray, R-Martinsville, said in a statement that he is not concerned with Baldwin’s name showing up on the Oath Keepers membership list because he is not a standing member of the group.

“Sen. Baldwin has indicated he is not a member of the group. In his time in the Indiana Senate, Sen. Baldwin has been a very thoughtful and capable leader for us on a number of subjects,” Bray said.

ProPublica reported it obtained the list of more than 35,000 members of the Oath Keepers from an anonymous hacker who shared it with ProPublica through the whistleblower group Distributed Denial of Secrets.

The report says 48 state and local elected officials around the country, all Republicans, are listed as members. Ten are sitting state lawmakers, two are former state representatives and one is a current state assembly candidate.

Buzzfeed, which also obtained the list, reported that Elkhart County Commissioner and former sheriff Brad Rogers was among the listed members. He told Buzzfeed that he had quit the group years ago because it was “going down a path talking about violence and things of that nature.”

The Indiana Democratic Party is calling for Baldwin and the Indiana GOP to publicly denounce the Oath Keepers, and for Baldwin to reexamine if he is fit for office, Chairman Mike Schmuhl said in a written statement.

“It’s alarming to see the Indiana Republican Party connected to the domestic terrorist organization responsible for the January 6 Insurrection and the attempt to overthrow the United States government,” Schmuhl said in the statement. “State Senator Scott Baldwin’s membership to this extremist group invalidates Hoosier and American values, and in normal times, would disqualify him from holding this office.”

Indiana GOP Chairman Kyle Hupfer did not immediately respond to a request for comment from IBJ.

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13 thoughts on “Report says Indiana state senator listed as Oath Keepers member

  1. Meanwhile, the Republican Party is led by someone who led a unsuccessful coup culminating on January 6, 2021 … and continues to propagate the lie that there was election fraud in either the 2020 election or the 2016 election to justify his behavior. That anyone is still discussing election audits after the Arizona recount (which found no fraud, and oh by the way, found votes for Biden) shows how intellectually and morally bankrupt the entire Republican Party is. The entire party is a lie.

    If you are in or support the members of the Republican Party, you do not believe in American democracy. Full stop. Their current leadership, from Trump on down, must be purged and the party must reboot as a party interested in conservative values … while also being interested in democracy.

    1. The Republican Party under Trump is no longer committed to any ideals other than those articulated (from the hip, with little thought) by Trump himself. It is in a death spiral, and it deserves to die taking all who have refused to challenge Trump down with it.

    2. Joe, maybe you shouldn’t paint everyone with such a broad brush. Some of us Republicans are trying to boot Trumpism out of the party and return it to conservative values, which also supports democracy. Unfortunately, the Democrats seem oblivious to the fact that the biggest danger to democracy is not the casting of votes but the people and the rules involved in the counting and certifying of votes.

    3. Paul, that was intentional and I guess I would disagree.

      There is no room for ideological diversity in the Republican Party, though. You are either 100% Trump or you’re out. You can’t change it from the inside … those who refuse go along, the Cheney’s and the Gonzalez’s of the party, they’re being sidelined.

      We’ve reached the point where any vote for any Republican is a vote for Trump. Your local county council, the Indiana legislature, national level … it’s Trump the entire way down. If you’re in the party, you support Trump.

      IMO, the best way to defeat Trumpism is for Republicans to get destroyed at the polls until they either cease to be a viable party (and maybe a true Conservative party with respect for democratic norms emerges) or to continue to vote Democratic no matter what.

      I may not agree with Democrats on every issue, but when you have one party that is autocratic-curious, regular policy differences no longer matter. I agree that Democrats are sleeping on the issue of Republicans rigging the next election, but unfortunately the Democrats are the only option.

  2. Despite President pro tempore Bray’s comments, the State Senate should initiate a thorough investigation of Sen. Baldwin’s involvement in the above-mentioned terrorist organization. There can be no place for armed terrorists–persons who wish to destroy democratic institutions–in state government.

    Good job, IBJ, for picking up on the Pro Publica report.

  3. “ProPublica reported it obtained the list of more than 35,000 members of the Oath Keepers from an anonymous hacker who shared it with ProPublica through the whistleblower group Distributed Denial of Secrets.” What a credible source … anonymous hacker! Apparently it is time for a little history lesson. This nation came into existence when armed terrorists opposed the English institution of government in the America’s. There were many reasons for the conflict but onerous taxation of colonial subjects was a primary motivation. Onerous taxation is always enacted and enforced by despotic, corrupt political regimes that have an insatiable appetite for more money and power. The current trend to increase taxes by statute as well as the more insidious method of taxation of enacting policies that create instant, historically high inflation invites such actions. All to enslave decent Americans to the welfare plantation where citizenship is surrendered for becoming a subject of the regime. The reality is that many would prefer to live on the streets under a bridge with the freedoms our Founding Fathers established in the U.S. Constitution intact rather than become cared-for wards (subjects) of the state. True conservatives have strongly held convictions that there are untold virtues to be realized by government that is small … orders of magnitude smaller than what the U.S. government is today, with very limited powers … far less power than what the federal government wields today … with individual freedoms that empower individuals, regardless of national origin, race or gender, to achieve great levels of success and achievement … as well as to fail miserably if they are lazy and prone to excuse making for why they cannot realize success. Conservatives are done with the status quo of the bloated federal government comprised of “establishment” elected leaders from both parties that have no qualms about weaponizing federal agencies such as the FBI and IRS against defenseless individuals, while allowing big tech/big media to both manipulate information and sensor those with opinions different than the narrative that big government and big tech agree upon. Unfortunately this conflict will not end anytime soon.

    1. Here’s a quote from history that you should perhaps work into your spiel: “We won’t save democracy by killing it … and we won’t make American democracy worth saving by destroying it in the so-called attempt to save it.”