- 200 law enforcement officials, including Bianco, were included on an Oath Keepers membership list.
- 21 law enforcement officers listed in the Oath Keepers’ internal documents are still serving.
- The Oath Keepers spent months planning their presence at the January 6 insurrection.
Prior to his election in 2018, Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco paid for a year-long membership in 2014 with an anti-government extremist group known as the Oath Keepers, Bianco told USA Today.
Bianco was one of 200 law enforcement officials whose names were included on a list of the Oath Keepers’ members obtained by nonprofit journalist collective Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDS), the Desert Sun reported. Released to DDS by a hacker, a cache of documents from Oath Keepers servers — emails, chat logs, membership records, donor lists — revealed thousands of current and former members.
Across the country, a total of 21 law enforcement officers listed in the Oath Keepers’ internal documents confirmed to USA Today that they are still serving, including Bianco, a corrections officer in Riverside, California.
The Oath Keepers were officially launched at a rally in 2009 following the election of the country’s first Black president, Barack Obama, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Its members have a long history of vigilante justice as armed militias showing up at protests against police brutality and patrolling polling locations for alleged voter fraud, the Southern Poverty Law Center said.
The Oath Keepers spent months planning their presence at the January 6 insurrection, with 12 members forming a “quick reaction force” by storing weaponry at a Comfort Inn in Arlington, Virginia, in preparation for the possibility of more violence.
Insider reached out to Bianco for comment about his prior Oath Keepers membership. According to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department website, he oversees the county’s five jail facilities, over 4,000 employees, and an operating budget of nearly $800 million dollars.