Barnstable commissioner candidate minimizes ties to Oath Keepers

Beaty says he gave small donation to far-right group in 2014

RON BEATY, a Republican candidate for Barnstable County commissioner, said Monday that he made a small donation to the right-wing group Oath Keepers in 2014 but has not been involved in the group since then. 

CommonWealth reported earlier this month that the Anti-Defamation League analyzed a leaked database of members of the Oath Keepers, which is described by The Southern Poverty Law Center as one of the country’s largest right-wing anti-government groups. The ADL analysis flagged two politicians in Massachusetts as being included on that list – Beaty, a former Barnstable County commissioner who is running for the office again, and David A. Sanders of Wilbraham, a member of the Wilbraham Republican Town Committee. 

Sanders said at the time that he came into contact with the Oath Keepers at a Washington rally run by talk show host Glenn Beck’s 9-12 Project more than a decade ago. He saw the group as pro-Constitution, not anti-government, and has had no additional involvement with it since that time. 

Beaty declined to comment when the information was first leaked. He later said in statements that he was considering legal action and demanded an apology from the Anti-Defamation League – an organization he referred to on Twitter as run by “a bunch of far-left liberal pinheads.” 

On Monday, Beaty offered his first explanation as to how he ended up on the Oath Keepers’ membership list. “In 2014, I made a small donation to the group known as THE OATH KEEPERS because I understood the organization to be individual American Patriots swearing allegiance to the United States Constitution,” Beaty wrote in a statement. “Since I believed that to be a good and honorable thing to do, I contributed on that one occasion in 2014 to that organization because I saw it as ‘good works.’ I had no idea, at that time, that there may possibly have been some extremist elements within the group.”  

Beaty added, “Since 2014, I have had no further involvement with the group. I never participated in any group meetings or other organization activities in any way, shape or form.” 

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Shira Schoenberg

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About Shira Schoenberg

Shira Schoenberg is a reporter at CommonWealth magazine. Shira previously worked for more than seven years at the Springfield Republican/MassLive.com where she covered state politics and elections, covering topics as diverse as the launch of the legal marijuana industry, problems with the state's foster care system and the elections of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Gov. Charlie Baker. Shira won the Massachusetts Bar Association's 2018 award for Excellence in Legal Journalism and has had several stories win awards from the New England Newspaper and Press Association. Shira covered the 2012 New Hampshire presidential primary for the Boston Globe. Before that, she worked for the Concord (N.H.) Monitor, where she wrote about state government, City Hall and Barack Obama's 2008 New Hampshire primary campaign. Shira holds a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

About Shira Schoenberg

Shira Schoenberg is a reporter at CommonWealth magazine. Shira previously worked for more than seven years at the Springfield Republican/MassLive.com where she covered state politics and elections, covering topics as diverse as the launch of the legal marijuana industry, problems with the state's foster care system and the elections of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Gov. Charlie Baker. Shira won the Massachusetts Bar Association's 2018 award for Excellence in Legal Journalism and has had several stories win awards from the New England Newspaper and Press Association. Shira covered the 2012 New Hampshire presidential primary for the Boston Globe. Before that, she worked for the Concord (N.H.) Monitor, where she wrote about state government, City Hall and Barack Obama's 2008 New Hampshire primary campaign. Shira holds a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

Beaty also said that all elected officials should be “oath keepers” since they are required to take an oath of office to defend the Constitution. 

Beaty is running against incumbent Democratic county commissioner Ronald Bergstrom in the November general election. He served time in federal prison for threatening to kill President George H.W. Bush and other politicians in the 1990s and has called himself the “Donald Trump of Cape Cod.”