During a meeting last night at Fervent Church in Colorado Springs, Joe Oltmann, who leads the election-conspiracy group FEC United, attempted to walk back statements he made in the past few months alluding to violence against those he called “traitors.”
“They make up stories about FEC United every day,” said Oltmann, who leads FEC United, to an audience of about 100 people at the Fervent Church. “I never called for the death of anyone. Neither did Shawn (Smith) call for the death of Jena Griswold. He said, ‘The law states that if you’re found guilty (of treason) that you should hang.’”
In fact, in December Oltmann suggested that Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, and other so-called “traitors” should be hanged.
Last night’s FEC United meeting brought right-wing conservative leaders together to reinforce the organization’s platform against critical race theory, abortion, and Republicans who do not align with the organization’s views.
FEC United is an election conspiracy group with a militia division, which recently claimed to have been paid by businesses to provide security after the Marshall fire. It also addresses abortion, education, and other issues.
Oltmann was named in a 2021 defamation lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems for allegedly monetizing falsehoods about the 2020 election.
Tuesday’s event was emceed by Fervent Church pastor Garrett Graupner, who also serves as FEC United’s National FEC Chaplain and Pikes Peak Faith Pillar Pastor. State Rep. Dave Williams (R-Colorado Springs), a Colorado Springs Republican candidate challenging U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) in the primary race to represent Colorado’s 5th Congressional District, spoke at the meeting as well as El Paso County Sheriff candidate Todd Watkins.
Graupner, who stated multiple times that he was there in a “civilian” capacity not representing the views of the church, railed against the alleged implementation of critical race theory in classrooms and abortion.
In a speech reminiscent of a church sermon, Graupner cautioned against Republicans who do not align with FEC United’s vision of radical conservatism, referring to them as “trans-Republicans” in an attempt to veer from the term “RINO” (Republican in name only).
“We need to forget about this unelected official in the White House and start dealing with our own house,” Graupner said, spreading the misinformation that President Joe Biden was not elected legitimately.
Williams pinned himself as the “Lauren Boebert candidate” running against Lamborn.
“We need more Lauren Boeberts,” Williams said.
Williams emphasized his stance against a 2021 law requiring civic courses in Colorado schools to include the “history, culture, and social contribution of minorities.”
“What they’re not telling you is that it empowered — this commission that the governor created and got to fill — it empowered them to create education standards that are based in critical race theory,” Williams said. “They’re based in LGBTQ radical homosexual agenda items. They’re based in dividing our country and teaching our students that America is a place to be despised. And Republicans voted for it.”
Williams was one of five state House Republicans who voted “No” on the bill. Williams said some Republicans are in “damage control” following their approval of the bill.
Williams endorsed state Rep. Ron Hanks (R-Canon City), who is separating himself from “RINOs” through his denial of the 2020 election results and bills allegedly supporting critical race theory, said Williams.
Williams also promoted his support for an anti-abortion bill, House Bill 1079, which would effectively outlaw any abortion within the state. The bill encourages the impeachment of any judge who attempts to interfere with the enforcement of the bill’s strict standards against abortion.
El Paso County Sheriff candidate Todd Watkins, who previously identified himself as an “insurrectionist” at the Feb. 11 Castle Rock meeting, spoke on his beliefs that the sheriff should be the only authority to enforce the U.S. Constitution within his county.
“The sheriff is elected by the people. That makes that office the most powerful law enforcement police officer, really in the country,” Watkins said. “There is no statute in any state, certainly not in Colorado … that assigns that preeminence — superiority, if you will — opposite the sheriff as the chief law enforcement in the county.”
“Because the sheriff is elected by the people, the sheriff does not answer to any other office or official, the sheriff must hold sacrosanct the Constitution,” Watkins said. “It is his job to safeguard, secure, protect, defend the rights of the people. No one else can trample that. So, when the FBI comes to knock at your door, it is imperative that the sheriff realize that no one outranks him. In this hierarchy of law enforcement, the FBI is on the bottom.”
Watkins said he hopes former Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters becomes the “richest person in Mesa County” following what he alluded to as an unlawful search and seizure of her iPad, after Peters allegedly recorded a court proceeding illegally in January. The hearing was for Belinda Knisley, who allegedly used Peters’ login information to access Mesa County election office’s computer systems.
Oltmann followed Watkins with a speech about coming together as a political party against critical race theory and the Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen.
Oltmann called critical race theory a “poison pill that’s wrapped in virtue” and referred to education of gender fluidity in classrooms as “putting porn in our schools” that would lead to children committing suicide out of confusion of their sexual identity.
Critical race theory, Oltmann said, “makes a victim out of every minority out there.”
Experts say Critical Race Theory, which is a graduate-school level academic discipline, is not taught in public schools.
“Guess what they will never overcome? Adversity. If they don’t overcome adversity, what will happen to them, ultimately? They will never succeed,” Oltmann said. “We are teaching kids about things they have no business learning about.”
Oltmann also incorrectly stated that he never called for the death of anyone.
In a Dec. 3 episode of his podcast “Conservative Daily,” Oltmann called for the deaths of those he called “traitors” by hanging, as first reported by Colorado Newsline.
Those traitors, to Oltmann, are political leaders implementing COVID-19 mandates and those who refuse to endorse the “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was fraudulent.
“I want people to go out there and get some wood. The gallows are getting wider and getting longer,” Oltmann said in the Dec. 3 podcast. “I want to hang anyone that is a traitor.”
In the same episode, Oltmann called Polis a liar and traitor for the governor’s October press conference reinstating restrictions ahead of a looming surge in COVID-19 cases.
“Stretch that rope,” Oltmann said in the podcast.
On Feb. 11, FEC United held a meeting in Castle Rock where one speaker, Smith, a 2020 election denier, said, “You know, if you’re involved in election fraud, then you deserve to hang,” according to another Colorado Newsline report.
“When I talk about the fact that we have to start standing up and they’re going to lie about these things, it’s not for my benefit,” Oltmann said last night. “At some point, you are going to have to use that thing that God gave you: your voice. Because if you don’t use your voice, someone will use a gun. That’s not a joke. That’s not calling for violence. That’s the realization that children are worth it, and there are plenty of fathers out there who are willing to fight tooth and nail for their children.”
Following Oltmann, Peter Lupia, a candidate for El Paso County Clerk and Recorder, gave a brief presentation on caucus procedures. Lupia received an endorsement at the event from Williams.
“He’s the only candidate in the race who wants to get rid of Dominion Voting Systems and we need to get rid of them and fight for election integrity,” said Williams. “Vote for this guy and go to caucus for him.”
Lupia also encouraged the audience to look into the “Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates,” which is a concept from Protestant theology which explains the exact circumstances that a lesser magistrate, or official, has the right and responsibility to resist the greater ruler. It is also the title of a book by Matthew Trewhella, a Wisconsin pastor and co-founder of anti-abortion group Missionaries to the Preborn. Trewhella previously served 14 months in jail for blockading Milwauke abortion clinics and has been criticized for comparing mask mandates to the holocaust. The Colorado Times Recorder sent an email to Lupia’s campaign asking for clarification on which “Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates” he was referencing. We will update this article with any response.
Lupia, Williams, and Watkins will join Hanks Sept. 25 for a candidate forum in Peyton moderated by El Paso County GOP Chair Vickie Tonkins, who has received criticism from Colorado GOP Chair and former FEC United President, Kristi Burton Brown, who claimed Tonkins “behaved improperly in regard to her duty of neutrality during a Republican primary.” Lupia was elected as a bonus member as part of Tonkins’ “Liberty Caucus” during the Feb. 6, 2021 El Paso County GOP Central Committee meeting.
Heidi Beedle contributed to this report.