On Oct. 10, 2020, two days after he organized a “Patriot Muster” of his group FEC United and its militia division, United American Defense Force, in Denver’s Civic Center Park that turned deadly when a security guard shot and killed an armed participant in self-defense, Joe Oltmann wrote a campaign check to John Kellner for the maximum amount permitted: $400.
Last month, the Colorado Times Recorder reported on Kellner’s decision to keep a donation from Jan. 6 insurrection participant Wendy Meritt, despite appearing to agree with a voter who asked him if he’d pledge “not accept campaign funds from anyone who engaged in the January 6th insurrection.”
While Oltmann’s donation came months before the insurrection took place and before Kellner made his promise or even declared his candidacy for Attorney General, it’s still notable for two reasons.
First, Kellner’s prominence and political viability as a statewide candidate increased dramatically by winning his race for District Attorney of the 18th Judicial District.
In fact, Keller filed to run for Attorney General just one year and two weeks after being sworn into office on January 12.
Secondly, Oltmann wasn’t just some random MAGA fan at the insurrection — he was in the planning meetings with the Trump administration before and during the violent riot. He spoke at the largest Jan. 5 rally the previous night and then met with Trump officials at the State Department on Jan 6.
Oltmann has since called for the execution of Governor Jared Polis by hanging, one of several times he has publicly called for violence. Back in February Oltmann’s FEC United hosted an event in Castle Rock at which another election conspiracist, Shawn Smith of the U.S. Election Integrity Project, called for the hanging of Secretary of State Jena Griswold. That event led the progressive advocacy group End Citizens United to call out Kellner for failing to investigate, prosecute, or condemn the threat against Griswold which took place within his jurisdiction.
“John Kellner may talk tough on crime, but he’s silent when the lawbreakers are from his own political party,” said Tiffany Muller, president of End Citizens United // Let America Vote. “Kellner’s disturbing history of tolerating illegal and even violent behavior by members of his party is disqualifying. From refusing to prosecute misconduct by his campaign donor; to staying silent on the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol and American democracy; to saying nothing about holding accountable those with Colorado ties responsible for planning the attack, Kellner has shown he lacks the judgment to be Colorado’s attorney general and is unwilling to hold lawbreakers accountable when it’s politically inconvenient for him.”
In addition to his campaign contribution, Oltmann also helped ensure Kellner won his close race for District Attorney in 2020.
In a Nov. 5, 2020, email, FEC United called on its members to help “cure” ballots, or help contact voters whose ballots could not be counted due to any number of problems such as an illegible signature, wrong address, or damaged in the mail. In light of Oltmann’s subsequent promotion of all sorts of election fraud conspiracy theories, including falsely claiming that mail ballots are hallmarks of fraud, this call for help curing ballots is particularly ironic.
Kellner’s campaign did not respond to an email asking if he has any concerns over having accepted money from Oltmann and if so would he return the contribution. This article will be updated with any response received.