Madison alder releases new statement on reports of Oath Keepers membership

Gary Halverson City Of Madison Alder

MADISON, Wis. — The Madison alder whose name appeared in the membership rolls of the far-right Oath Keepers has released a new statement offering more details on what happened after facing criticism by several city leaders.

Gary Halverson, who represents Madison’s 17th district located on the city’s north side, was identified in a database listing people who at one point had paid membership dues for the Oath Keepers. Several members of the organization are now facing charges for their involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, including the group’s leader, who faces a charge of seditious conspiracy.

Halverson told News 3 Now on Wednesday that he did not vet the group before signing up in the summer of 2020, saying he was under the impression the group welcomed veterans “who cared about our democracy,” only to end his membership after two months when he realized he had been “misled” about what the group stood for.

RELATED: ‘I was misled’: Madison alder Gary Halverson listed on Oath Keepers membership rolls

Several city leaders, including Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and the Common Council’s president and vice president, criticized Halverson for his decision and his explanation for how he ended up on the group’s membership rolls.

“Mere seconds of online research reveal the Oath Keepers as a far-right antigovernment group, not a group for veterans or the preservation of democracy,” Common Council President Keith Furman and Vice President Jael Currie wrote.

RELATED: Leaders of Common Council ‘disgusted’ by Madison alder’s Oath Keepers membership

On Thursday, Halverson sent a new statement to News 3 Now, requesting it be posted in full. You can read his statement below.

“As I stated yesterday, I thought this was an organization that welcomed veterans and cared about our democracy. Once I discovered otherwise, I immediately quit, four months before the 2020 Presidential election. I was then further disgusted by the abhorrent attack on our democracy on Jan 6. I have many friends across all political spectrums because I believe relationships are what builds a strong community. I have supported many different candidates including our current Democrat nominees for Senate, Congress and Governor. Ultimately, my heart is to serve my community, which I do every day to the best of my ability. My constituents in District 17 know this, my friends know this and my colleagues on the council know this.”

Halverson was elected to the Common Council in April 2021 to a term running into late April 2023.