Meet Richard Mack, the Oath Keeper Running Against SOPA Author Lamar Smith

How a state's rights conservative became an ally to the tech industry

(Page 2 of 2)

Smith, meanwhile, has been nearly untouchable for 25 years in the 21st District, which covers San Antonio and parts of Texas Hill Country. He’s gone uncontested in nearly every one of his primaries, save for in 1992 and 2010 (he won with 81 percent of the vote in both years). His worst showing in a general election was in 2006, when he won with 60 percent of the vote. In 2010, he won reelection with 68 percent of the vote. According to campaign finance records, Smith has rasied nearly $660,000 for the 2011-2012 election cycle, and has collected more than $7 million over the course of his career. 

There may be a bigger obstacle for Mack than money. Namely, the results you get when you Google him: reports from the Southern Poverty Law Center about his involvement with the John Birch Society and the militia movement, as well as his association with Ruby Ridge survivor Randy Weaver. (Weaver's son was killed and his wife was shot through the head by an FBI sniper during the siege on Weaver's farm, but the SPLC refers to him solely as a "white supremacist.")

“I’ve been worried about it for years,” Mack said when asked if he thought the SPLC’s reports would hurt him in his race against Smith. “The people who know me know that these are all lies and distortions. I’m a very peaceful person who loves America and loves Texas.” In a December 2011 interview with the The New American, published by the John Birch Society, Mack told William F. Jasper, "I spent 20 years in law enforcement and never slugged or slapped or hit or maced or shot another human being. So I don’t believe in violence and I’m not a violent person, nor have I been."

In the summer of 2011, the SPLC issued a correction for a claim it made about Mack: “Due to a transcription error, a story in the Winter 2010 issue of the Intelligence Report misquoted former Arizona Sheriff Richard Mack speaking at the Freedom Action National Conference last August. Mack did not say that he hoped that a sheriff would ‘take out some IRS agents.’ He said: ‘My dear friends, I pray for the day that when the first sheriff of this country knows and understands his duty well enough, that he'll be the first one to fire the next shot around the world and arrest a couple of IRS agents.’ We sincerely regret the error.” 

Mack filed a defamation suit against the center in December 2011, which he hopes will be adjudicated this summer.

If elected, Mack said he’d retire after four terms. “Lamar Smith is what happens when good people stay in Washington, D.C. for too long. Eight years was good enough for George Washington, it’s good enough for Lamar Smith, and it’s certainly good enough for me.”

Mike Riggs is an associate editor at Reason magazine. Follow him on Twitter

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  • Prez. Barry O||

    $2,706 toward his $50,000 goal

    how inferior

  • Michelle||

    In soo many ways no doupt

  • Damn Nigger in the WH||

    Black is just not the color of who appreciates liberty property.

    "In short; racialist science is properly not an act of aggression or a cover for oppression of one group over another, but, on the contrary, an operation in defense of private property against assaults by aggressors." ~Murray Rothbard

  • ||

    C'mon, show us where Rothbard touched you.

  • Damn Nigger in the WH||

    Racial inequality is simply how free markets reflected nature.

  • The Pointer-Outer||

    American Indians owned slaves, too:


  • Kreel Sarloo||

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Wonder how Jason Godesky is going to try to spin his way out of those facts.

  • fish||

    Oops! He can't! Silly Fat Indian.

  • a tiny racist government||

    White Power! (over blacks) just like in 1776!

  • kate||

    looking for the bilover?===Datebi*cO'm=== is a site for bisexual and bicurious singles and friends.Here you can find hundreds of thousands of open-minded singles & couples looking to explore their bisexuality.sign up for free.

  • Jumbie||

    Forget this Kate imposter. Bring back Lily!

  • Old Man With Candy||

    They've been clam bumping. So one's the same as the other, in a good sense.

  • rather||

  • Tim||

    You speak Spanish? Good for you.

  • Gojira||

    After retiring as sheriff, Mack founded the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), which enlists and trains sheriffs and peace officers (a term Mack prefers to "law enforcement officers") to “understand and enforce the constitutionally protected Rights of the people they serve, with an emphasis on State Sovereignty and local autonomy.”

    Sorry, I couldn't get past this part because I creamed my pants. Somebody pls let me know if he says anything crazy later in the article.

  • Gojira||

    Oh nm, I found the crazy part. Dig what this lunatic has to say about police power:

    "I spent 20 years in law enforcement and never slugged or slapped or hit or maced or shot another human being. So I don’t believe in violence and I’m not a violent person, nor have I been."

    What a loon!

  • ||

    I am speechless. I don't care if this guy worships Satan in his spare time. I hope he wins.

  • Gojira||

    Pretty much my feeling as well. I'm gonna donate some bucks when I get home, just to stick it to that bastard Smith. Too bad I don't live down there so I could vote for him.

  • ||

    chances of winning = statistically indistingushable from 0

    wrong district for this type of challenge

  • Sickly Sweet||

    Ditto that!

  • o3||

    "He's spoken at John Birch Society events"
    SOPA vs commie floride...hummmm

  • ||

    The President is a close personal friends with a convicted terrorist. So what is your point?

  • o3||

    obama teh magnificent aint running gop john...last i looked...altho he is to the right of romney & paul on some issues.

  • ||

    or it just makes him statistically lucky.

    if you can work as a cop (and not in some admin or teaching position etc.) for 20 yrs and not have to slug, slap (ok, i've never slapped anybody), maced (does pepper spray count? we don't carry mace), hit or shoot somebody, consider yourself lucky.

  • KPres||

    "which enlists and trains sheriffs and peace officers (a term Mack prefers to "law enforcement officers")"

    Hey I like the guy too but that shit is just too Orwellian for me. Call them Law EnFORCEment, because that's what they do. If you don't like the sound of that, maybe we shouldn't have so many of them around.

  • ||

    I think he likes the term "peace" officer because it implies cops are out there to keep the peace as opposed to mindlessly enforce every law to zero tolerance and shoot anyone who gets in the way. I kind of like it.

  • ||


  • tarran||


    Oh, and Res Publica? :P thbthhht

  • ||

    what is this i dont even

  • Zeb||

    I think that is supposed to be how you spell the sound of a raspberry/Bronx cheer.

  • tarran||

    I was trying to 10x you. It was meant in good fun.

  • He enforces Gambol Lockdown||

    Like a libertarian, he has a zero tolerance of Nonstate society lifeways.

  • A Real Indian||

    I've seen your picture white wouldn't last ten minutes.

  • Whahappan?||

    I understand where he is coming from, however I think his emphasis should be on turning law enforcement into peace officers in actual fact, rather than on the terminology.

  • Gojira||

    What they said. Yes it's Orwellian, but in a good way - trying to get cops to rethink their role in society by using language reflecting what we'd like them to be, instead of what they are.

  • Zeb||

    I think it used to be common to call police "peace officers". Both because they are there to keep the peace and to distinguish them from the kind of officers you have in military situations. Back when people remembered that police are civilians too.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    When my kid was about thirteen, he was walking down a road in the town where we lived, and some drunken goons stopped and beat the crap out of him.

    I was damned glad the cops were able to track those fuckers down, because I sure as fuck had no idea where to look for them.

    I know, stopped clock, twice a day, yadda.

  • Jumbie||

    But that falls under keeping the peace, no?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Yeah. If only cops would only do the right thing, and not fuck with people who aren't criminals.

  • ||

    i love when reasonoids use the royal "we"

  • ||

    the VAST majority of what peace officers do (yes, we still use the term) has little to nothing to do with law enforcement, so the term peace officer is (for other reasons as well) a better term.

  • KW6||

    Mack is more interested in keeping the peace than in being a tax collector.

    He is STRONGLY libertarian in his philosophy, morality and the way he administered his department. He was the only law enforcement administrator to endorse the petition drive that ultimately legalized concealed weapons in Arizona.

  • ||

    In the first reddit answer, he says "I would support a law that limits what corporations can contribute to campaigns, as well has harsher penalties for those who violate that law", so I suspect he doesn't quite understand that pesky first amendment that he claims to support.

  • ||

    "Smith has supported these wars; wars that were unconstitutional because there was never a declaration of war."

    There are a thousand good reasons to have opposed the war in Iraq, but this isn't one of them. I might agree with the guy on a lot, but he's still a nut.

  • sounds real good||

    I don't have the impression he bases his entire opposition to the wars on this single point.

  • Apatheist||

    Are you saying those wars we constitutional despite being undeclared? It may be one of many reasons to oppose them but it is still a legitimate one.

  • tarran||

    When did the Oath Keepers become part of the militia movement?

  • Brandon||

    When Holder needed a distraction from F&F.

  • juris imprudent||

    They make pants-wetting lefties nervous - I'm pretty sure that's all it takes.

  • o3||

    nah, for the moist part, oath keepers are old farts convincing themselves they're still relevant

  • fish||

    Yeah Triple Anus the young cops are better, they do what they are told!

  • Tim||

    Leave the moist parts out of this, OK?

  • White Man's Ghost Dance||

    The Second Cumming of the Constitution

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Only SPLC-style fucktards conflate Oath Keepership with the militia movement.

  • SPLC-style fucktards||

    No we're dont!

  • mad libertarian guy||

    When the SPLC decided they were.

  • Alan||

    Hey, this is the SPLC we're talking about here. They're money-grubbing parasites who don't give a damn about helping anyone but themselves, and they can't get the money flowin' if they can't point to some hatin'. If they can't find it, they invent it.

    They also refer to Randy Weaver as a White Supremacist, whereas in fact he was a White Separatist. This is an important distinction, especially considering the fact that it was his disinterest in oppressing anyone that led to his wife and son being murdered by the FBI.

  • The Pointer-Outer||

    You know who else says not doing things is the same as doing things?

  • Mensan||

    Old and OT, but I just came across this and wanted to share. Sometimes the bad cops do get punished. BTW, Sheriff Nugent, quoted in the story, is now Congressman Nugent.

  • Gojira||

    Some choice comments on the article (emphasis mine).

    "So what it's not summer camp people. If you don't want to get slapped around stay out of trouble. Simple right"

    "Inmates are inmates because they want to be inmates. They don't care that they are in prison. They are vermin. Hope the officer gets a reward."

    "I agree. I was arrested once in Ky and had an officer knee me in the gut so I would shut up. Guess what worked and I deserved it. I was being a complete ●●●●●●●● because I was drunk."

  • Apatheist||

    What a pathetic human being that third one is.

  • ||

    And most likely a plant. This strikes me as something some cop likes to believe is happens after beating someone down.

  • ||

    i think your anti-cop bigotry drive is using too many system resources. apparently, it overrode the grammar modulator.

  • Joe M||

    I gotta say, I'm impressed by the guy's positions, which are pretty great for a Republican.

  • sounds real good||

    >encouraged local law enforcement officers to arrest IRS agents for trespassing

    This is truly awesome.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    If the IRS agents had dogs, in this one instance I would consider shooting dogs to be acceptable.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    “I’ve been worried about it for years,” Mack said when asked if he thought the SPLC’s reports would hurt him in his race against Smith. “The people who know me know that these are all lies and distortions.

    People who don't know Mack but are familiar with the Southern Poverty Law Center should also be able to guess the validity of those reports.

  • ||

    Unfortunately, too many people don't know the SPLC. They are the awful type of Democrats that hate libertarians more than law and order social conservatives, plus call everyone racist on flimsy evidence.

  • o3||

    its pretty obvious john doesnt know them either. >but hey, dont let that get in the way of a good meme

  • ||

    They're no more reliable than Birthers or conspiracy theorists.

    I can't believe news stories treat them like they're the ACLU or something.

  • fish||

    They're no more reliable than Birthers or conspiracy theorists.

    Bullshit!! They're TEAM BLUE..they never fib!

  • ||

    They are also a borderline criminal organization. They don't seem to do anything beyond fleece gullible liberals from large amounts of money. Just exactly whose poverty has the SPLC ever solved other than their own?

  • Joan Jet||

    How much poverty has capitalism ever solved?

  • libertarian viking||

    That's not a real questions, is it?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "How much poverty has Team Blue ever solved?"

    FIFY'd. No charge.

  • Jumbie||

    From what few indications there are Joan Jett is a conservative and pro-capitalist.

  • Jumbie||

    Anti-war conservative mind you, but not anti- capitalist.

  • KPres||

    You mean like WI?

  • Apatheist||

    Damn, I wish I was still in his district so that I can vote against that motherfucker. He was unopposed both elections I was there.

  • JT||

    I put about as much faith in the SPLC's profiles as I do in Rick Santorum's "radical Islamists in Nicaragua"

  • A Serious Man||

    The hero America needs, but not the one it deserves? Or was that backwards?

  • ||

    So in other words I will have the Democrat Lainey Melnick as my US rep. Awesomeness.

  • Tim||

    You don't have to be crazy to be a sheriff, but it sure helps.

  • Robin Hood||

    Sure thing there, Timmy.

  • ||

    A strong challenge or upset of Lamar Smith would send an enormous message on SOPA and similar laws, and would be worth a considerably more flawed candidate.

    Not that I like the Birchers.

  • ||

    Can somebody explain to me why associating with the John Birch Society or militia is at all controversial?

    I'm not even going to give the SPLC any time -- they have less credibility than the Imperial Klans of America.

  • ||

    The Birchers are a little kooky. But they have never hurt anyone. It is not like they are terrorists. And just because you associate with them, doesn't mean you believe everything they do.

    And if those are going to be controversial, why the hell isn't associating with La Raza just as?

  • ||

    That's what I don't get -- how are they kooky? I haven't seen any evidence of that.

  • ||

    They are wildly isolationist. They reject all free trade agreements and pretty much any immigration.

    They are not that bad. But they do attract a lot of black helicopter types.

  • ||

    For your interest: The Democrat congressman Larry McDonald (GA) was a Bircher -- past president even.

    He was on that Korean airliner that was shot down by the Soviets in 1983!

    He had a real fear of the USSR....

  • SIV||

    The late Larry McDonald was more conservative than any sitting Party of Lincoln Republican Congressman during his tenure.Other than Ron Paul, he was probably the most "libertarian-leaning".

    Fuck the Commies.

    God Bless the JBS.

  • Gojira||

    I don't get why hanging out with Randy Weaver is supposed to be some kind of big problem.

    Who gives a shit what nonsense the guy believed, his wife and child were fucking murdered by the government. And despite his beliefs, which I think are disgusting, he was harming no one, living out his life peaceably in the wilderness.

  • ||

    I agree. And I don't know anything about Weaver. Maybe his views have changed. Regardless, he can believe what he wants.

  • American Indian Holocaust||

    Capitalists can't abide a tribe living life peaceably in the wilderness.

  • o3||

    correct me if im wrong, but wasnt either weaver's wife &/or son shot in the back?

  • BC||

    I don't know where the son was shot.

    What I do know is that the wife was shot through the head while she was standing in the doorway of the family residence, unarmed, while holding her infant child.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Sounds like stOOOpid is looking for an excuse for the shootings.

  • ||

    not only that, but the RULES OF ENGAGEMENT that the fed sniper operated under WERE unconstitutional.

    frankly, i don't recall ever seeing a case where an LEO (even a fed, god forbid) was literally given an order that so blatantly ran contrary to established constitutional case law vis a vis use of deadly force.

  • o3||

    janet reno shoulda been arrested for the weaver killings

  • Britt||

    She wasn't the AG. Ruby Ridge was under Bush I

  • tarran||

    The people going after Weaver lied to their superiors about what had happened and the danger he and his family posed to the community. These superiors then flipped out and gave insane orders.

    It became an escalating positive feedback loop. And, because nobody would admit weakness, uncertainty or error, the situation that escalation ended with murder.

  • cynical||

    Birchers are anticommunist. SPLC is communist. The reason for the antipathy should be obvious.

  • ||

  • veemee sashimi||

    "the SPLC issued a correction for a claim it made about Mack: 'Due to a transcription error...'"

    It worries me to no end that there exist on this planet adult human beings that would buy that explanation.

  • Robin Hood||

    There exist on this planet no adult human beings that would buy libertarianism. Well, other than permanently infantilized adults living in their mothers' basements.

  • lol||

    You totally convinced me of the errors of libertarianism, I am now a right thinking social democrat.

    Good Job!!!

  • Tony||

    I am soooooooo wet right now.

  • KPres||

    Right, grown-ups all become Anarcho-Primitivists instead.

  • jacob||

    Right, grown-ups all become Anarcho-Primitivists instead.


  • ||

    Am I to assume the white blotches on that picture of Neanderthals gathered by a fire in furs, holding bows, is your doing?

  • White Idiot||

    Well, other than permanently infantilized adults living in their mothers' basements.

    Jason Godesky is a software engineer, currently employed by Vivisimo, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

    Sounds like a basement dweller to me.

    Just sayin

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Shut the fuck up, Robin Hood.

    DemocraticUnderground is over

  • Mr. FIFY||

    WTF? I tried to post an arrow pointing to the left. Just damn.

  • UvalDuvalCuckoo||

    Man that's original and witty. Libertarianism must have something going for it, I mean, at least one person chooses to sit around and read Libertarian articles and post on them frequently instead of say, Gambolling.

  • pinostabaum||

    Get this man a Super PAC

  • Mack for President||


  • protefeed||

    Mack's own history is likely to raise a few eyebrows. He's spoken at John Birch Society events, encouraged local law enforcement officers to arrest IRS agents for trespassing, and been the subject of numerous reports about the rise of militias produced by the Southern Poverty Law Center. He believes in God, homeschooling, and the 10th Amendment. He’s a survivalist.

    He sounds like a real-life Ron Swanson.

  • ||

    So, exactly where in that Congressional district does Sherrif Mack live?? Who does he think he is, a member of the Kennedy family? Maybe he's a Clinton? In Texas you still have live - reside, you know, have a house and that's where you live? - in the district you're pretending to represent. Just another carpetbagger who thinks he knows better than the people who live in this district. By the way: I do live there and I ain't votin' for 'Sherrif' Mack.

  • KW6||

    WE ALL know better than the people in your district who have kept re-electing an idiot.

    The only question is whether idiots are the majority, or are there enough intelligent people to have Mack replace the idiot.

  • ||

    So what's your answer, KW6? Is legally qualified to run for and be elected to Congress for this district or not? Or is that not an important issue to you, since you appear more interested in the intelligence level of the voters in the district? Flinging poo is emotionally satisfying, I'm sure, but is an insufficient answer to a question asking for a factual response.

  • ||

    His assertion that we didn't declare war going into Afghanistan or Iraq is not true.

  • ||

    Okay, SGt Ted, please cite for the HB or SB number and date of filing for the declaration of war against Iraq. Likewise for Afghanistan. No Congressional Declaration of War was passed. The requirements of the War Powers Act were complied with, at least facially, prior to any acts of war in both of those instances, but there is some doubt about the constitutionality of that Act, given the notion that the Constitution gives to Congress the power to declare war, not to the President and there's this silly idea about separation of powers and how one branch is not permitted to grant any of its authority to another branch of government.


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