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

Madison alder says he joined far-right group without vetting

MADISON, Wis. — A current Madison alder’s name appears on a leaked list of those who paid to be members of the Oath Keepers, a far-right group now being investigated for its involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Alder Gary Halverson, who represents the City of Madison’s 17th district on the north side near the Dane County Regional Airport, is one of the hundreds of people and six elected officials from Wisconsin identified by the Anti-Defamation League Center on Extremism on the Oath Keepers’ membership rolls, meaning they paid a membership fee at some point in time.

Halverson told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel he joined the group in mid-2020 before canceling his membership two months later. When asked for a comment by News 3 Now and Channel 3000, Halverson echoed those comments.

“I joined without vetting the organization,” Halverson said in an e-mail response to News 3 Now and Channel 3000. “I thought I joined an organization that welcomed veterans who cared about our democracy. I was misled and I terminated the membership two months later in Aug. 2020.”

A Rock County supervisor also appeared in the database, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, but has not yet responded to our request for comment.

Dozens of members of the Oath Keepers have been charged with crimes related to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, including some facing charges of seditious conspiracy with prosecutors alleging the group planned the chaos at the capitol for weeks as a plot to keep Donald Trump in power.

In addition to the six local leaders found in the database, four law enforcement officers, one military member, and three first responders were also among the 609 people in Wisconsin who signed up to join the Oath Keepers, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Nationwide, more than 38,000 names were included in the database.

The membership data was acquired and published by a non-profit called the Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDoSecrets), and republished by the Anti-Defamation League. The Anti-Defamation League carries a disclaimer on its report that a person’s inclusion in the database is not proof they were or still are a member of the Oath Keepers or that they hold all or some of the Oath Keepers’ ideology or actively participated in the group’s activities.

Halverson was elected to the Madison Common Council in April 2021, replacing Samba Baldeh, who was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly in November 2020. Halverson’s term on the Common Council is set to run until April 2023.