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At least 10 people who were recently elected to public office also appear to have been present in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6. Another seven who are running for Congress were as well.
It is not clear that all of these people either entered the Capitol or themselves were active participants in the riot.
One congressional candidate, New Hampshire Republican Jason Riddle, faces federal charges for his actions that day. Riddle pleaded guilty to two counts of demonstrating in a Capitol building, and theft of government property.
A PolitiFact reader forwarded us an emailed claim from a leading Democratic fundraising committee that piqued our interest.
The email, sent by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on behalf of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, read: "At least 10 people involved in the Capitol riots were just elected to state and local office. At least FIVE more are running for Congress."
When we reached out to Pelosi, her office referred us to the DCCC. Asked for evidence, the DCCC pointed us to an article from HuffPost that named 10 elected officials. They also shared with us a list of seven people who are currently running for office who they said fit the bill.
We checked it out. Reports, social media and other evidence show that nearly all of the politicians named by the DCCC did go to the Stop the Steal rally on Jan 6.
Their circumstances differed, though. One, Tina Forte, said she "didn’t go to Trump’s speech" but protested at the Lincoln Memorial before heading toward the Capitol. Another said he didn’t go to the rally, but it’s clear from his social media posts that he was outside the Capitol. There is evidence that some trespassed onto Capitol grounds. And at least one congressional candidate, New Hampshire Republican Jason Riddle, has been named as a Jan. 6 defendant in connection with his actions that day. He was charged with unlawful entry to the Capitol, disorderly and disruptive conduct, theft of government property, violent entry and demonstrating inside the building.
Pelosi’s statement could give the impression that all of them participated in the "riots." With only one facing charges, we found there’s not enough evidence available now to say that all these people were part of the Capitol attack itself. Given the monumental nature of what transpired on Jan. 6 and national interest in how those actions will shape government in 2022 and beyond, we reviewed what is currently known about these individuals and their activities that day.
Here are the 10 newly elected state and local officials that HuffPost reported were at the rally:
Dave LaRock, Virginia House of Delegates, representing District 33
John McGuire, Virginia House of Delegates, representing District 7
Marie March, Virginia House of Delegates, representing District 7
Natalie Jangula, city councilmember of Nampa, Idaho
Christine Ead, city councilmember of Watchung, New Jersey
Charles Ausburger, town councilmember of Mansfield, Connecticut
Susan Soloway, Hunterdon County Commissioner, New Jersey
Matthew Lynch, School Committee of Braintree, Massachusetts
Danielle Lindemuth, school board member of Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
Stephen Lindemuth, school board member of Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
We confirmed that all of these people made headlines for being present at the Stop the Steal rally in D.C. on Jan. 6. But as of Dec. 2, 2021, none in this group had been charged in federal court as defendants in connection with their activities.
Interviews and statements gathered by the Washington Post corroborated HuffPost’s reporting regarding LaRock, McGuire and March. The Idaho Press reported that Jangula referred to her Jan. 6 experience as a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show support for our country," and March, who is also a restaurant owner, told the Associated Press that she had no regrets about being there.
Lynch, a former teacher, resigned from his Boston-area job in February 2021 after he shared a selfie of himself in front of the Capitol that was shared across local Facebook groups. He told Patch.com that the FBI had questioned him twice. Lynch faced criticism from folks in the Braintree community as he ran for a school committee seat and, on Nov. 3, secured the office in a runoff election.
In New Jersey, a local newspaper called the Echoes-Sentinel published screenshots of Ead’s comments about the rally on Facebook. In eastern Connecticut, The Chronicle newspaper reported that in the week following the insurrection, Ausburger described during a council meeting the violence he saw at the Capitol. Soloway posted a selfie of herself in front of the Capitol building and is reported to have been a part of a group that organized a bus trip from Hunterdon to D.C. Local news reported Danielle Lindemuth organized four busloads of people from Pennsylvania to go to the rally, which she and her husband, Stephen Lindemuth, also newly elected to the school board, also attended.
As for the seven politicians running for Congress in 2022, social media posts and reports give more evidence about their involvement. But none of these individuals have been charged in connection with their Jan. 6 activities.
John McGuire, Republican from Virginia: We mentioned McGuire above as a Virginia state delegate, but he’s also running to represent the state’s 7th District. In an interview with the Washington Post on July 27, McGuire admitted publicly to being at the rally, but said he "did not enter the building." Twitter posts of McGuire show photos and claim that he was near police barricades.
In a later statement, McGuire said, "When I arrived home and saw the news, I was just as shocked and horrified as everyone else to see that people had entered the Capitol. It was a tragic day, and one we won't soon forget."
Forte, a Republican from New York: Forte has denied being part of the "Capitol riot" and said she did not enter the Capitol building. She was shown in multiple Twitter posts and videos among a group of people on the steps on the Lincoln Memorial, wearing what appeared to be a bulletproof vest and a "Trump 2020" hat and holding a massive flag — on it, a painting of Pelosi tearing apart the Constitution. In one video clip she says she is "fighting for our president." Forte, who is running to unseat Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in District 14, said in one Jan. 6 video that the group would be walking the flag to the Washington Monument and then the Capitol "and we’re going to fight for Trump." Another post shows her group on the lawn in front of the Capitol holding the flag. The person filming shouts, "This is what happens when you storm the Capitol… they break down the f------ barriers." Forte is seen on camera yelling, "That’s right! This is what happens!"
In a statement to Snopes, Forte said she was only in Washington that day to support the artist who created the Pelosi flag she was seen promoting.
"That was planned for 2 weeks prior to January 6th," she said. "We had a plan of unveiling first at the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and ending at the Capitol. I didn’t even go to Trump’s speech, which I was invited to." Forte also denied entering the Capitol building.
Derrick Van Orden, a Republican from Wisconsin: The Daily Beast reported that a picture that circulated on Facebook showed Van Orden, who’s running for District 3, inside of a restricted area on Capitol grounds during the insurrection.
In an op-ed for the La Crosse Tribune newspaper in Wisconsin, Orden said he did travel to the district for meetings and "to stand for the integrity of our electoral system as a citizen and at the behest of my neighbors here in Western Wisconsin." It’s not clear if he attended the rally before heading to the Capitol — Van Orden wrote in his op-ed that he "decided to walk down the mall to the Capitol and wait for the people to march there." He stood on a parapet on the perimeter of the Capitol grounds along with two friends, he wrote, but denied entering the grounds and said he left the protest once it became a mob.
Van Orden lost a 2020 bid for Congress and then filed to run again for 2022. His 2020 campaign expenditures included D.C. travel costs, which was noted by The Daily Beast as well as Wisconsin Public Radio based on a Federal Election Commission report.
Teddy Daniels, a Republican from Pennsylvania: Daniels, running for District 8 posted a video from in front of the Capitol to his Twitter and Facebook accounts, showing scores of people crowded on the steps chanting "USA!" and waving flags. "I am here. God bless our patriots," Daniels’ tweet read. From the perspective of his video, it appears that Daniels was within Capitol grounds. It is not clear if he attended the rally, and The Guardian reported that he did not give a clear answer when asked if he entered the Capitol during the riot.
Gary Leffler, a Republican from Iowa: Leffler, known in Iowa as a GOP activist and ardent Trump supporter prior to running for Iowa’s District 3, told NBC 6 News in Omaha, Nebraska, that he was able to get to the building’s steps. Leffler said in the interview that he attended the Stop the Steal Rally and heard Trump speak, then went with a friend toward the Capitol. Leffler claimed that one of the doors of the Capitol was opened "from the inside" and had "absolutely no Capitol Police around it or next to it or in front of it."
Leffler said in the interview that he saw people in tactical gear climb the walls and others inciting the crowd to be confrontational. He said he and his friend turned around to leave.
According to another report from the Des Moines Register, Leffler and the friend climbed the steps "to get a better view of what was happening" from the Capitol terrace. In an interview with the paper, Leffler said that they were told the Capitol police removed the barriers from the building. Leffler was photographed with another man holding up an "Iowa For Trump" flag on what appears to be the terrace, and a screenshot of a Facebook post by him reads, "Reporting to my fellow Patriots. Estimated crowd of over 1 million!"
Amanda Chase, a Republican from Virginia: Chase holds state office in Virginia but is running for Congress to represent District 7. On Jan. 6, Chase was one GOP candidate in Virginia’s gubernatorial race. She spoke at the Stop the Steal rally and posted at least one video to her Facebook page from D.C. Local Virginia paper The Progress-Index reported that Chase said she stayed to listen to Trump’s speech but left before the rally was finished and the riot began.
Riddle, the Republican from New Hampshire: Federal court documents say that Riddle admitted to FBI agents that he entered the Capitol following a group led by a "big dude with a cane" who broke a window in order to reach in and open a door. Riddle went inside the Office of the Senate Parliamentarian, took a selfie with a bottle of wine that he found inside and drank some of it; took a manual titled "Senate Procedure" from a desk and later sold it for $40; and removed a Fox News toy football that he later discarded.
RELATED LINK: PolitiFact fact-checks claims about Jan. 6
DCCC spokesperson Chris Taylor, Nov. 22, 2021
HuffPost, At Least 10 Republicans Who Were At The Jan. 6 Rally Just Got Elected To Office, Nov. 3, 2021
The Washington Post, At least seven Jan. 6 rallygoers won public office on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2021
Idaho Press, Incumbents hold seats, Jangula wins seat 3 in Nampa City Council election, Nov. 3, 2021
Associated Press, Candidates who attended ‘Stop the Steal’ rally win races, Nov. 3, 2021
Daily Kos, Eight GOP candidates who were present at Jan. 6 insurrection won their elections on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2021
WGBH Public Radio (Boston), Apparent Jan. 6 Rioter Elected to Braintree School Board, Underscores Deep Town Divisions, Nov. 8, 2021
Patch, FBI Visited Braintree School Board Hopeful After Capitol Riot, Oct. 26, 2021
Patch, Incoming Braintree School Board Member Accused of Making Threats, Nov. 4, 2021
Echoes-Sentinel, Candidate's Trump rally attendance becomes Watchung campaign issue, Oct. 1, 2021
The Chronicle, Mansfield councilor saw D.C. rioting firsthand, accessed Nov. 22, 2021
New Jersey Globe, Hunterdon County Commissioner took part in pro-Trump protest, but says she never entered U.S. Capitol, Jan. 10, 2021
Fox43, Central Pennsylvanians among "March for Trump" protesters, Jan. 6, 2021
Ballotpedia, Monica Fenton Manthey, accessed Nov. 30, 2021
Buzzfeed News, At Least 13 Republicans Who Participated In Jan. 6 Are Running For Office Next Week, Oct. 28, 2021
United States Department of Justice, Capitol Breach Cases, accessed Nov. 22, 2021
Twitter post, July 20, 2021
Twitter post, July 20, 2021
Twitter post, Aug. 24, 2021
Snopes, An Official Statement From Tina Forte for Congress, Nov. 22, 2021
The Daily Beast, GOP Candidate Bankrolled Jan. 6 Riot Trip With Campaign Cash, June 26, 2021
Wisconsin Public Radio, GOP Congressional Candidate: Report Of Involvement In Insurrection Is 'Inaccurate', June 29, 2021
Federal Election Commission, April Report of Receipts and Disbursements, Apr. 15, 2021
La Crosse Tribune, Derrick Van Orden: We need Abraham Lincoln now more than ever, Jan. 13, 2021
Teddy Daniels For Congress Twitter post, Jan. 6, 2021
Teddy Daniels Facebook post, Jan 6. 2021
Fox 56 WOLF-TV, Republican Teddy Daniels announces he is running for Congress, Jan 9, 2021
Teddy Daniels Facebook post, July 28, 2021
Teddy Daniels Twitter Post, July 28, 2021
The Guardian, Iowa caucus: hologram eagle and Jesus star on America’s most patriotic tractor, Jan. 31, 2021
NBC 6 News Omaha, Iowa Trump supporter describes his experience at last week’s U.S. Capitol protest, Jan 11, 2021
Des Moines Register, Iowa man identified in U.S. Capitol break-in, other Iowans participated in crowd action, Jan. 7, 2021
Twitter post, Jan. 7 , 2021
The Progress-Index, Chase campaign to Senate Democrats calling for her to quit her seat: ‘She will not resign!’ Jan. 8 , 2021
Chesterfield Observer, Sen. Chase attends D.C. rally, refuses to denounce attack on U.S. Capitol, Jan. 7, 2021
WSLS NBC 10 News, Facebook suspends Sen. Amanda Chase’s account after posting false claims, Jan. 8, 2021
Amanda Freeman Chase Facebook post, Jan. 6, 2021
Court Listener, United States v. Riddle Statement of Offense, Nov. 18, 2021
United States Department of Justice, Riddle, Jason Daniel, accessed Nov. 30, 2021
NBC 10 Boston, NH Man Arrested After He ‘Chugged' Wine at Capitol Riot Says He's Running for Congress, June 13, 2021