Senate candidate John James linked to organizer of rally where suspects in Whitmer kidnapping plot recruited


Senate candidate John James. - REUTERS/REBECCA COOK
  • Reuters/Rebecca Cook
  • Senate candidate John James.

The organizer of a rally where militia members are accused of recruiting members and plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and attack the state Capitol donated thousands of dollars to Michigan Republican Senate candidate John James.

Ryan D. Kelley, who heads the American Patriot Council, also appeared in photos with James, who is vying to unseat U.S. Sen. Gary Peters. One poll shows the candidates are neck-to-neck, according to a recent poll.

Salon first reported on James’ connections to Kelley, a Grand Rapids real estate agent who organized the “Well-Regulated Militia” rally in Lansing in June.

According to the FBI, the alleged ringleader of the plot, 37-year-old Adam Fox, used the rally to recruit members and discuss plans to attack the Capitol. A confidential informant secretly recorded the conversations.

Kelley’s pro-Second Amendment rally attracted "dozens of armed members from various militias, most of them white," who met with “other fringe groups like Boogaloo Bois and Proud Boys,” Bridge Magazine wrote.

Kelley denied his rally was linked to the kidnapping plot, which has resulted in charges against 14 men.

"The June APC Rally was pro-law enforcement," he said in a statement to Salon. "We coordinated the entire rally with Michigan State Police [and] thanked them publicly for their service. To suggest our rally was a meeting place to discuss a plot against the [governor] is grossly inaccurate."

After news about the alleged plot broke, the American Patriot Council distanced itself from the suspects.

“The American Patriot Council in no way condones violence as a form of political action. As the public is well aware, any actions taken by the American Patriot Council have been legal and lawful,” the council said in a statement. "While we hold the view that many public officials are guilty of a litany of crimes, and it has been our goal to hold these officials criminally responsible, we must do so lawfully."

Trump, however, continues to use the kind of contemptuous rhetoric used by the suspects, saying Thursday that Whitmer "wants to be a dictator" and hours later falsely accused the governor of continuing to lock down the state while her husband "can go boating and do whatever he wants."

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