LancasterOnline: Oath Keepers Regional Leader Part of Doug Mastriano’s ‘Security’ Team
“Mastriano has surrounded himself with a non-professional, armed security team whose members include at least one person with direct ties to a militia group.”
On Saturday, LNP broke the story that a member of Doug Mastriano’s “security” team, Scott Nagle, is a regional leader for the Oath Keepers, the far-right extremist militia that played a significant role in the January 6th insurrection. Several Oath Keepers have pleaded guilty to “seditious conspiracy” in connection with the Jan. 6 attack, and the organization has been a major player in America’s far-right movement since 2009.
LNP uncovered that Nagle was the Lancaster County chapter leader for the Pennsylvania Oath Keepers as recently as January of this year. But his name was removed from the group’s website after they contacted him. Members of Mastriano’s security team have frequently blocked reporters from asking Mastriano questions at his events.
This new report from LNP is just the latest reminder that Doug Mastriano is way too extreme and out of touch for Pennsylvania.
Read LNP’S report on Doug’s militia connections here and below:
Doug Mastriano is running an unconventional campaign for governor. He’s not raising a lot of money. He prefers to attend closed-door events with his base or campaign at public events where reporters are often kept at arm’s length.
But the Republican nominee’s campaign is also notable for another reason: Mastriano has surrounded himself with a non-professional, armed security team whose members include at least one person with direct ties to a militia group.
Mastriano’s detail includes several members of a relatively new evangelical church near Elizabethtown, LifeGate, whose leaders have spoken openly about electing Christians to office to advance biblical principles in government.
Perhaps the most visible member of the security team is James Emery, an Elizabethtown Area School Board member who has been photographed providing security to Mastriano at numerous events over the past year, sometimes armed. Earlier this month, Emery blocked members of the news media from entering a room in Erie where Mastriano was scheduled to speak to local business leaders.
The “Scott” mentioned by Emery is fellow LifeGate member Scott Nagle, who until recently was listed as a regional leader for the Oath Keepers, a militia group founded in 2009.
In 2020, Emery’s son, Jay, helped lead a group whose members attended a Black Lives Matter protest in Elizabethtown. At least one member was armed, and they stood alongside members of another militia group, the Carlisle Light Infantry.
The two groups have at least one overlapping member and appeared to be coordinating their actions at the protest.
At the time, a man who identified himself to an LNP reporter only as Jay, a 30-year-old Elizabethtown resident, said he was with the “Domestic Terrorism Response Organization,” which he said was “dedicated to protecting businesses, citizens and homes.”
An archived version of the now deleted Facebook page for the group, provided to LNP|LancasterOnline, shows Jay Emery as an administrator. The LNP reporter who covered the 2020 Elizabethtown protest, shown a photo of James Emery-Shea, confirmed he is the same “Jay” the reporter spoke with.
Nagle, meanwhile, was the Lancaster County chapter leader for the Pennsylvania Oath Keepers as recently as January of this year, but his name was removed from the group’s website after LNP | LancasterOnline contacted him at the time for a story on a pre-Jan. 6, 2021, meeting of militia groups in Quarryville.
The Oath Keepers are a right-wing militia founded in 2009 by Stewart Rhodes, a U.S. Army veteran from Montana. The Pennsylvania Oath Keepers split from the national group in 2015, but a social media post three days before January 6 alluded to armed veterans violently resisting election results.
The April event was not the first at which Nagle and Mastriano were seen together.
At a June 2021 event for U.S. Senate candidate Kathy Barnette at the Star Barn in East Donegal Township, Nagle and his wife Leah posed for a photo with Mastriano, Emery, Ret. Gen. Mike Flynn, FreePA leader Tabitha Valleau, and Sharon Ogilvie, another LifeGate member.