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Numerous reports have captured white nationalists attending Donald Trump rallies, volunteering for the Trump campaign, getting credentialed for Trump’s GOP convention, even financially supporting Trump’s campaign. Now comes word that a California white nationalist is quietly serving as a spokesperson. 

Sitting next to the “life-size cutout of Trump himself” at the Donald Trump for President Booth at the Marin Fair in July was a small crew that included Rick Oltman of Novato, California.

The Marin Independent Journal described Oltman as “a staunch advocate for tighter immigration laws who helped pass California’s Proposition 187 in 1994.” Missing from that biography were Oltman’s longstanding ties to white nationalist and nativist groups.

Back at the fair, KGO radio host Brian Copeland asked Oltman, identified as being from “Californians for Trump,” about concerns regarding white nationalists like David Duke supporting Trump’s campaign. Oltman brushed aside the criticism, claiming “Not being a member of the KKK, I wouldn’t know.”

Trump activist Rick Oltman speaking with KGO reporter.

Rick Oltman may not be a member of the Ku Klux Klan, but he’s pretty darned close. Oltman has been a member of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC), a white nationalist organization descended directly from the Jim Crow-era white Citizens Councils.

[column size=one_half position=first ]Not only was Oltman listed as a member, according to the group’s tabloid, he gave an address to the 1997 national conference of the white nationalist group.

In 1998, Oltman shared the stage with other CofCC members and a onetime Alabama state leader of Knights of the Ku Klux Klan at a Cullman, Alabama anti-immigrant rally. [1]

In 1996, Oltman was reprimanded by his former employer, the Marin Republican Party, for issuing a controversial statement publicly supporting a brutal case of police brutality caught on video where officers repeatedly clubbed two undocumented immigrants.[2]

Oltman is no stranger to racist rhetoric. He has attacked concerns about racism as “white bashing.” On Facebook, Oltman is a follower of white nationalist leader Peter Brimelow. In fact, Brimelow is the only person Oltman follows.[/column] [column size=one_half position=last ]

Council of Conservative Citizens tabloid, Citizens Informer (Spring 1998), 6

Council of Conservative Citizens tabloid, Citizens Informer (Spring 1998), 6


In an article published in the winter 2016 edition of the white nationalist journal, The Social Contract, Oltman outlined a lengthy anti-immigrant political strategy, arguing that “we must take back the country by winning elections.” He concluded by begging for a “few million dollars” for nativist campaigns, which he claimed would “lead Western Civilization to victory…once again.”  Oltman is a “frequent contributor” to the controversial publication.

Oltman and Nativism

Trump activist Rick Oltman’s brutal nativist rhetoric spans more than two decades, as do his ties to notorious anti-immigrant organizations.

[column size=one_half position=first ]

“We are sick and tired of watching our beautiful community turn into a sewer because of overpopulation by illegal aliens and their sponsors.”

Rick Oltman

[/column] [column size=one_half position=last ] Long before Trump talked of Mexicans as “criminals” and “rapists,” Oltman was dehumanizing immigrants. In a 1996 op-ed, he proclaimed, “We are sick and tired of watching our beautiful community turn into a sewer because of overpopulation by illegal aliens and their sponsors.”[3]

Oltman began his nativist career in the early 1990s when he founded the anti-immigrant group MIGRA to oppose a San Rafael hiring hall for undocumented workers and was also active on the Proposition 187 campaign.[/column]

He went on to work for the oldest and most influential anti-immigrant group in the country, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). Despite repeated mentions of his white nationalist ties, Oltman served as FAIR’s Western Region field director from 1994 to 2007. In early 2007, FAIR replaced Oltman with another white nationalist sympathizer.[4]

From 2007 to 2011, Oltman worked with the nativist group Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), from which he launched the Tea Party Immigration Coalition with publication of an “Immigration Contract with America.”  This quasi-manifesto included ending birthright citizenship “by statute,” adding, “The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was not adopted to confer citizenship on those born to illegal aliens.”[5]

As of publication, the Trump campaign and Californians for Trump have not responded to repeated requests regarding the status of Rick Oltman with the campaign, particularly if he is a staff member or active volunteer.

Regardless, another white nationalist sympathizer has been given a mainstream platform, and those providing the platform continue to aid and abet.


[1] Citizens Informer (Spring 1998), 6

[2] Richard Halstead, “Marin GOP Leader Defends Beating,” Marin Independent Journal (April 5, 1996), A1, 5. “What Were they Thinking?” Marin Independent Journal (April 25, 1996).

[3] Rick Oltman, “Stop insulting us as ‘racists’” Marin Independent Journal, November 27, 1996.

[4] “Reformer Corner: FAIR’s New Western Region Representative Joe Turner,” FAIR Immigration Report (March 2007).

[5] Rick Oltman, “The Immigration Tea Party,” San Francisco Examiner, November 16, 2010,



Devin Burghart

Author Devin Burghart

is vice president of IREHR. He coordinates our Seattle office, directs our research efforts, and manages our online communications. He has researched, written, and organized on virtually all facets of contemporary white nationalism since 1992, and is internationally recognized for this effort. Devin is frequently quoted as an expert by print, broadcast, and online media outlets. In 2007, he was awarded a Petra Foundation fellowship. more...

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