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Klickitat County Sheriff Bob Songer finds himself in yet another controversy over threatening public officials and aligning with far-right groups. This time, he declared he would “arrest, detain and recommend prosecution of any government official or agent” who attempts to enforce “any person or entity to comply with unconstitutional orders, edicts, mandates, proclamations, directives, regulations, etc.”

Songer’s missive specifically targets COVID-19-related restrictions and mandates, unilaterally declaring rules “unconstitutional” and pledging that his office will not enforce them. It comes as Washington State Governor Jay Inslee has announced plans to lift many COVID-19-related restrictions in the state.

Sheriff Songer’s Letter



Songer previously garnered attention when he threatened to arrest state contact tracers. In issuing the threat, he offensively likened Governor Inslee’s actions to stop the spread of the pandemic to the efforts of Adolph Hitler – a common and antisemitic practice among far-right anti-mask activists.

Songer’s most recent offering, coming in a June 17 letter issued by the Klickitat County Sheriff’s department, also included decidedly Christian nationalist language. Songer declared that “I have taken an oath before the ‘Supreme Judge of the Universe’” and misrepresented the Declaration of Independence by saying that his approach to government is based on

 “a philosophy of law and government set forth in the Declaration of Independence which can be summarized as…All men and women are created by an Almighty, All-knowing, Eternal God Whose Son, Jesus Christ, is Savior and Lord.”[1]

It should be noted that the Declaration of Independence mentions neither Jesus nor Christianity.

If Songer’s stress on his “constitutional” duties as a sheriff, his melding policy statements with declarations of Christianity, and his comparisons of COVID-19 prevention policies to Nazism sound like typical far-right fare, they do so for a reason.

Sheriff Songer and the People’s Rights Network

Sheriff Songer (middle, Cowboy hat) at People’s Rights, standing next to area leader Kelli Stewart (seated, maroon vest)

Sheriff Songer has also been cozying up to far-right groups. In February, he attended a meeting of People’s Rights Washington, the state’s chapter of the national group whose leaders have promoted antisemitism, anti-Muslim bigotry, and attacks on the treaty and water rights of Indian Nations. The group also encourages paramilitary activism.

At a People’s Rights Washington meeting in Clark County, Washington, on February 18, one of the group’s most vocal area leaders, Kelli Stewart, stepped to the podium and announced,

“I want to pause and make a special welcome to Klickitat County Sheriff, defender of inherent rights, and the only sheriff I know who has said he will arrest [Governor Jay] Inslee if he steps foot in his county.”


As the audience erupted in applause, the camera panned to a seated Bob Songer, the sheriff touching his heart as if to indicate being moved by the support from the far-right crowd.

Songer also posed for a photo with Stewart and KrisAnne Hall, the guest speaker at the People’s Rights event. KrisAnne Hall is a far-right “constitutionalist” whose ideas have heavily influenced People’s Rights. Among other things, Hall argues that the 14th, 15th, and 19th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution are unconstitutional and that Kamala Harris is not eligible to be President. Hall has also appeared at a meeting of the white nationalist League of the South.

LEFT: Kelli Stewart, JC Hall, Sheriff Songer, KrisAnne Hall at People’s Rights meeting. RIGHT: Sheriff Songer.

In addition to the People’s Rights event, Songer was photographed seated next to KrisAnne Hall at a February 26-27 meeting hosted by Richard Mack’s Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) in Woodlands, Texas.[2] The CSPOA website promotes the Posse Comitatus idea that “The vertical separation of powers in the Constitution makes it clear that the power of the sheriff even supersedes the powers of the President.”[3]

Ideas derived from the Posse Comitatus are also prominent in People’s Rights.

Mack’s CSPOA actively works to recruit law enforcement officers to the far-right cause. Mack has also offensively declared that “the Reverend Jesse Jackson types and the NAACP have done more to enslave Afro-Americans than all the southern plantation owners put together.”[4] And following the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, Mack was quoted as saying,

“People get all upset when they hear about militias, but what’s wrong with it? I wouldn’t hesitate for a minute to call out my posse against the federal government if it gets out of hand.”[5]

Coupled with an alliance with far-right figures whose “constitutionalism” would overturn the federal basis of civil and voting rights, Bob Songer’s pronouncement that he will block “unconstitutional” government policies is deeply troubling. Not only is Sheriff Songer usurping the power of the judicial branch to interpret the law and Constitutionality, unilaterally choosing which laws to enforce violates the spirit of the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause. A county sheriff has no jurisdiction to overrule federal civil rights and voter protections. They are laws that must be fully enforced. Moreover, far-right sheriffs like Bob Songer should not be allowed to determine the parameters of Constitutional rights based on the distorted, inaccurate, and ahistorical “teachings” of the likes of far-rightists KrisAnne Hall, Richard Mack, and Ammon Bundy’s People’s Rights network.


[1] Songer, Bob. Letter issued from Klickitat County Sheriff’s office. June 17, 2021.

[2] Taylor-Holt, Kelly. Texas Sheriffs Learn About Their Constitutional Duties. The New American. March 11, 2021.

[3] Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association. About CSPOA. Accessed June 25, 2021.

[4]  Mack, Richard, and Walters, Timothy Robert. From My Cold Dead Fingers: Why America Needs Guns. Rawhide

Western Publishing, October 1994; Mack, Richard, and Walters, Timothy Robert. Government, God and Freedom: A Fundamental Trinity. Rawhide Western Publishing, May 1995, p. 62.

[5] Anderson, Jack. 1996. Inside the NRA: Armed and Dangerous. Vancouver, BC: Newstar Press.

Chuck Tanner

Author Chuck Tanner

Chuck Tanner is an Advisory Board member and researcher for the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights. He lives in Washington State where he researches and works to counter white nationalism and the anti-Indian and other far right social movements.

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