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Former Oath Keepers director Richard Mack, and his group, the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), have long pressed the idea that sheriffs can block laws they deem “unconstitutional,” including gun laws.

Now the group has taken up the electoral fraud conspiracies at the heart of the January 6 insurrection. Relying upon the unfounded claims in a popular new election denial conspiracy video, CSPOA is preparing to organize law enforcement to intervene in elections.

CSPOA and 2000 Mules

With COVID denial losing the mobilizing power it once held, like many on the far-right, CSPOA jumped on the election denial bandwagon. In a May 24 “open letter,” the group declared,

“The Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) is calling upon all Americans and law enforcement nationwide to come together in pursuit of the truth regarding the 2020 election. Considering the persistent allegations of election fraud since even before the 2020 elections began, and as a response to the perpetual polarizing effect this has had on the American people, the CSPOA would like to put this issue to rest. Our constitutional republic and peaceful future as a free people absolutely depend on it. In the opinion of the CSPOA, there is very compelling physical evidence presented by in the movie ‘2000 Mules’ produced by Dinesh D’Souza.”[1] is a Texas-based voter suppression outfit spun off from the Tea Party. As for Dinesh D’Souza, in 2014, he was convicted of a felony for making illegal campaign contributions. He received a pardon from Donald Trump in 2018. D’Souza has a long history of serving the far right by denying the depth of racism in American society – including speculating that the murderous 2017 white nationalist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville was staged.[2]

CSPOA continues, “we are asking for all local law enforcement agencies to work together to pursue investigations to determine the veracity of the ‘2000 Mules’ information.”[3] Multiple sources have already debunked claims made in “2000 Mules.”[4] The same video was chuckled at and dismissed out of hand as evidence of election fraud by Attorney General William Barr in a deposition presented at Monday’s January 6 Commission hearing.[5]

Sheriffs and Election Interference

CSPOA’s push in this direction has gained traction with some sheriffs. With its letter, CSPOA included a list of “Sheriffs Committed to Investigating Election Fraud,” including:

Barry County, Michigan Sheriff Dar Leaf, the recipient of CSPOA’s “2016 Sheriff of the Year” award, is currently under investigation by the Michigan Attorney General’s Office and Michigan State Police (MSP) in connection to his investigation into claims of electoral fraud in the 2020 election.

In 2021, Leaf attempted to rally “constitutional sheriffs” behind the idea of seizing Dominion voting machines at the heart of Trumpian conspiracy theories about the election. State officials had been investigating whether an unauthorized third party had gained access to election equipment in violation of state law. The connection to Barry surfaced when the far-right sheriff countersued the state for allegedly interfering with his “investigation.”[7]

“This is the top issue for the CSPOA,” according to CSPOA National Operations Director Sam Bushman.

Noting that Logan County, Oklahoma, Sheriff Damon Devereaux is also on board with such investigations, Bushman also mentioned that CSPOA would hold a future press conference on the issue and assist sheriffs in conducting voting investigations.

Moreover, CSPOA will hold a training session led by Richard Mack and Sam Bushman titled “2000 Mules: ‘Law Enforcement Has To Step In At This Point!’ – Will Sheriff’s Investigate?” at the upcoming “Freedom Fest” July 13-16 in Las Vegas.[8]

CSPOA, January 6, and Civil War

In a May 24 video, Bushman shared his thoughts on election fraud, January 6, and a looming “civil war” in America. Bushman began by alleging that Democrats “literally committed election fraud in 2016 where Hillary literally ordered a hit piece on her opponent that was false,” asserting that “We need to prosecute to the full extent of the law Hillary Clinton and the criminals behind that reality check.”[9]

CSPOA’s Sam Bushman

“You want to talk about a political coup?” he asked, insisting, “January 6th is nothing compared to what these criminals have done.” Bushman declared himself among those answering “yes” to the question, “Did God send Trump?” He then dismissed the gravity of the January 6th insurrection and linked allegations of election fraud to a potential “civil war” in America:

“So the people then go to Congress. Washington D.C. January 6th. Peaceful as all get out. A few provocateurs intentionally run it off the rails. The masses get betrayed from their peaceful attempt to have Congress visit this issue as another way to express a redress of grievance. And you know what. Congress shirked their duty. They never looked into vote fraud…All Congress did was set it aside and say because of the insurrection…we have to dismiss this…If you take away our rights to a redress of grievance. If you violate the five…guarantees in the First Amendment…If we are jettisoned in all that, and you have no vote ‘cause there’s vote fraud, so you cannot trust the election, this in my opinion will sow the seeds to a civil war in America.”[10]

The threat of law enforcement intervention in the election-counting process based on bogus conspiracies is another dangerous assault on democracy. IREHR is urging the Justice Department to investigate this new far-right scheme to subvert elections. We also encourage all readers to pay closer attention to what’s happening with local elected officials, including the county sheriff. Democracy depends upon such vigilance.


Correction: This article originally referred to Sam Bushman as CSPOA’s Vice-President of Operations, a position he formerly held. As of July 14, 2022 the group’s website lists Bushman as the National Operations Director ( This article has been corrected to reflect this fact.



[1] Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association. “Press Release. The CSPOA is Calling Upon All Americans and Law Enforcement Nationwide to Come Together in Pursuit of the Truth Regarding the 2020 Election.” CSPOA website. May 24, 2022.

[2] Victor, Daniel. “A Look at Dinesh D’Souza, Pardoned by Trump.” New York Times. May 31, 2018.; Higgins, Tucker. “Trump will pardon conservative pundit Dinesh D’Souza, who was convicted of campaign finance violation.” CNBC. May 31, 2018.

[3] Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association. “Press Release. The CSPOA is Calling Upon All Americans and Law Enforcement Nationwide to Come Together in Pursuit of the Truth Regarding the 2020 Election.” CSPOA website. May 24, 2022.

[4] Dreisbach, Tom. “A pro-Trump film suggests its data are so accurate, it solved a murder. That’s false.” NPR. May 17, 2022.; Swenson, Ali. “FACT FOCUS: Gaping holes in the claim of 2k ballot ‘mules.’” Associated Press. May 3, 2022.; MCarthy, Bill and Amy Sherman. “The faulty premise of the ‘2,000 mules’ trailer about voting by mail in the 2020 election.” Politifact. May 4, 2022.; Bump, Philip. “‘2000 Mules’ offers the least convincing election-fraud theory yet.” Washington Post. May 17, 2022.

[5] Schott, Bryan. “William Barr mocks ‘2000 Mules’ movie during Jan. 6 hearing, a film Sen. Mike Lee claimed had merit.” Salt Lake Tribune.

[6] Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association. Press Release. The CSPOA is Calling Upon All Americans and Law Enforcement Nationwide to Come Together in Pursuit of the Truth Regarding the 2020 Election. May 24, 2022.

[7] WBCH 100.1. “Barry County Sheriff wins national 2016 Sheriff of the Year award.” Accessed June 13, 2022; Krafcik, Michael. “Under Investigation for Investigating: Local sheriff sues state, alleging interference.” WWMT News. June 6, 2022.; King, Jon. Report: West Michigan sheriff under investigation for 2020 election probe. June 6, 2022.; King, Jon. “Michigan State Police expands 2020 election equipment probe into Barry County.” Michigan Advance. May 9, 2022.; Oosting, Jonathan. “Emails: Michigan sheriff sought to seize voting machines amid Trump claims.” July 2, 2021.

[8] Freedom Fest. Our Keynote Speakers.; Freedom Fest. Speakers. Accessed June 13, 2022. Accessed June 13, 2022; CSPOA Posse Webinar. May 24, 2022.

[9] CSPOA Posse Webinar. May 24, 2022.

[10] CSPOA Posse Webinar. May 24, 2022.

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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