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The Far-Right Legislator: Daniel Knodl

IREHR Special Report: Breaching the Mainstream


The Far-Right Legislator: Daniel Knodl

(R-Wisconsin State Assembly, District 24)


Daniel Knodl holds the distinction of being the most prolific sponsor of far-right anti-human rights legislation included in this report.  Knodl’s 31 bills cut across multiple issue areas, including 13 COVID Denial/Vaccines bills, eight voter suppression bills, three each anti-abortion rights and anti-protest bills, and two each anti-LGBTQIA and anti-CRT bills. (Appendix B)

The multi-issue character of Knodl’s bill sponsorship mirrors the focus of the three Facebook groups he is known to have joined. In 2019, Knodl joined Wisconsin Patriot EVENTS List (517 members). In 2020, he joined the WI/IL Convention of the States Supporters (176 members), and in 2021, he joined No Left Turn in Education-Wisconsin (1,252 members).[94]

The WI/IL Convention of the States Supporters is linked to the Convention of the States, a group founded by former Tea Party Patriots leader Mark Meckler–a national leader in the effort to host a far-right Article V Constitutional Convention to amend the U.S. Constitution. While the group offers little information on the specific amendments it seeks to pass, save for term limits, any such convention would likely devolve into a free-for-all built around re-making the Constitution in the image of Tea Party-style politics.[95]

Similarly, Wisconsin Patriot EVENTS List has promoted a range of political messages. The group describes that it:

“Supports C.U.T. Wisconsin who is ProLife First and Foremost and are dedicated to preserving ProLife/ProFamily Ministries such as Q90 Christian Radio, Wisconsin’s Black Robe Regiment, A&A Alexandrina Center (Pro_Life Green Bay), 40 Days for Life, Many Many More.”[96]

The group’s Administrators have also promoted COVID Denial, pro-Trump messages, and the work of anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist Trevor Loudon. Administrator Pat Batemen is also a member of the Posse-Style group Constitutional Grassroots Movement and TEA Party United – Let’s Organize. Moderator Marlene Sobolik is a Wisconsinites Against Excessive Quarantine member. And Moderator Scott Alan Buss is a member of STOP Illegal Immigration & Secure OUR Borders NOW! and the Second Amendment Alliance Foundation.[97]

In the framework common in School-Centered far-right groups, No Left Turn in Education, the national parent of the group to which Knodl belongs, declared,

“Radical teachings motivated by a political agenda and deliberately spread by teachers, administrators, school board members, and even state officials have infiltrated schools across the nation. Unfortunately, all too often words such as diversity, equity, inclusion, social justice, systemic racism, human rights education and health education concealed an aggressive, radical totalitarian ideology. From The 1619 Project, to Critical Race Theory, to Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE), the goal is to overturn our society by sowing divisiveness and hate. The social unrest that erupted in May 2020 provided the perfect cover for a complete assault and takeover of our educational system. Aided by the mainstream media, the teachers’ unions, together with an increasing number of educators and administrators have become the true schoolyard bullies, using taxpayer funds to indoctrinate their captive audience – our children.” [Bold in original][98]

Befitting such an attack on “diversity, equity, [and] inclusion,” one board member of the No Left Turn national organization is David A. Clarke Jr., the former Milwaukee County Sheriff who called Black Lives Matter a “terrorist movement” and “hate group” and declared that they “will join forces with ISIS to being down our legal constituted republic.” In 2016, Clarke accepted a “Leadership Award” from the New York chapter of the Oath Keepers, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Standing before an Oath Keepers banner, Clarke told the crowd, “I’m one of those that believes that only a citizen uprising is going to allow we the people to resume our rightful place in this republic.”[99]

As of 2015, Clarke was also a member of Richard Mack’s Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Clarke was named the group’s “Sheriff of the Year” in 2013.[100]


Two: The Legislators


Four: The Far-Right Groups


[94] No Left Turn in Education-Wisconsin. Facebook. About.; Wisconsin Patriot EVENTS List. Facebook. Members.; WI/IL Convention of the States Supporters. Facebook. Members.

[95] WI/IL Convention of the States Supporters. Facebook. About. Accessed April 4, 2022.

[96] Wisconsin Patriot EVENTS List. Facebook. About. Accessed April 1, 2022.

[97] Bateman, Pat. Facebook. Posts to Wisconsin Patriot Events List.; Buss, Scott Alan. Facebook. Posted in Wisconsin Patriot EVENTS List; Sobolik, Marlee. Facebook. Posts in Wisconsin Patriot EVENTS List. Accessed April 4, 2020.

[98] No Left Turn in Education. Mission, Goals & Objectives. Accessed April 1, 2022.

[99] Mathis-Lilley, Ben. “Potential Trump Homeland Security Chief Believes Black Lives Matter–ISIS Alliance Is Imminent.” Slate. November 10, 2016.; No Left Turn in Education. Board of Directors. Accessed April 1, 2022; Anti-Defamation League. Wisconsin Sheriff David Clarke, Jr., Reported Headed to DHS, Has Ties to Extremist Groups. May 18, 2017.; Kertscher, Tom. Says Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. has said Black Lives Matter “is a terrorist movement, a hate group and calls it, Black LIES Matter.” PolitiFact. April 17, 2017.; Southern Poverty Law Center. Hatewatch. Sheriff David Clarke’s ‘Leadership Award’ Address to Oath Keepers. May 18, 2017.

[100] Southern Poverty Law Center. “Sheriff David Clarke Plays a Straight-Talking Cop on Cable TV, But His Agenda Springs From Far-Right Extremism.” October 31, 2015.

Breaching the Mainstream

A National Survey of Far-Right Membership in State Legislatures

Copyright © 2022. Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights.