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The Ultimate Joiner: Jim Walsh

(R-Washington State House of Representatives, District 19, Position 1)

Washington State Representative Jim Walsh (R-District 19, Position 1) wins the award for the most memberships in far-right Facebook groups. The 24 Facebook groups to which Walsh belongs include 13 COVID Denial, four Constitutionally-Constructed Nationalist, three School-Centered, one Anti-Indian, and three Other groups. Of the Constitutional-Constructed Nationalism groups he joined, three are also classified as Posse-Influenced, including the People’s Rights Washington Group (1,833 members*), a chapter of Ammon Bundy’s People’s Rights network.

Walsh joined the Posse-Influenced group, Our State, Our Rights (200 members) in 2015, the year before he was elected. The group describes itself as “working to defend the 10th amendment, our state rights under the U.S. constitution and trying to stop the federal over-reach.”[37] Our State, Our Rights earned its way into the Posse-Influenced category by administrator Vickie Riveria’s heavy promotion of KrisAnne Hall’s work inside the group and her promotion of events featuring Hall and Matt Shea, the Christian nationalist paramilitary figure who previously occupied a seat in the statehouse.[38] Walsh, who joined the group through two separate Facebook accounts, was added initially by Vickie Riveria; the far-right state legislator has also found cause to post material by KrisAnne Hall to his own Facebook accounts.[39]

In this Posse-Influenced Facebook group, Walsh posted a defense of a student whose anti-masker activism led to lockdowns at three Vancouver, Washington schools when members of the Proud Boys attempted to escort her unmasked onto campus.[40] Walsh cast the student, affiliated with a group deeply involved in the January 6 insurrection, as a “brave and outspoken conservative teen.”[41]

Walsh began joining COVID Denial groups in May 2020. He continued joining them during the second wave in 2021, including For The Kids Washington (2,364 members), a group administered by the Proud Boys-affiliated student and her mother, and Open Schools USA-a We Are United group (2,876 members), an organization co-founded by the same student.[42] Walsh was added to both groups by the same student.[43] Kids For Washington pushes the range of issues commonly found in such School-Centered far-right groups,

“Group topics range from mask and vaccine mandates, CRT/CSE, gathering groups to attend school board meetings, homeschooling resources, how to unenroll from the public school system, public records request, legal documents/petitions and so much more.”[44]

In 2021, Walsh also joined Northwest Parents against Critical Theory. The group declared its “purpose is to expose and destroy Critical Race Theory, the cancer that has afflicted our schools and institutions.”[45]

In other groups, Walsh gave voice to conspiracy theories and Posse-style ideas about sheriffs being able to nullify laws they oppose:

“So, we’re bringing FEMA trailers into WA now because of COVID. What can we do to stop this? I’m worried about what it means…I understand that sheriffs can’t just arrest the Governor. But why can’t they claim the Doctrine of Lesser Magistrates and just deny his mandates?… We’ve pulled our kids out of public school. I hoped that would mean less money for CRT and sex Ed…What can we do to prevent another abuse of emergency powers like we’re seeing now? Looking past COVID to the next ‘crisis’?…I’ve seen comments that employers are in contempt of court if they mandate COVID vax’s for workers. True? What about health care workers?… Is the Governor or WA Speaker going to try to push a high-capacity magazine ban again in Olympia, after the recent federal court ruling (allowing such bans)?… Resist tyranny. Stay strong. Peaceful non-compliance is a powerful tool.”[46]

Walsh’s delusions about COVID-19 were on full display when he wore a Holocaust-trivializing yellow star while speaking at a COVID Denial event. At the event in Lacy, Washington, Walsh declared, “It’s an echo from history…In the current context, we’re all Jews.” In addition, Walsh offensively compared vaccine requirements to Jim Crow segregation in the same presentation.[47] While Walsh eventually apologized for these actions, his defense of them remains on his Facebook thread as of March 2022, with the comment, “Orwellian. Hyper partisans are trying to make a sign of solidarity into…something bad.”[48]

In the legislature, Jim Walsh sponsored an anti-“critical race theory” bill and legislation opposing vaccine mandates or laws requiring vaccines to access “public places.”[49] Walsh also co-sponsored voter suppression bills to end mail-in voting and require voter identification.[50]




Three: Profiles in Far-Right Mainstreaming


[37] Our State, Our Rights. Facebook. About. Accessed March 25, 2022; Our State, Our Rights. Facebook. Members. Accessed March 25, 2022. Ballotpedia. Jim Walsh. Accessed March 25, 2022.

[38] Riveria, Vickie. Facebook. Search for “krisanne”. Search conducted March 25, 2022; Riveria,  Vickie. Facebook. Posted in Our State, Our Rights. September 21, 2015.; Kris Anne Hall -Genealogy of the Constitution. Accessed March 25, 2016. In one such post by Riveria, KrisAnne Hall expresses her version of the Posse Comitatus conception of sheriff’s power:

“Your Sheriff has an obligation to defy and refuse to comply or enforce any unconstitutional law or regulation…The State does not hire a Sheriff, the People elect him and they expect him to keep his oath to the people. Inherent in that oath is the requirement of the Sheriff to protect the people from all who would take their property in violation of their rights. If we expect that our Sheriff, as much as he is able, will help to protect our homes, our property, our lives, and our families from the acts of those who would violate our rights. But what happens when it’s the government itself who takes up the role of one who would take our rights, the role of the criminal?…The duty and the obligations of the Sheriff do not change even when the violator of our Liberty is the government itself. To fail to protect our Liberty from all unlawful activity is a dereliction of duty.”

Riveria, Vicki. Facebook. Posted in Our State, Our Rights. March 18, 2016.

[39] Walsh, James. Facebook. April 10, 2018.; Walsh, Jim. Facebook. July 7, 2021.

[40] Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights. COVID Denial as ‘Culture War.’ In Facebook and COVID Denial.

[41] Walsh, Jim. Facebook. Posted in Our State, Our Rights. March 20, 2022.

[42] Open Schools USA-a We Are United group. Facebook. Members.; Open Schools USA. Facebook. February 25, 2021.; For The Kids Washington. Facebook. Members. Accessed March 28, 2022.

[43] Open Schools USA-a We Are United group. Facebook. Members.; For The Kids Washington. Facebook. Members. Accessed March 28, 2022.

[44] For The Kids Washington. Facebook. About. Accessed March 28, 2022.

[45] Northwest Parents against Critical Theory. Facebook. About.; Northwest Parents against Critical Theory. Facebook. Members.

[46] Walsh, Jim. Facebook. Posted in Our State, Our Rights. December 3, 2021.

[47] Brunner, Jim. “Washington lawmaker wears yellow Star of David, evoking Nazi persecution, to protest COVID vaccine mandates.” Seattle  Times. June 30, 2021.

[48] Shabad, Rebecca. Washington lawmaker apologizes for wearing yellow Star of David to protest Covid mandates. NBC News. July 2, 2021.; Walsh, Jim. Facebook. June 30, 2021.

[49] Washington State Legislature. Representative Jim Walsh 2021-22.; Washington State Legislature. HB 1570—2021-22.; Washington State Legislature. HB 1720—2021-22.; Washington State Legislature. HB 1807—2021-22. Accessed March 28, 2022.

[50] Washington State Legislature. HB 1377—2021 -22.; Washington State Legislature. HB 1796—2021-22.

Breaching the Mainstream

A National Survey of Far-Right Membership in State Legislatures

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