Collin County Constable Joe Wright was identified yesterday as a one-time member of the Oath Keepers, a far-right extremist group. Wright was identified by the Anti-Defamation League Center on Extremism (ADL), along with 38,000 others, including nearly 400 public officials. An interactive map on the ADL site shows Texas has the most active members of the Oath Keepers. 

The Oath Keepers are a conspiracy movement with anti-government ideologies. The group is often associated as a militia of sorts that targets government officials, former military, emergency services and law enforcement to join their movement. The Oath Keepers are said to have played a large role in the January 6 insurrection, and 11 members were charged with multiple offenses including seditious conspiracy. 

The ADL reported, “Joe Wright, a constable in Collin County, Texas, signed up for the organization before taking office, writing, “Constable elect for Collin County Pct. 4 Constable’s office. Currently a Collin County deputy sheriff [sic].” Wright remains Constable in Collin County.”

Update 9/9/22 – 8:00 a.m. WFAA reported on the issue and a similar statement was issued to Local Profile. This story has since been updated to reflect comment from Constable Wright.

The ADL also included a disclaimer on the site explaining some individuals named may no longer be members of the organization, but were at one point. They explained, “When reviewing this information, you should bear in mind the possibility that the individual misunderstood the nature of the Oath Keepers. Before taking any action based on this information, an individualized assessment of the individual must take place.”

Constable Wright told Local Profile he has disavowed the group in an official statement, reading: 

I do not agree with or support any extremist groups or individuals who take subversive actions against our government. In 2011, as a new candidate, I was invited to re-affirm my commitment to uphold my oath of office should I be elected. At the time, I believed the Oath Keepers existed only to encourage elected officials to honor their oath of office, follow the law and to uphold the Texas and U.S. Constitution.

I never directly engaged with, communicated with, nor attended any of their meetings during that time, or any other time, nor did I ever renew my membership. I swore an official oath to protect and defend the Constitution and laws of this state, and the United States, and I shall continue to do so.

I will not be answering any more questions on this issue as I have no involvement with this association or anyone connected to this association, whatsoever.

Constable Wright was not the only official named on the ADL list in Texas.