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Ryan Kelley: Campaign Finances, COVID denial and other falsehoods

August 1, 2021

The most recent campaign finance disclosure date was July 26. We now have some idea of who is funding candidates for upcoming elections, specifically the 2022 race for Governor in Michigan.

This means we now have campaign finance records for Ryan Kelley, the co-founder of the American Patriot Council, who was part of the January 6th attack on the US Capitol, and defender of the Confederate statue in Allendale, Michigan.

There are no glaring revelations when it comes to who has already contributed money to Kelley’s campaign, which to date has raised a meager $34,954. This puts Kelley in fourth place for campaign funds raised by GOP candidates running for Governor in Michigan, well behind Garrett Soldano who has raised $624,827. 

The top nine contributors to Kelley’s campaign have contributed $1,000 or more, with the top contributor coming in at $5,000. Those top contributors include:

Steve Zsigray $5,000, Riverside, IL

James Miller $2,500, Gladwin, MI

Michael Kwast $1,500, Belmont, MI

Steve Goeddeke $1,000, Wyoming, MI

David Keim $1,000, Ada, MI

Joseph Moss $1,000, Hudsonville, MI

Jennifer Freed $1,000, Hart, MI

Jamie Fellows-Garno $1,000, Manton, MI

Jeff Grysen $1,000, Allendale, MI

Most of these contributors are business people, with some being fellow realtors (like Kelley) and two chiropractors. Some of them, based on their Facebook profiles, share similar ideological positions as Kelley.

Ryan Kelley the Candidate

Ever since Kelley announced his candidacy for Governor in Michigan, he has tried to distance himself from the American Patriot Council group he formed in 2020. The American Patriot Council website has been dormant since March of this year, with no new content, although numerous posts have been removed in an attempt to distance themselves from the people who have been arrested in the attempted kidnapping of Gov. Whitmer.

If you go to the ryankelley.com site, which is his campaign page, you get what one would expect. There is lots of rhetoric, but little substance. The lack of substance is most glaring when you look at Kelley’s policies page, which reads like a bunch of far right catch phrases, with no clear articulation of anything meaningful. 

Ryan Kelley’s Facebook page isn’t all that different than his website, although it is more active in terms of content. Within the past week of content, Kelley uses comments from   Marjorie Taylor Greene, posts about the contested election results in 2020, comments about his commitment to making Michigan an open carry state and his ongoing belief that COVID 19 was a hoax. His anti-vax and anti-mask positions might be his most dangerous, yet no one in the commercial media is scrutinizing the fact that a GOP candidate for Governor believes that COVID 19 is fake news. 

Kelley also makes pronouncements about education, calling for the abolition of Common Core, for parents to get involved in their kids’ school, to teach the US Constitution and to ban any reference to Critical Race Theory or any content that is critical of US history.

Lastly, there is one picture with Ryan Kelley being interviewed by WXMI 17 and Kelley added a quote to the picture from George Orwell, which reads, “The further society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.” Kelley believes he is speaking the truth, yet he has no idea that Orwell would despise Kelley’s politics. Those on the right think that because Orwell wrote 1984, which is a critique of authoritarian government, that somehow their nationalist movement is anti-authoritarian. Orwell signed up to fight against the Fascists during the Spanish Civil War and he would be opposed to the United State’s imperialist policies abroad and its Apartheid style practices at home. Ryan Kelley not only insults the memory of Orwell, he wouldn’t know the truth if it bit him on the ass.

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