Before listening to this week’s episode, you might want to give last week’s show a listen. In “Breaking the Oath: Part 1,” we introduced you to Tasha Adams. When we last heard from Tasha, we were just beginning to understand what life was like with her husband, Stewart Rhodes.
In the first few months after Stewart founded the Oath Keepers, Tasha held out hope that things might soon be changing for the better. An influx of support brought some notoriety for Stewart and, more importantly, some much needed funds for their household, courtesy of Stewart’s newfound fans. But the money and fame weren’t enough for Stewart. He wanted to find a way to funnel the energy behind the Oath Keepers into something even bigger.
Stewart started looking into ways he could grow the organization, but Tasha wasn’t comfortable with his plans for paid memberships. Instead, Tasha took her first quiet stand against Stewart and what he was building. But it wasn’t easy. “It was really hard for me to say no to him, very hard for me to tell him, but I need to back away,” Tasha told us.
But the Oath Keepers continued to grow even without Tasha’s involvement. And the money coming in also further fueled Stewart’s control over the family. He moved them into an isolated cabin in the woods of Montana. There, he restricted their six kids to a cold, unfinished basement and homeschooling with Tasha as he jetted off around the country. At times, it felt like Stewart was spending the money he brought in from the Oath Keepers on everything but his family.
“The only person who really knows where all of the group’s money went is Stewart Rhodes. He was spending the group’s money on haircuts, on liquor, on storable food reserves, on personal riot gear. … The list sort of went on and on,” according to Rebecca Ballhaus, a Wall Street Journal reporter who investigated Oath Keeper finances.
All the while, Stewart was growing more controlling at home with Tasha and the kids. This week, we’ll hear more from Tasha and her son Dakota as they detail their efforts to leave Stewart behind and carve out a new life for themselves.
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