SIOUX CITY — Woodbury County Sheriff Chad Sheehan faces opposition from some local residents for helping bring to Sioux City a nationally known, right-wing speaker who has suggested most federal agencies, with the exception of the military, are unconstitutional.
KrisAnne Hall, who describes herself as a constitutional attorney, is set to speak at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 12 at Western Iowa Tech Community College. A group called “We the People for Constitutional Sheriffs,” is sponsoring the free event, which is hosted by “Sheriff Chad Sheehan,” according to a flier posted to the Woodbury County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page on Feb. 25.
“Are you losing your freedoms and liberties? Learn how to get them back!” the flier said. His office also sent a press release using official stationery, and has promoted the event on the sheriff’s office’s official Facebook page. As of Saturday, March 5, the post had generated more than 190 comments, with many questioning the appropriateness of the sheriff hosting what they deemed as a political event.
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At Tuesday’s weekly meeting of the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors, four speakers objected to Hall’s appearance, as well as the constitutional sheriffs movement, which views federal and state government authorities as subordinate to county sheriffs.
“They believe that the sheriff rules the county and doesn’t have to listen to federal law if they interpret it to be unconstitutional,” Jasmine Solstice told supervisors at Tuesday’s meeting.
During the meeting, Sheehan pointed out that “We the People for Constitutional Sheriffs” is a small group and is not associated with the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, a national group formed in 2011 by former Arizona sheriff Richard Mack, who was an Oath Keepers board member at the time.
Hall, an Army veteran, former Florida prosecutor and radio talk show host, has attracted the scrutiny of the Southern Poverty Law Center, or SPLC, a civil rights group that tracks extremism. In a 2018 Facebook post, Hall claimed the SPLC included her on its “anti-government hate group list” for the fourth year in a row.
“Imagine that logic,” she said in the post. “I teach the Constitution, the document that created the government they love so much, & in their warped minds that makes me an ‘anti-government extremist’ hater.”
In August 2019, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hatewatch” reported that Hall had addressed the Florida chapter of the League of the South, a neo-Confederate hate group that declares on its website its “end goal is to establish an independent Southern republic.” Its president, Michael Hill, is quoted as saying in August 2016: “The Browning of America, and my native South, was not something to which I assented, and I surely do not approve of it.”
After speaking at the League of the South event, Hall told the SPLC: “While I am not a proponent of secession, a state certainly has that contractual right when it feels that the compact has been irrevocably broken. Our states are not fiefdoms under subjugation to an unquestionable despot. Yet while a state may secede or be expelled, that state would lose all benefits and privileges afforded to it under the federal compact.”
Hall did not immediately reply to an email from the Journal.
Sheehan did not immediately return multiple calls from the Journal last week seeking additional comment.
In a statement Thursday, Sheehan defended the inclusion of Hall at the March 12 training, which he described as an “opportunity to educate the public on your rights, liberties and freedoms.”
“While you may have read things on the internet, they can be certainly skewed, I am in no way a person that’s above the law,” Sheehan said at Tuesday’s supervisors meeting. “I’m not anti-gay. None of that. If there’s anything that would come out of that meeting that was racist, anti-Semitic or any of that, I would immediately denounce anything that would come out like that.”
Sheehan said he got the idea for the training session after seeing Hall speak at a meeting with members of the Iowa State Sheriffs and Deputies Association.
“KrisAnne Hall was brought in as a constitutional attorney to give an educational piece to the members of law enforcement and she did a training that I attended,” he said.
Maria Rundquist, a community organizer and Democrat who is seeking a seat on the county board of supervisors this year, asked the Woodbury County Board to consider nixing the March 12 training session, claiming that Hall’s ideology is rooted in white nationalism.
“We don’t want to infringe on… individual political ideologies but this particular action will bring divisiveness and chaos. We want to embrace people of all colors, united as a stronger community,” Rundquist wrote in an email to: Rocky De Witt, Keith Radig, Jeremy Taylor, Matthew Ung and Justin Wright.
Supervisor Rocky De Witt, who also works with Sheriff’s Office as a courthouse security guard, dismissed Rundquist’s request.
“For me, it is concerning that some folks want to shut this event down…” DeWitt said in an email. “It is not the board’s event to shut down… She has been invited by the sheriff, an elected official, at no cost to the county, and he has the Constitutional right to do so under the autonomy of his office.”
DeWitt went on to talk about being “bombarded by far-left, if not pure communist propagandists on a daily basis.”
“Do I ask for these groups to be shut down? No, I do not,” DeWitt said in the email.
‘Permission of the sheriff’
Hall, who reportedly speaks at over 250 events per year, is also an author who’s written books with titles such as: “Sovereign Duty” and “Bedtime Stories for Budding Patriots,” describes herself as a “steadfast warrior in the battle for Liberty” and a “true Patrick Henry of our time.”
In January 2014, she posted the following to her page: “Sheriffs, Police Officers, Public Servants UNITE to declare the Federal Government has NO POWER outside the Constitution and no authority outside the PERMISSION of the Sheriff!”
The SPLC story explained that Hall disagrees with the generally accepted view of the Supremacy Clause in Article VI of the Constitution, which says the Constitution and federal laws generally take precedence over state laws. She argues actions taken by the president, Congress or federal courts that are not specifically delegated to the federal government are unconstitutional because the 10th amendment reserves those powers to the states. Hall has also called the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution: “dangerous and unnecessary.” The former gave citizenship and equal civil and legal rights to African Americans while the latter is meant to protect the voting rights of all U.S. citizens regardless of race.
Hall, who has appeared on shows on Fox News, Newsmax and C-SPAN, also was a guest in October 2018 on InfoWars, the conspiracy website founded by Alex Jones, who recently was successfully sued by parents of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims for saying that the event was a false flag.
During her InfoWars appearance, Hall chatted with The Rev. Rodney Howard-Browne. In March 2020, the Boca Raton Tribune reported Howard-Browne promised to cure parishioners of COVID-19.
Sheehan has emphasized no taxpayer dollars will be spent on Hall’s March 12 appearance at WITCC’s Rocklin Conference Center.
Troy Jasman, the vice president of finance & administrative services and chief financial officer at Western Iowa Tech Community College, said the sheriff contacted the college and requested the conference center space, which often hosts community events.
“This is not a college event. It’s merely on our campus. We have no part of this,” Jasman said. When the school had people calling and complaining, Jasman said he told them to reach out to the sheriff’s office.
Sheehan said he would like to see a good turnout for the training.
“I would invite you to come to the event and if you disagree I will protect your right that is afforded to you in the First Amendment of the Constitution, and I will protect you to the death if necessary,” Sheehan said at Tuesday’s county board meeting.
Jared McNett is an online editor and reporter for the Sioux City Journal. You can reach him at 712-293-4234 and follow him on Twitter @TwoHeadedBoy98.