RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The only elected official from Virginia who appeared on a leaked Oath Keepers list said he was sent “a life membership card” after making one payment to the organization in 2016 but that he has no connection with the far-right group.

Appomattox County Supervisor John Frederick Hinkle is one of 25 Virginia officials on the leaked militia’s membership list, which was published by the transparency collective Distributed Denial of Secrets and examined in a report by the Anti-Defamation League.

Hinkle told 8News he applied for a membership in January 2016 while on active-duty in the military and only made one online payment before receiving a card in the mail.

I have had NO contact with the organization since the online contact of January 2016,” Hinkle wrote in an email Thursday. “Have never attended any meeting or events hosted by the Stewart Rhodes Oath Keepers Organization or received any kind of information from them since January 2016.

That same year, Hinkle said he became aware of the Virginia Oath Keepers (VAOK) and became a founding member of the organization. He backed an effort to start an Appomattox chapter of the Virginia Oath Keepers, but residents opted to establish a militia group instead, according to Hinkle.

Hinkle said he was drawn to the Virginia Oath Keepers because he swore an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution. He stressed the organization has no affiliation with the Oath Keepers group accused of having a key role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, a point the group makes on its website.

“Let me make clear that VOAK never was associated with Stewart Rhodes Oath Keepers. VOAK is a humanitarian organization ready to help and assists both citizens and law enforcement during disasters,” Hinkle told 8News. “We support the Constitution and do not seek to overthrow or destroy it!”

According to ADL’s report, the leaked list includes Virginia law enforcement officers, first responders, and military members. But ADL noted that “an individual’s inclusion in the Oath Keeper database is not proof that they were or are still an Oath Keeper, that they hold or held all or some of Oath Keeper ideology or viewpoints, or that they ever actively participated in Oath Keeper activities.”