Citizens Organized to Restore Rights (CORR)

Image of CORR symbol, showing an eagle in the middle, with a star above it that has the number 39 in the middle. On the top in slanted letters is: C.O.R.R. with stars making an outer circle frame, with Stand for Freedom completing the circle at the bottom. The symbol is all white on an all black backdrop.

“The pastor was right when he called us patriot soldiers, we’re fighting a war.”

Sue Ianni, SHFA member & Capitol rioter, at a CORR meeting
Background and Analysis

CORR is a Christofascist/Christian nationalist organization committed to organizing various unaffiliated groups to support extremist candidates for local seats of government. The Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization dedicated to monitoring hate and extremist groups, said that they are tracking CORR and likened their ideology to the Patriot Movement. Their “big tent” philosophy is an effort to increase their numbers resulting in a mishmash of philosophies, a rich variety of fringe ideas, and a formless stew of half-baked and factually inaccurate political ideologies. They have described themselves as a “force multiplier” that is forming a networking hub for a wide range of right-wing groups that focus on different issues. They mobilize their base to support these various groups’ events. 

CORR has a charismatic leader in David Steinhof, who artfully navigates the complexities of their meetings despite, at times, his obvious discomfort with some speakers. In November 2021, CORR was met with fierce opposition when they, along with Super Happy Fun America (SHFA), attempted to spew their antisemitic, anti-trans vitriol in Boston Common. Since then, CORR has been advocating at every meeting that its members all get their license to carry guns permit (in Rhode Island called “Conceal Carry”).

Importantly, CORR is focused on building power by running and supporting candidates for local political office. At one of their meetings, members discussed a strategy to “infiltrate the school committees [and] take them over from within.”

Their approach already seems to be bearing fruit in southern Massachusetts; local elected officials with ties to CORR include:

  • John McCaul of the Taunton City Council;
  • Katie Ferreira-Aubin, Peter Latour, and Jeffrey Reber of the Dighton-Rehoboth School Committee;
  • Leonard Hull, Jr, of the Dighton Board of Selectmen; and
  • Peter Hoogerzeil, Seekonk Town Moderator.

Candidates running in 2022 who have spoken at CORR meetings include:

  • Carissa Moglia, who is running for the East Providence School Committee and is on the steering committee of #ParentsUnitedRI (an anti-CRT, anti-trans group);
  • Rayla Campbell of Randolph, MA (running for MA Secretary of State);
  • Rob May of Peabody, MA (running for Congress in the MA 6th District);
  • Marie Hopkins of Warwick, RI (running for RI state representative in District 21);
  • Jeann Lugo of Warwick, RI (was running for state senate in RI District 29, but dropped out in June 2022 after being accused of punching his political opponent Jennifer Rourke in the face during an abortion rights rally); and
  • Samson Racioppi of Salisbury, MA, who is a leader of both SHFA and CORR North (was running as a write-in candidate for state rep in MA 1st Essex, but only received 131 votes in the primary, not enough to qualify for the November ballot).

CORR and Super Happy Fun America (SHFA) formed a coalition in 2022.  While they are not an obvious pairing, as leaders from both groups have indicated, each has different strengths. It appears that SHFA brings militancy and experience with violent confrontation, and CORR brings numbers and organizing skills. SHFA has a long history of violence, attracting Nazis to their gatherings; Proud Boys attend their CORR meetings, and their president, John Hugo, routinely invokes calls to violence.

To get a sense of who CORR is, watch this short video of speakers from their meetings:

What Is Christofascism?

CHRISTOFASCIST: A Christian religious extremist. Often a person who believes in forcing a right-wing Christian, hetero-patriarchal, white supremacist agenda on the rest of the world. Also known as a “fundamentalist” or more recently “evangelical.” According to Vice, Christofascists believe they are fighting a battle between “good and evil,” an idea that CORR members frequently invoke. 

CHRISTIAN NATIONALISM is the belief that the American nation is defined by Christianity, and that the government should take active steps to keep it that way. Popularly, Christian nationalists assert that America is and must remain a “Christian nation”—not merely as an observation about American history, but as a prescriptive program for what America must continue to be in the future. Their use of imagery associated with the Crusades and with modern fascist movements underscores that Christian nationalists are prepared to enforce their agenda through violence. Christian iconography was prevalent at the January 6, 2021, right-wing Capitol insurrection. What Is Christian Nationalism? An explainer on how the belief differs from other forms of nationalism, patriotism, and Christianity. Christianity Today, Paul Miller, February 3, 2021

Are CORR Members Violent?
  • David Steinhof: CORR leader, complimenting Super Happy Fun America, “SHFA is always out there stirring it up, they don’t hesitate to stir it up on the streets and bring down and fight those people from antifa that come by.”
  • Steinhof has publicly stated his willingness to resort to violence; when at a networking gathering in Auburn, MA, he said, “We as Americans are obligated to defend our constitution, peacefully if we can, forcefully if we must.”
  • David Steinhof’s history of domestic violence: From the Fall River Herald News, “In an affidavit filed earlier this year in support of a restraining order, Steinhof’s wife claims…”
    • Steinhof beat the family’s dogs with his fists “multiple times”
    • He threw cats across the room in front of her, their children and his staff
    • He threw her against a kitchen counter and slammed her into a door
    • Steinhof has punched through doors and walls at his home and office
    • He repeatedly assaulted her, on one occasion ripping out her earrings
    • Steinhof’s wife said he punched and shattered the windshield of a car
Photo of Steinhof walking with a CORR member who is holding an expandable baton.
Steinhof organized “security” for Nov. 7, 2021. In the photo he is walking with a CORR member who is holding an expandable baton. While legal to possess, it is illegal to have expandable batons in public.
  • Sue Ianni: “One of the goals of the group is to do workshops on prepping, so maybe sometime we’ll take people outside and teach people how to fire a gun…The pastor was right when he called us patriot soldiers, we’re fighting a war.”
  • Jeff Hall (a firearms instructor): Regarding his fears about gun access in America and reflecting on the truckers convoy in Canada… “If those people had had guns it would have been a completely different situation.”
  • John Hugo, President of Super Happy Fun America: “We need law and order,” he said, adding later, “This is a call to arms.” Boston Globe, Oct. 18, 2020
  • Mark Sahady joined the Proud Boys in Portland Oregon and was photographed armed. His group Resist Marxism (rebranded as Super Happy Fun America) recruited for the rally that turned violent. The violence perpetuated by the Proud Boys and their followers was deemed a riot by the Portland police. Southern Poverty Law Center, July 2018 

More resources:
“The organizers behind Boston’s Straight Pride Parade should concern you,” Casey Quinlan, ThinkProgress, July 6, 2019 

CORR members Mark Sahady, Sue Ianni, Samson Racioppi, and Bao Chau Kelley were present at the January 6, 2021, Capitol Riot.

Is CORR Antisemitic, Are CORR Members Antisemitic?

Below are terms used frequently at CORR meetings. Read why this matters:

Globalism
The term “globalist” has been used as a pejorative in right-wing and far-right politics and conspiracy theories. For example, during the election and presidency of United States president Donald Trump, he and members of his administration used the term globalist on multiple occasions. The administration was accused of using the term as an anitsemitic “dog whistle,” to associate their critics with a Jewish conspiracy (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/globalism). As with the term “dual loyalty,” “globalist” implies that Jews, rather than having an allegiance to the United States (or to wherever they were born), are loyal instead to a worldwide order.

George Soros
George Soros, because of his Jewish identity, wealth, and philanthropy, has been described as “the perfect code word” for conspiracy theories that unite antisemitism and Islamophobia. One prominent Soros-related conspiracy theory is that he is behind the European migrant crisis or importing migrants to European countries. According to anthropologist Ivan Kalmar, “Many of his most outspoken enemies inside and outside Hungary saw him as leading an international cabal that included other Jews such as the Rothschilds, as well as Freemasons and Illuminati.” “George Soros – Wikipedia.” Wikipedia, 2022.

  • John Hugo, President of Super Happy Fun America: “Christians are mocked, attacked, assaulted with impunity. We’ve got these Soros funded DAs, who let these people run wild, commit any crime and you get a slap on the wrist. But you show up at the Capitol to protest an obviously stolen election my god, put them in jail for ever, right?”
  • John Hugo: “Let’s talk about who our enemies are, who we are fighting, we need a well-defined enemy…It’s globalist billionaires who despise our constitution and our way of life. Who would like to make us all industrial serfs.” 
  • Dianna Ploss: “Go to UN.org and look at one of these titles “Transforming our world, the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.” Klaus Schwab is a puppet of the international bankers. The same as Soros and the same as Kissinger. OK, the bankers are controlling this… They take over the banks of the country, they take over the country. That’s what’s going on.”
Is CORR Anti-Gay, Are CORR Members Anti-LGBTQ+?
  • Sue Ianni: “We’ve all seen that flag, it’s all over this country. It’s a rainbow flag that says PEACE on it. What that really is, it is no different than the Nazi flag, it is a flag of intimidation, it is a flag of shut up, comply, and never rise up again conservatives, but we are rising up!”
  • Renee Arena, CORR member, is advocating for banning LGBTQ-positive books from the Waltham Public Schools, including “This Book Is Gay,” by Juno Dawson and “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe.
  • John Paul Moran spoke at a CORR meeting.
    • “Log Cabin Republicans endorsed some of the most anti-LGBTQ politicians running for office. They endorsed 12 anti-LGBTQ extremists, including Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and a woman who thinks pedophiles are part of the LGBTQ community.” Commentary by Juwan J. Holmes Friday, October 23, 2020    
    • “Gay Republican group denounces ‘insidious’ Equality Act as ‘transgender ideology’”
    • They claim the landmark civil rights legislation would hurt Christians, force doctors to perform abortions, and eliminate all genders thereby wiping gay men out of existence altogether.” By Alex Bollinger Friday, February 26, 2021    
  • John Hugo, President of Super Happy Fun America: “This radical, insane, transgender nonsense. They’re pushing it. Disney, Rugrats, Sesame Street. They’ve all gone to the dark side.”
What Is the Patriot Movement?

From the Southern Poverty Law Center, Antigovernment Movement

In 2021, the conspiratorial and permanently dubious view of government was pervasive, as evidenced by the movement’s popularity on such issues as COVID-19 regulations, local school curriculum, the “Big Lie” voter fraud, border security and various technological advances such as 5G cell service. Antigovernment imagery, such as the Gadsden flag and the Three Percenter logo, was commonly displayed by adherents across the country. Antigovernment groups were linked up with other hard-right groups in 2021, as they often targeted the same marginalized communities and engaged in actual or threats of political violence.  

The Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and attempt to stop the democratic transfer of power through the formalized counting of electoral votes was the most public moment for the antigovernment movement since the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. 

Faced with greater scrutiny and deplatforming, antigovernment groups reorganized and were dispersed in communities focused on localized activities – a mainstay tactic of the antigovernment movement. 

Up in Arms, A guide to Oregon’s Patriot Movement
Section 1: “Looking at the Patriot Movement” Spencer Sunshine

Today’s Patriot movement is the successor to the 1990s militia movement, which had also swept the Pacific Northwest. Today, the core groups are united by a common political origin: a radical, right-wing interpretation of the Constitution that derides federal power and is hostile to environmentalism, a political worldview based on conspiracy theories, a penchant for forming paramilitaries, and a strategy of refusing to implement various laws. They often set up parallel structures that mimic real governmental ones.

Program on Extremism, The George Washington University 
Conspiracy Theories in the Patriot/Militia Movement, Sam Jackson, May 2017

The patriot/militia movement is diverse, encompassing a wide range of groups and actors motivated by diverse political goals. However, those in the movement share several common features. The most important is the perception that America is turning its back on the vision of those who founded the nation in the 18th century, and that the federal government is becoming increasingly tyrannical, threatening the rights and liberties of everyday Americans. Members of the movement therefore declare that they intend to defend the nation from “enemies foreign and domestic.” Other important features include self-description as patriots and a conviction that the answers to contemporary political problems can be found in the thoughts and writings of 18th and 19th century Americans. For example, those in the patriot/militia movement frequently refer to the 2nd Amendment, arguing that this sentence proves beyond question that those who wrote the Bill of Rights believed that the people should be armed with weapons equivalent to those used by the military, as an armed citizenry is the best defense against a tyrannical government.

For many, the obligation to defend the nation entails preparing for a future conflict: training with a local group in a wide range of paramilitary or survivalist skills (primarily firearms training, but also emergency medical skills, alternative communications techniques like ham radio, and other useful skills if modern American society collapses); stockpiling supplies (especially ammunition and food); and remaining vigilant in identifying allies and enemies for that future conflict. For others, this obligation to defend the nation demands that they be more proactive, preemptively taking the fight to the federal government rather than waiting for the federal government to bring the fight to them. Regardless of whether defense only requires preparation at this point or demands more proactive steps, it follows from the common identification of threats by those in the patriot/militia movement. Often, the description of these threats constitutes a conspiracy theory.

Political extremists of all types are motivated in part by the perception of a crisis that demands action, and they use this to whip up fear and recruit more members.

New England Known Members/Affiliates:
New England Known Supporters/Speakers:
  • Tyler Bonin (East Providence, RI)
  • Lonnie Brennan (Editor/Publisher, Boston Broadside)
  • Dr. Mark Brody (Providence, RI)
  • Taryn Carbone
  • Shana Cottone (Norfolk, MA – Boston Police Sergeant (placed on administrative leave in January 2022); Leader, Boston First Responders United)
  • Joan Quinn Eastman (Hopkinton, MA – affiliated with Beacons of Light, Love & Liberty)
  • DJ Ferguson
  • William Gens
  • Donnamae Harkness (Lynn, MA – affiliated with North Shore Team Trump)
  • Renee Hensley (Saugus, MA – affiliated with North Shore Team Trump)
  • Leonard Hull, Jr. (Dighton, MA – Board of Selectmen)
  • Joshua Joseph (Woonsocket, RI)
  • Pam Kulibaba (Mashpee, MA – Upper Cape Regional Leader, United Cape Patriots)
  • Adam Lange (Brewster, MA – Founder, United Cape Patriots)
  • Peter Latour (North Dighton, MA – Dighton-Rehoboth School Committee)
  • Phil Lapointe (Tiverton, RI – President, East Warren Rod & Gun Club)
  • Jeann Lugo (Warwick, RI)
  • Bob May (Peabody, MA – running for Congress in the MA 6th District)
  • Bill Moore (Dighton, MA)
  • John Paul Moran (Billerica, MA – Founder, GOUSA)
  • Dianna Ploss (Peabody, MA) “I did attend and speak at two CORR events in Peabody. However, I did NOT ever support this group, not do I support this group now. I will never support this group.” ~Dianna Ploss, Nov. 26, 2022
  • Jeffrey Reber (Rehoboth, MA – Dighton-Rehoboth School Committee)
  • Phyllis Sprout (Mashpee, MA – Member, United Cape Patriots)
Affiliated Groups:

CORR brings together a range of conservative and Far Right groups into a loose network. The below groups are associated with the network:

  • Americans for Prosperity (libertarian; Koch-backed)
  • Beacons of Light, Love and Liberty (COVID denial/anti-mask/anti-vaxx)
  • Boston First Responders United (COVID denial/anti-mask/anti-vaxx)
  • Bristol County Freedom Fighters (COVID denial/anti-mask/anti-vaxx)
  • Camp Constitution (Christofascist; patriot/nationalist; libertarian)
  • Convention of States (libertarian; Koch-backed; “states’ rights”)
  • Dighton Republican Town Committee (party Republican)
  • Gaspee Project (libertarian; oppose education about race, LGBTQ issues, and diversity in schools)
  • God Given Freedom Fighters (COVID denial/anti-mask/anti-vaxx; Christofascist)
  • Government Integrity Project (libertarian; COVID denial/anti-mask/anti-vaxx; oppose education about race, LGBTQ issues, and diversity in schools)
  • Grand Opportunity USA (libertarian; party Republican; oppose education about race, LGBTQ issues, and diversity in schools)
  • Health Rights MA (COVID denial/anti-mask/anti-vaxx)
  • Make Americans Free Again (COVID denial/anti-mask/anti-vaxx)
  • North Shore Team Trump (MAGA; party Republican)
  • Parents United RI (oppose education about race, LGBTQ issues, and diversity in schools; COVID denial/anti-mask/anti-vaxx)
  • People’s Convoy (COVID denial/anti-mask/anti-vaxx; patriot/nationalist)
  • Proud Boys (white supremacist; misogynist/male supremacist; Islamophobic)
  • Rescue Our American Republic (COVID denial/anti-mask/anti-vaxx; anti-immigrant; Christofascist)
  • Rhode Island Freedom Fighters (COVID denial/anti-mask/anti-vaxx)
  • Super Happy Fun America (anti-LGBTQ; white supremacist; antisemitic; alt-right; election-denier)
  • United Cape Patriots (patriot/nationalist; anti-immigrant; white supremacist; antisemitic; Back the Blue; COVID denial/anti-mask/anti-vaxx)
  • 5G Free Rhode Island (conspiracy theory)
Associated Venues:
  • Baptist Temple Ministries (Fall River, MA – church)
  • Century Sportsman’s Club – (Auburn, MA – gun club)
  • East Warren Rod and Gun Club – (Warren, RI – gun club)
  • Italian American Citizens’ Club – (Peabody, MA – private club)
  • Laughing Hummingbird Farm – East Greenwich, RI
  • Monument Beach Sportsman’s Club – (Buzzard’s Bay, MA – gun club)

More Resources:

“With ties to hate groups, #ParentsUnitedRI offers slate of conservative extremists for local office,” Uprise RI, September 29, 2022

“Taunton-area officials with ties to ‘alt-lite’ group say they are not members,” Daniel Schemer, The Taunton Daily Gazette, September 21, 2022

“Taunton City Councilor accused of making threats against city resident,” Ken Paiva, Fall River Reporter, September 22, 2022

“Far-right protesters gather outside FBI office in Chelsea,” Alexander Thompson & John Hilliard, Boston Globe, August 21, 2022

“Far Right Group Behind Boston’s “Straight Pride” Also Organized ‘Reopen’ Protest,” William Rivers Pitt, Truthout, May 5, 2020

Homophobic Stunts in Boston Part of Long-Term Far-Right Pattern,” Dan Feidt & Jenn Schreiter, Unicorn Riot, February 21, 2020

“The organizers behind Boston’s Straight Pride Parade should concern you,” Casey Quinlan, ThinkProgress, July 6, 2019 

‘Straight pride’ parade organizer has held and attended far-right events,” Jason Wilson, The Guardian, June 8, 2019

“Far-Right Street Brawlers Just Can’t Escape Their Violent, Hateful, and Bigoted Roots,” David Neiwert, Daily Kos, May 27, 2019

Massachusetts has a white supremacy problem. Pride Month is just the latest victim,” Amaad Rivera, Commonwealth Journal, June 14, 2019

This page was created with the help of Waltham Night’s Watch.