Michigan GOP governor candidate Kelley arrested for role in Capitol riots

Kelley, 40, of Allendale, is one of five Republicans in the state competing to take on Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this coming fall.

 The US Capitol is seen through a steam exhaust on the first anniversary of the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington, US, January 6, 2022.  (photo credit: REUTERS/JONATHAN ERNST)
The US Capitol is seen through a steam exhaust on the first anniversary of the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington, US, January 6, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/JONATHAN ERNST)

The FBI arrested Michigan Republican gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley on Thursday over misdemeanor charges stemming from his role in the Jan. 6. 2021 attack on the US Capitol by throngs of then-President Donald Trump's supporters, the Justice Department said.

Kelley, 40, of Allendale, is one of five Republicans in the state competing to take on Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this coming fall. He currently serves as an appointed planning commissioner in Allendale.

His campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

His arrest comes on the same day that the Democratic-led House of Representatives Select Committee investigating the attack on the US Capitol last year will hold its first of several planned hearings to present the evidence it has amassed about the riot and the events leading up to it.

Evidence of Kelley's Insurrection involvement

A supporter of US President Donald Trump waves Trump and Confederate flags after making his way to the second floor of the US Capitol during the insurrection on January 6. (credit: MIKE THEILER/REUTERS)A supporter of US President Donald Trump waves Trump and Confederate flags after making his way to the second floor of the US Capitol during the insurrection on January 6. (credit: MIKE THEILER/REUTERS)

According to a sworn statement by an FBI agent, Kelley was captured on video standing in a crowd of people who were "assaulting and pushing past law enforcement officers" at the Capitol.

Other images also show that Kelley was climbing on an architectural feature near the northwest stairs of the building, the statement said. He then can be seen in video footage waving his hand to encourage the crowd to move toward the stairs.

Kelley's presence at the Capitol that day was first identified by a caller on the FBI's tip line, as well as a confidential human source who has worked with the bureau since 2020 to provide information about domestic terrorism groups in Michigan, the statement said.

The FBI sworn statement said that investigators were able to also compare photos of Kelley at other events in which he wore similar attire, including the American Patriot Council "Judgment Day" rally in May 2020, among others.

In November 2020, the statement says, he also was a featured speaker at a "Stop the Steal" rally in which he told the crowd: "We're going to stand and fight for America, for Donald Trump. We're not going to let the Democrats steal this election."

Kelley is facing charges of knowingly entering restricted grounds without lawful authority, disorderly conduct, knowingly engaging in acts of physical violence against property on restricted grounds and willfully injuring US property.

He is one of more than 840 people charged so far in connection with the attack on the Capitol.