Producer of Mastriano Film Tied to Charles Bausman, Lancaster Man Who Fled To Moscow After the Insurrection

While the media focuses on local theaters refusing to show “The Return of the American Patriot,” they are missing the bigger story that an international network of Russia-linked “Christian” propagandists seems to have targeted PA.
Dr. Steve Turley is a producer of the propaganda film, “The Return of the American Patriot: The Rise of Pennsylvania.” Image via Steve Turley media kit.

The producer of a documentary glorifying Pennsylvania State Senator Doug Mastriano, the GOP’s gubernatorial candidate in the Keystone state, has had trouble finding a theater to showcase his film. Two venues, Penn Cinema and Wyndham Lancaster Resort and Convention Center, have already canceled on him. The cancellations are understandable given Mastriano’s apparent ties to violent insurrections and reports that his campaign spent thousands on buses to the Capitol ahead of the insurrection and that he personally strolled through breached barricades as the insurrection unfolded. As The Beacon previously reported, Mastriano also spread one of the most blatant and viral election lies in the runup to Jan 6. He has neither retracted nor apologized for doing so.

The documentary is called “The Return of the American Patriot: The Rise of Pennsylvania.” Its producer, a far-right Youtuber and writer named Steve Turley, has received less scrutiny than Mastriano. Perhaps that will soon change, as The Beacon has recently learned that Turley has ties to the same pro-Kremlin network of Christian nationalists as Charles Bausman, the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, man who fled to Moscow, leaving his Christmas tree lights hanging, after he was filmed inside the Capitol on Jan 6

The Beacon began looking into Turley after a Twitter researcher posted that Russian Faith, a website run by a Bausman, had published some of Turley’s work. As reported by Lancaster Online, Bausman also owns a historic barn in Lancaster county, which in August 2020 hosted a rally for the National Justice Party (NJP), a newly formed group of virulently anti-Semitic white nationalists

During the rally, NJP chairman Mike Peinovich declared, “We are announcing the formation of a new political party, a new political vehicle that is going to fight for you, for white rights, for our people in America and the world.” The new party’s enemy, he added, “is capitalism, Zionism and the international Jewish oligarchy. These are the people that are oppressing us.” After an initial denial, Bausman admitted that he had hosted the event and that he was present during Peinovich’s speech.

Bausman also runs a pro-Kremlin outlet called Russia Insider, which has featured both Turley’s work and essays by Peinovich. In 2018, Bausman himself penned a widely condemned essay titled “The Jew Taboo,” declaring that it was high time to address the “pernicious influence” of “Jewish elites.” 

The following year, Bausman and Turley attended a conference in Verona, Italy, hosted by the World Congress of Families (WCF), an anti-LGBTQ international annual gathering that has for years “acted as the primary bridge between American Christian fundamentalists and Russian partners,” according to a report by Think Progress. According to its website, WCF is “organized by the International Organization for the Family (IOF).” 

Turley spoke at WCF in Italy, where he also interviewed WCF’s Russian representative Alexey Komov, who works for a Russian oligarch named Konstantin Malofeev. Malofeev has reportedly helped finance WCF

According to Think Progress, an Italian investigation found that it was Komov who had conceived of a clandestine plan for Russia to illicitly finance Matteo Salvini’s far-right political party in Italy. “The Italian exposé of the attempted financing between Salvini’s party and Russia pinned the idea on Komov directly,” Think Progress wrote. The outlet further reported that “Komov is at the heart of the burgeoning relationship between America’s Christian fundamentalist contingent that looks warmly at the Kremlin and the financiers behind Russian designs, and the cultivation of far-right forces abroad.” 

Bausman has called Komov a “good friend.” In 2014, Bausman reportedly asked Komov to help him secure financing from Malofeev for Russia Insider, according to emails leaked by Anonymous International

NGZUO4fxNN6ib5TvweL OGAaTn0ARaIwCjou5IvbeMCQbvrGwDCK2C18YwO7wMf27TbPIYiY3k9FYd6SpWJJiy
Producer of Mastriano Film Tied to Charles Bausman, Lancaster Man Who Fled To Moscow After the Insurrection 14

Pro-Trump attorney John Eastman, who has championed legislation in Uganda that would criminalize homosexuality, was slated to speak at the same 2019 WCF event attended by Komov, Turley, and Bausman. Eastman has since gained notoriety based on reports that he pressured former Vice President Mike Pence to block certification of President Joe Biden’s victory over Trump in the 2020 election. Eastman separately acknowledged that all nine U.S. Supreme Court justices, including his former boss Clarence Thomas, would find this unconstitutional if asked to address the issue. 

Eastman is Chairman of the Board of a nonprofit called the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which opposes gay marriage. NOM President and co-founder Brian Brown is also President of WCF. Journalist Heidi Cuda wrote a great piece in the Byline Times, where she interviewed disinformation specialist Dave Troy about the WCF and how it has served as the “connective tissue” between Russia and the U.S. far right, including the Council for National Policy (CNP). For more on the CNP and its involvement in the events leading to Jan 6, Anne Nelson, author of the Shadow Network: Media, Money, and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right, wrote a must-read piece in The Washington Spectator,  

The U.S. has recently indicted Malofeev, WCF’s reported benefactor, for violating sanctions that it had levied against him in 2014 based on his alleged financing of “Russians promoting separatism in Crimea,” a region in southern Ukraine that Russia later invaded. It has also indicted a former Fox News producer, John Hanick, for allegedly working with Malofeev and making false statements to the FBI to conceal his sanctions-violating conduct. 

Malofeev currently owns a Christian Orthodox TV channel called Tsargrad TV, which he launched with Hanick’s assistance. Malofeev is also president of a pro-Kremlin think tank called Katehon, which endorsed Trump for president in late 2015

In December that year, the Kremlin paid Trump’s disgraced one-time national security advisor, General Michael Flynn, to attend a gala in Moscow with Jill Stein (the Green Party’s 2016 presidential candidate) and others, celebrating the tenth anniversary of Russia Today, a state-owned international television network. As observed by OSINT researcher @gal_suburban, Bausman (the Lancaster man with the barn and ties to Turley and Komov) attended the same gala.

i3TldkhkBWwxMccbIzYNqpxSh8GS33r46oFHfNFxCp2f8ZS1rNacPJ1UypmPtVXfuwo0Nj mgrg3C
Producer of Mastriano Film Tied to Charles Bausman, Lancaster Man Who Fled To Moscow After the Insurrection 15

Flynn, who infamously declared in 2021 that the U.S. must have only “one religion” (presumably Christianity), is among the most prominent supporters of Mastriano, the “star” of Turley’s new documentary. 

nYlGu5 7ekwMfS40Fi3PDKNN fPLk6tQSTb lc7kTbGC96OjzroFmU7sJM9qbkjnsqU2cJfB9JdwOPltRDpab M3K qP sLoxlCcROMlin4bHbMtsXB HQJto sVdc5NkO8NSSN23Qsph qpk0vv bo

As one might expect, Turley has used Facebook to promote the July 16 premier of his documentary, which he says Mastriano will attend in person. In March this year, he also used Facebook to promote a “RINO Hunting Bootcamp” featuring guest speakers Mastriano and Teddy Daniels, who was running for Pennsylvania lieutenant governor at the time. (Daniels later lost in the primary.) “RINO” is a pejorative that stands for “Republican In Name Only.” 

1iELJ2de eWgUdHWI3hR D8365UP1l3q7n1lTTBRhPkvsV90sVcGLptKKhX7AV3BpGvDRQLrdakdI n4oBqBpkiGZMwFKVEzUq94vYym5U7HqNzDHgKDSWCRV1h5dgoBBSr8HyHhUjPWttOJPrJflqM
Producer of Mastriano Film Tied to Charles Bausman, Lancaster Man Who Fled To Moscow After the Insurrection 16

Turley was so enamored of his political hunting theme that he also posted images of four alleged “RINOs” — U.S. Senators Mitt Romney, Lindsey Graham, John Cornyn, and Jim Inhofe — for his followers to target.  

image 12
Producer of Mastriano Film Tied to Charles Bausman, Lancaster Man Who Fled To Moscow After the Insurrection 17

Another one of his posts featured a cartoon version of Turley pointing a rifle at Senator Lindsey Graham

hNLBNvsxzyn zFU0HHRRpxmRjrDKcU wEPD2KPPbXFyjcDCHJebez37IRbENbRSKIoJx0eh8zXK1Jdc5VVbhXtLgyZqiU Lta3aYnFTjaNqeRP2iarsWn

Turley’s facebook page also includes this photo from a pro-Trump protest outside Pennsylvania House Speaker Bryan Cutler’s home in Lancaster County on Dec. 5, 2020.  

4GYvCP4fre9zaD0J9v7vRg2DT9HRW8sLgKQHaVMrSv4ey zaqhR8kzgr5RKha0GUNd1DyIMynC8jgx2L 91YHimszZUukRikVaM3XE8bZb34u6uETz2wMPOFKHfq 7ld QjS9K KRorvmOJi 9zAU4

The man holding the bullhorn is Sam Lazar, a resident of Lancaster County, where Bausman has his barn. You can see Lazar more clearly in this video of the protest (at 20:10), which Turley posted on Youtube with the title “Pennsylvania Protest RISING UP Against ‘RINO’ House Speaker Bryan Cutler!!!” In the video, Lazar declares: “Over my dead body will we ever become communists” before leading a chant of “We are not sheep!” (Yes, irony is dead.) A few minutes before Lazar took the mic, protesters had chanted, “Christ is King!” After Lazar spoke, they chanted “In God we trust!” 

During the Jan. 6 insurrection, Lazar allegedly threw bicycle racks, tore down barricades, and maced police. At one point, he shouted, “Hang the motherf#ckers!,” as reported in The New Yorker. Before he was identified, he was known on Twitter as #facepaintblowhard. He was videotaped running alongside Zach Rehl, the indicted president of the Philadelphia Proud Boys, as observed by Twitter researcher @R5Philly

eWeDYF7NJ9Wo30o0aBaHkDF9Py3Huq0kEreo9KCwhUnynWBOlcfjiozDsf6SVSfdCarBFY7qA5yzAtCawuCP849k0ozMshhGt3egs71JrRvfPVJb9R7Q THB4TgzDme3Nhk2ETueZ36M0 rPyBhZbkc
fgagpg9nMsCPuwqGFbuUB4SApDvymk2nk nHRIuEeTrSXBy 0iYwASZE4v5ikdtZPzNcIO52L z j68RqpKXrlMcM4xYbnZ8

Lazar later attended a Mastriano fundraiser hosted by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani. 

In addition to posting photos of the December 5 protest attended by Lazar, Turley used Facebook to promote a “Stop the Steal” event held by Trump’s longtime advisor, Roger Stone, at a cafe called Conservative Grounds in Largo, Florida, on December 14, 2020

Turley also posted photos of Ralph Cochran, co-founder of the Turleytalks podcast, inside the cafe where the event took place. As you can see, the cafe includes a life size replica of the Oval Office.

GyIqjJ sOkSj3KUQcJn6vRIwCVnwvX1WNcRLapXhJcKIK3VQvJRivPUdpKfd tlaGblcZ 5NG7r LZNgr0JPcrbhopAcY9OElournTlgjK0xIPK6nBOXJd64D0Yi6F U5Haz4DhtQz5ClRVqK81Zm4E

It was during this “Stop the Steal” event that Roger Stone posed with members of the Florida Oath Keepers who later breached the Capitol on Jan 6

wx2DxIhfwKvC0dt4iWrFgtyiSL107jNUzOlWpHA3 ZMRLYzq8YxL7yi eiaM0fg3Vl6QdinZz6PnNYh3np AuBZ4oAhNqyu9ulfIdEdBrwLX9SI3g FCAx1u5S6 mAQhtsFyBcY1ii iCv3R dETYdw

During the insurrection, Kelly Meggs, the spouse of one of those Oath Keepers, allegedly searched for Nancy Pelosi. Text messages show that, before the insurrection, Meggs had declared in a message that “I’m going on a killing spree … Pelosi first.” Journalist Marcy Wheeler released the texts on Twitter:

JXY HdrpKZXS IqeT9 1tmqkwx6S6fZ0oLosJN1DTDrEGo37MQJgMr JvsgUZrLe3pmdvP 4 CEuQlOzG21AU INRF Dk5b6pE2ePEVUyk3dm diatzvvZ ZUEyia17 GFInZ0tc7GTmOjIjj gAak8

Whether Mastriano’s documentary might attract a similar element is a legitimate concern for potential venues. Turley, however, claims to have secured a secret new “Woke Proof” venue for the July 16 premier. Although Turley is withholding the name of the location until Friday (and will disclose it only to ticket holders), I hear there’s a barn in Lancaster County whose owner might be open to this sort of thing.

**An earlier version of this article incorrectly described images “with rifle crosshairs over their faces.” There were no crosshairs. We apologize for the mistake.**

Jennifer Cohn

Jennifer Cohn

Jennifer Cohn is an attorney, election integrity advocate, and political writer whose articles have appeared in the New York Review of Books, Who What Why, The Independent, TYT Investigates, The Brad Blog, and Salon. You can follow her on Twitter at @jennycohn1.

Support the Beacon

We need your financial support in order to not only sustain, but grow this progressive media project for the long haul.

Support Us

Top 5

Follow Us

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

* indicates required

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

* indicates required

your support of the Beacon is an investment in a progressive future for Bucks County – a future where we as a community continue to make strides in achieving social, economic, and racial justice with an environmentally sustainable future.