Right-wing extremists, including man arrested after Capitol riot, using Christian fundraising site: CNN

Right-wing extremists, including man arrested after Capitol riot, using Christian fundraising site: CNN
© Julia Nikhinson

Right-wing extremists, including at least one man arrested after the Capitol riot, are making use of Christian fundraising website GiveSendGo.com, including to raise money for the Jan. 6 protest that preceded the assault, CNN reported on Wednesday. 

A CNN analysis determined that more than two dozen fundraisers on GiveSendGo have been related to contesting the presidential election results, raising money for people to protest in Washington and other right-wing causes. 

Hawaiian Proud Boys leader Nick Ochs, who was arrested and charged with participating in the Capitol raid, reportedly raised $300 on GiveSendGo for travel funds to get to D.C. on Jan. 6. 

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After Ochs was arrested, another fundraiser was launched to raise money for his legal funds and has collected almost $20,000. The fundraiser organizer noted that the money raised helped Ochs get released on a $5,000 bond.

Other fundraisers on the website include one for Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio, who has gathered more than $113,000 for legal funding, after he was arrested days before the riots in D.C. Tarrio was charged with possession of high-capacity firearm magazines and destruction of property for burning a Black Lives Matter flag during a December protest. 

Ali Alexander, a "Stop the Steal" organizer, has collected $30,000 for a “security and administrative team,” and Jim Hoft, the founder of Gateway Pundit, has gathered more than $135,000 to investigate alleged voter fraud in Michigan and to "take on the tech giant censorship of conservative voices."

Ochs, Alexander, Tarrio and Hoft did not return CNN’s requests for comment. 

Ochs previously told CNN after the riots that he was working as a journalist when entering the Capitol.

“We didn't have to break in, I just walked in and filmed,” he said.

The network reported that at least five other campaigns that have together received almost $200,000 have connections to self-described Proud Boys members who sought “protective gear,” travel funding to get to D.C. on Jan. 6 and medical costs after the December protest, where at least four people were stabbed.

Jacob Wells, the co-founder of GiveSendGo, told CNN that the website supports “thousands” of noncontroversial campaigns in addition to the others that “get a lot of limelight.”

The fundraising website says that its terms and conditions ban “abusive or hateful language” and “items that promote, hate, violence and racial intolerance.”

"We're not here to take sides," Wells reportedly said. "We don't necessarily condone on our platform a campaign any more than when you tweet on Twitter that Twitter somehow agrees with you.”

The Hill has reached to GiveSendGo for further comment.

GiveSendGo gained prominence after it hosted legal efforts fundraisers for Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager charged with killing two people during Kenosha, Wis., protests last year after GoFundMe banned those campaigns, which The Daily Beast first reported.

Police officers accused of controversial use of force have also benefited from the website, including officers involved in the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the shooting of Jacob Blake.

CNN noted it did not independently verify the campaigns and whether the money reached the appropriate person, but it added that many of the questionable fundraisers remain on GiveSendGo without the ability to donate. Wells said the fundraising website did not disable donations, but the action was taken by third-party vendors or the fundraisers themselves.

Wells noted he expects the website to collect $20 million to $30 million this year, of which GiveSendGo gets at least 3 percent. GiveSendGo also allows users to provide spiritual support instead of financial through a “pray now” button.