Alleged Capitol rioter used nonprofit to promote violence, feds say
A suspect who was charged in connection with the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol used his nonprofit as a platform to promote violence, federal prosecutors allege.
Alan Hostetter, 56, was one of six members of the right-wing militia group Three Percenters charged last week with conspiring to attack the Capitol.
In an indictment dated June 9, prosecutors alleged that Hostetter founded the American Phoenix Project to oppose restrictions that were implemented as part of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But after the 2020 presidential election, Hostetter “used the American Phoenix Project as a platform to advocate for violence against certain groups and individuals that supported the 2020 presidential election results,” prosecutors wrote.
On Nov. 27, Hostetter posted a video of himself on the American Phoenix Project’s YouTube channel. In the video, he’s driving from California to attend the “Million MAGA March” in D.C. on Nov. 14, and suggests that some people needed to be executed.
“Some people at the highest levels need to be made an example [of] with an execution or two or three,” Hostetter allegedly said in part.
In another instance, Hostetter gave a speech at a “Stop the Steal” rally in Huntington Beach, Calif., that the nonprofit hosted.
During his speech, he stated in part that “the enemies and traitors of America both foreign and domestic must be held accountable. And they will. There must be long prison terms, while execution is the just punishment for the ringleaders of this coup.”
Bilal Essayli, an attorney for Hostetter, told The HIll in a brief phone interview that he felt prosecutors created a false narrative about his client.
He emphasized that Hostetter is not charged with any wrongdoing related to the nonprofit.
“He’s charged with obstructing a meeting of Congress, and essentially trespassing,” Essayli said. “He’s not charged with any wrongdoing related to the nonprofit and that’s just their opinion that he was using it for promoting or promotion of violence.”
According to the Internal Revenue Service, tax-exempt organizations are “absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.”
An IRS spokesperson told The Associated Press that privacy laws prevent the agency from commenting on individual organizations.
The Hill has reached out to the IRS for comment.
— Updated 5:22 p.m.