A data leak from Christian crowdfunding site GiveSendGo has revealed that millions of dollars have been raised on the site for far-right causes and groups, many of which are prohibited from raising funds on other platforms.
It also identifies anonymous high-dollar donors to far-right actors, some of whom enjoy positions of wealth, power, or public responsibility.
Some of the biggest beneficiaries have been members of groups like the Proud Boys, designated a terrorist group in Canada, many of whose fundraising efforts were directly related to the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol.
The breach, shared with journalists by the transparency group Distributed Denial of Secrets, shows that the site was used for a wide range of legitimate charitable purposes, such as crowdfunding medical bills, relief projects and religious missions.
But the site’s permissive stance towards far-right actors meant that groups that had been excluded from other fundraising platforms and payment processors following incitement to hatred and violence have also used the platform.
In at least 11 crowdfunding campaigns associated with the Proud Boys, members of the group, including some now facing conspiracy charges related to the attack on the Capitol, raised more than $ 375,000. Some of these fundraisers raised large amounts of money in a short period of time.
After Proud Boys president Enrique Tarrio was arrested on January 4 on charges related to firearms and vandalism of a black church at an earlier rally, a fundraiser advertised as a “defense fund” won. $ 113,000 in just four days.
A large proportion of that money came from a number of high-value donors who chose to remain anonymous on the website, but whose identifying details were nonetheless preserved by GiveSendGo.
The anonymous donations included $ 1,000 from an email address associated with Gabe Carrera, a Florida-based personal injury attorney who advertises himself as the traveling attorney. Another $ 1,000 that came to Tarrio was associated with an email address belonging to Paul C Gill, a Honolulu-based Hawaiian Airlines employee and former pilot who had previously donated to Donald Trump’s campaigns and the Republican Party, and who has offered public political comment. in the form of letters to the editor in local newspapers.
Of Tarrio’s donors, none immediately responded to requests for comment, except for Gerardo G González, who anonymously donated $ 1,000 to Tarrio on January 7.
Public records show Florida-based Gonzalez is a former pharmacist who owns at least six properties in Miami Beach and Homestead, Florida. His apartments, apartment buildings and a surface lot have an appraised value of more than $ 2.4 million, and in previous decades he has sold other properties worth millions more.
In a telephone conversation, González said that his support for the Proud Boys was motivated by his belief that “there is no systemic racism in this country”, and his opposition to “BLM and Antifa”, who he said represented “true extremism” in the U.S. He also used derogatory terms for Latinos and Democrats.
Other Proud Boy fundraising events raised large amounts and attracted a similar variety of high-value anonymous donations.
After the Capitol riots, a fundraiser on behalf of “Medical Assistance to DC Proud Boy Victims” earned $ 106,107 on January 6-7. An anonymous donation of $ 5,000 was associated with an email address belonging to Ou Yin Lu, a Hacienda Heights, California resident and businesswoman who had previously donated $ 14,640 to campaign funds for Trump, the Republican National Committee and a former representative. State of California Bob Huff during the 2020 Campaign Funding Cycle.
Additionally, after Proud Boys organizer Joe Biggs was charged for his alleged role in the Capitol attack, an anonymous $ 1,000 donation came from an email address belonging to a New York woman whose accounts Social media lists her as a special employee of the state. education teacher. Overall, Biggs raised over $ 6,000 on the site.
Other Proud Boy-related fundraisers included one for North Carolina Proud Boy Jeremy Bertino, aka Noble Beard, who was stabbed at a contentious rally in Washington DC on December 12. Between December 16 and 19, the effort earned $ 61,355.
Several parallel fundraising activities sought to fund travel and equipment for the Proud Boys, who wanted to attend the January 6 rally in person.
Two fundraisers asked sponsors to fund protective gear and communications equipment for the Proud Boys regional chapters, raising $ 4,876 and $ 12,900 respectively.
Subsequently, fundraising events were organized on behalf of individual activists now facing serious charges stemming from the events of January 6.
One that raised $ 6,475 in just one day benefited the Washington State Proud Boy and National Elder Ethan Nordean, also known as Rufio Panman. Another for Nick Ochs, the self-described leader of the Proud Boys’ Hawaiian chapter, raised $ 19,687 between January 8-13.
Candyce Kelshall, president of the Canadian Association for Security and Intelligence Studies in Vancouver, who at Simon Fraser University investigates violent transnational social movements, said that the far-right crowdfunding on GiveSendGo was just “the tip of the iceberg,” and similar efforts. they were happening at up to 54 other crowdfunding sites that his research had revealed.
She said, however, that GiveSendGo was “particularly insidious” due to its presentation of such crowdfunding under the guise of religion-based charity.