Who funded the Jan. 6 rally preceding the insurrection
An heiress to the Publix Super Markets chain, with the help of Alex Jones, funded the “Save America” rally that preceded the January 6 insurrection. Julie Jenkins Fancelli, daughter of Publix founder George Jenkins, provided more than half the cost of funding for the event – amounting to about $300,000 of the half a million-dollar price tag.
- Publix: “Mrs. Fancelli is not an employee of Publix Super Markets, and is neither involved in our business operations, nor does she represent the company in any way. We cannot comment on Mrs. Fancelli’s actions.”
Fancelli’s donation was reportedly facilitated by far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who himself gave $50,000 and was recorded with a megaphone in the crowd of rioters marching to the Capitol building. Video from the sixth shows Jones telling the marchers: “We’re here to take our rightful country back peacefully, because we’re not globalist, antifa criminals. So let’s start marching, and I salute you all.”
His tone the day of the insurrection was markedly different from just hours before, when InfoWars posted video of Jones riling up a crowd of Trump supporters for “warfare”:
“We have only begun to resist the globalists. We have only begun our fight against their tyranny. They have tried to steal this election in front of everyone…I don’t know how this is all going to end, but if they want to fight, they better believe they’ve got one,” Jones said that night, according to the same video.
…InfoWars posted a video that shows Jones riling a crowd up again, saying: “We declare 1776 against the new world order.… We need to understand we’re under attack, and we need to understand this is 21st-century warfare and get on a war-footing….”
Following the insurrection, Jones published a video explaining his role and the violence that occurred.
“By the time I got out there 20 minutes, 30 minutes before Trump finished his speech, there were already hundreds of thousands of people ahead of me marching. And before Trump ever took the stage, antifa, dressed up — over a hundred of them — as patriots, was there,” he said, claiming without evidence that antifa followers were in the crowd.
Fancelli contracted Trump committee fundraiser Caroline Wren and Trump campaign aide Megan powers to organize the Jan. 6 rally, contradicting the campaign’s claim that it was not involved in the event. Wren, a prominent GOP fundraiser, is named on the National Park Service permit as a “VIP Advisor” and is one of three primary contacts listed. FEC records show Wren and her consulting firm have received approximately $900,000 from the Trump campaign, Trump Victory committee, and RNC since April 2017. Powers was paid $290,000 between February 2019 and the election.
- The other two contacts on the permit were Women for Trump directors Amy Kremer and daughter Kylie Jane Kremer.
- In total, eight rally-organizers have connections to Trump. Mick Mulvaney’s niece Maggie Mulvaney was one of those named on the permit; she was previously paid $138,000 by Trump’s campaign.
- Trump’s 2020 campaign paid out over $2.7 million to individuals and organizers with ties to the Jan. 6 rally.
A Republican group headed by Alabama’s Attorney General promoted the Jan. 6 rally using robocalls before the event. AG Steve Marshall leads the Rule of Law Defense Fund (RLDF), a dark money group that fundraises for the Republican Attorneys General Association. He claims he was unaware of the operation conducted in favor of the rally and ordered an internal review.
The robocall stated:
“I’m calling for the Rule of Law Defense Fund with an important message,” the robocall stated. “The March to Save America is tomorrow in Washington, D.C. at the Ellipse in President’s Park between E St. and Constitution Avenue on the south side of the White House, with doors opening at 7:00 a.m. At 1:00 p.m., we will march to the Capitol building and call on Congress to stop the steal. We are hoping patriots like you will join us to continue to fight to protect the integrity of our elections. For more information, visit MarchtoSaveAmerica.com. This call is paid for and authorized by the Rule of Law Defense Fund, 202-796-5838.”
According to a New York Times report, an unnamed donor “demanded” the group create the robocall and “made a contribution contingent upon its release.”
Unfounded claims of a stolen election were extremely profitable for Republicans, with the RNC and Trump-tried organizations bringing in $86 million in the weeks after the election. Trump’s post-presidential fundraising committee – ostensibly created to back legal challenges to the election – is entitled to roughly half of the $86 million. Combined with the committee’s own fundraising stash, Trump now has a $76 million slush fund. He spent none of it on the Georgia Senate run-offs.
“He put nothing back. He didn’t care,” said one top Republican familiar with the fundraising operation who spoke on condition of anonymity, adding that Trump intends to use the money to pay his personal, non-election-related, legal bills. “He put all this money in the bank for his own legal fights. He never cared about Georgia’s races.”
The larger organizations that facilitated the rally – like Women for Trump – are fed by dark money. Meaning, we do not know who donated to them.
With the Senate under Democrat control, it is possible that the power of these dark money groups may finally be met with some restrictions. For instance, the Senate Finance Committee is now run by Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR). Other strong voices on the committee include Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
Just prior to becoming finance chairman, Wyden sent a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig and called on him to investigate what role, if any, these groups played in the riot. Indeed, pro-Trump dark money organizations helped plan the rally that featured then-President Trump encouraging supporters to march on the Capitol.
Warren and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., who is also on the Finance Committee, recently sent a letter to new Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen focusing on dark money groups across the political spectrum.
Wyden said the IRS has informed him that it is reviewing his request.
“The reason I’m so interested in whether tax-exempt organizations were involved with planning or inciting the insurrection is that the law could not be more straightforward and understandable. Tax-exempt organizations cannot be involved in an illegal activity and can’t be involved with inciting an insurrection,” Wyden told CNBC. “We are going to make sure the IRS moves on this promptly.”
House Democrats have also reintroduced HR 1, which would require nonprofits that spend money in elections and on judicial nominations to immediately disclose their donors.