In the aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrection—a day that saw a mob of Donald Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overturn his defeat in the 2020 presidential election—several members of the far-right, neo-fascist hate group known as The Proud Boys were arrested in connection to the Capitol breach.
Faced with criminal charges such as conspiracy, engaging in physical violence, and destruction of government property, the group raised approximately $25,000 to date on GiveSendGo, a self-described “Christian crowdfunding site” that claims to “work together with the body of Christ to make a difference in the world.”
There are currently at least four active crowdfunding campaigns for Proud Boys members on GiveSendGo, including former InfoWars staffer and Proud Boys “organizer” Joe Biggs, Proud Boys Hawaii founder Nicholas Ochs, and Ethan Nordean, the self-described “ Sergeant of Arms” of the Seattle Chapter of the Proud Boys. All were arrested last month in connection to the Jan. 6 insurrection.
“All Patriots are being dragged through the legal system rather than those who truly incited violence and destruction,” read Biggs’ fundraising page.
The Proud Boys featured prominently at pro-Trump rallies over the past few years, where they clashed with counter protesters and incited violence. At least 11 people with ties to the Proud Boys were charged in connection with the Capitol insurrection, emphasizing their role in the riot. Despite the mounting charges from the U.S. Justice Department, several of the Proud Boys campaigns put out a statement, chock-full of typos, falsely stating “patriots were in D.C to support and hear the President speak to hundreds of thousand like-minded Americans concerned for their country. Not to cause violence or disruption, but to stand together in unity as Americans.”
This is not the first time that the Proud Boys have attempted to fundraise on GiveSendGo. The group’s leader, Enrique Tarrio, launched his own defense fund after he was arrested upon his arrival to Washington, D.C. last month and charged with destruction of property and two felony counts of possession of high-capacity firearm magazines. The campaign raised more than $113,000 and remains active on the site.
It is worth noting that GiveSendGo’s own terms of service explicitly prohibit “hate, violence, racial intolerance, or the financial exploitation of a crime.” By hosting violent campaigners currently under investigation for their role in an attempted overthrow of the U.S. government, GiveSendGo appears to be violating its own mandate. Right Wing Watch has reached out to GiveSendGo about the Proud Boys members’ fundraising campaigns and will update this story should the company respond.
GiveSendGo came under fire last year for hosting a fundraising campaign for Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old who was charged in the fatal shootings of two people during an anti-racism protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin last year. The campaign raised $585,940 from more than 13,500 donors. Despite a viral petition and criticism from fellow Christian groups, including Faithful America, GiveSendGo defended its Rittenhouse campaign, with CFO Jacob Wells claiming that “everything we do and what our platform delivers is Christ-centered.”
Despite losing its traditional payment vendors—PayPal, Stripe, and WePay—due to its support for violent fundraisers, GiveSendGo remains defiant in the face of financial pressure, as evidenced by the updated notice on the Rittenhouse fundraiser:
“The payment processor that was being used for this campaign shut down our ability to fundraise, but GiveSendGo was able to find another payment solution to keep the campaign going! Cryptocurrency co.”
This article first appeared at Right Wing Watch and is republished with permission.