Subsidizing Sedition: Remember The MAGA Groups Behind ‘Big Lie’ Rally That Spurred Insurrection 2 Years Ago
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Two years ago today, our democracy came under direct and violent assault over the “Big Lie” that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. As the January 6th committee’s final report made clear, the insurrection happened as a result of the previous White House’s conduct. But history should not forget the network of right-wing groups behind the event that led to thousands of rioters storming the U.S. Capitol — the so-called “March to Save America.” A new analysis from government watchdog Accountable.US spotlights key MAGA extremist groups that have since tried to move on, downplay, and forget their roles in inciting the events of that day including the Rule Of Law Defense Fund (RLDF) and Turning Point USA.
The analysis follows Accountable.US’ recent report finding Fortune 500 companies and industry trade groups have donated more than $34 million since the insurrection to members of Congress that voted against certifying the 2020 election – a group that has been dubbed the ‘Sedition Caucus.’
The previous White House invited insurrection, while a well-funded network of extreme MAGA groups aided and abetted those who carried it out – groups at the heart of the mainstream conservative movement. The Big Lie rally that incited the Capitol riot was a coordinated effort tied to major Republican donors, corporations, and other special interests that have been desperate to wash their hands of it ever since. They want the public to forget that they provided the platform for a deadly coup attempt as they continue to conspire with the MAGA extremists now running the show in the House of Representatives. Fortunately, these MAGA groups won’t ever be able to whitewash the money and social media trail to the insurrection that leads straight back to them.”
Jeremy Funk, spokesman for Accountable.US
An Accountable.US review found most of the groups behind the “Stop the Steal” rally have enjoyed the support of some of the right wing’s biggest backers, including:
- The Rule Of Law Defense Fund (RLDF)—which sent robocalls urging a march on the capitol—has reportedly received nearly $1.6 million from major conservative backer the Judicial Crisis Network and has taken at least $50,000 from the trade association for electric utility companies. RLDF’s parent, the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA), also took $15 million from major corporate donors in the first three quarters of 2020 in addition to the tens of millions of dollars it received from other stalwart conservative backers since 2014—including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Judicial Crisis Network, Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands, and Koch Industries.
- Turning Point USA, which claimed to have sent “80+ buses full of patriots” to the rally, has received millions of dollars from conservative megadonors, including the Marcus and Uihlein families as well as affiliates of the Koch brothers, as part of the over $11 million it received from other major donors in recent years.
- Women For America First’s leader was listed on the permit for the rally, the group urged supporters to “caravan” there, and has been tied to the broader movement to overturn the election. The group has received funding from America First Policies, a “pro-Trump policy advocacy” group.
- Tea Party Patriots has taken $4.29 million just from GOP megadonor Dick Uihlein.
- The Phyllis Schlafly Eagles backed the rally after their affiliated PAC took money from a Rockefeller heir and several right-leaning organizations.
- Moms For America—which hosted a Capitol Hill rally the day before the riot—where an Illinois congresswoman claimed “Hitler was right”—took in over $230,000 in 2018.
- The Black Conservatives Fund, a group that helped promote the rally and is closely tied to the “Stop the Steal” founder, has taken $215,000 from GOP megadonors the Mercer Family
- Peaceably Gather, founded by a megachurch pastor to keep churches open despite the pandemic, has legal backing from the Trump-tied, anti-LGBT, and anti-choice First Liberty Institute.
- The founder of the Eighty Percent Coalition, formed shortly before the attempted insurrection, was previously on the permit for a post-election pro-Trump rally held by Women for America First that claimed to book multiple GOP members of congress (one of whom has promoted QAnon conspiracies) and a former Trump adviser (who has alleged ties to anti-Semitic groups).
- Publix heiress, Julie Jenkins Fancelli, donated $200,000 to State Tea Party Express, which “appears to have spent about $180,000 on organizing and advertising the rally that preceded the Capitol insurrection.” Fancelli is “the largest publicly known donor of the 6 January rally.”