Democrats pressure the Treasury on extremist crowdfunding … – USA TODAY

Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., and two dozen House Democrats on Thursday asked the Treasury Department to outline steps it has taken to stop domestic extremist groups from using crowdfunding platforms to raise millions. 
In a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen shared exclusively with USA TODAY, the Democratic lawmakers said they were concerned by a report from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) that identified 324 crowdfunding campaigns by extremists that generated at least $6.2 million from 2016 to 2022 to finance their activities.
The windfall on behalf of the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, white supremacist groups like the Ku Klux Klan and extremist Black Hebrew Israelites showed that America is in the “heyday of extremist fundraising,” an ADL expert told USA TODAY last month. 
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“As you know, the intelligence and law enforcement communities are gravely concerned about the threat of domestic violent extremists,” the lawmakers wrote. “Data shows antisemitism, extremism, and violence committed by extremists are in periods of historical highs, and the lethal violence of white supremacist movements comprises the highest portion of that violence.”
The lawmakers asked for information on the Treasury Department’s efforts to address extremist crowdfunding campaigns and gave Yellen until March 17 to respond.
“We must prevent violent extremist threats, including the funding that fuels their violent acts,” they wrote.
ADL researchers tracked campaigns across 10 crowdfunding sites. Most were housed on GiveSendGo, which calls itself a Christian crowdfunding website founded in 2014. GiveSendGo campaigns accounted for $5.4 million of the total fundraising tallied by the group.
As USA TODAY reported in 2021, participants in the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, have used GiveSendGo and other crowdfunding sites to raise money for their legal bills and other expenses. GiveSendGo describes itself as a conservative alternative to mainstream crowdfunding platforms.
The ADL report concluded $4.75 million has been raised in the past four years for insurrection-connected campaigns on these sites.
The ADL also found what it described as “several small, short-lived sites that were dedicated to extremist and hateful causes.” They included sites with names like “GoyFundMe” and “Hatreon.”
Many of the campaigns tracked by the ADL were small, raising amounts in the hundreds or low thousands of dollars. But some have raised tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Shortly after the Jan. 6 riot, GoFundMe banned fundraising for travel to political events that have a “risk for violence.” But other sites, particularly GiveSendGo, have become the go-to for extremists and their supporters. 


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