U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres Leads Coalition of House Democrats in Pressing Treasury Department about Fundraising Efforts of Domestic Violent Extremist Groups

Feb 23, 2023
In the News
Press

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Ritchie Torres (NY-15) today led a coalition of more than 20 House Democrats in pressing the U.S. Treasury Department for information about what steps are being taken to mitigate the ways domestic violent extremist groups (DVEs) are raising money and financing activities that pose persistent and evolving national security threats to the American homeland.

Specifically, in a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen, Rep. Torres and 24 other House Democrats seek to learn more about the following by March 17:

  • Efforts to address the exploitation of crowdfunding campaigns by DVEs, including any work with the Securities and Exchange Commission on this matter as required by the JOBS Act;
  • Efforts to develop information regarding a Strategic Implementation Plan to execute the Administration’s National Strategy to Counter Domestic Terrorism as it relates to financing DVEs;
  • The status of any review(s) taken by the Department to evaluate the 501(c)3 status of organizations connected to or supporting violent extremist causes, including those present at the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol;
  • The status of the development of the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence’s (TFI) website for key reports and resources on DVE financing and any engagement activities with financial institutions taken by this office as a result of the White House United We Stand Summit.

“January 6, 2021 was one of the darkest days in our nation’s storied history,” said Rep. Torres. “But we know violent acts of domestic extremism and white supremacy haven’t stopped there and continue to play out across the country. Our intelligence and law enforcement communities remain gravely concerned about the historic levels at which domestic extremist groups pose an ongoing threat to all Americans. That’s why we must use every tool at our disposal to uncover how they’re financing efforts to spread propaganda, fund their attacks, and even pay for legal defenses – and work to stop them with the full force of the United States government.”

According to a recent report by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), more than 320 crowdfunding campaigns by extremist groups generated at least $6.2 million between 2016 and mid-2022. The ADL report also found that 179 of these campaigns were linked to extremist participation in the events surrounding the January 6th attack on the Capitol with the vast majority using the GiveSendGo platform, which continues to allow DVE crowdfunding activities to persist today.

“ADL applauds the leadership of Rep. Torres and his colleagues in pushing the Treasury Department to address how they are working with other facets of the Administration to confront the alarming use of crowdfunding sources by domestic extremists,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League. “Acts of antisemitism, extremism, and violence committed by extremists are at historic highs. As our research has shown, since 2016 various domestic extremists have used crowdfunding to raise over $6.2 million. It is imperative for the Administration to take crucial action to cut off the funding streams for these heinous acts.”

House Democrats who cosigned Rep. Torres’s letter to Secretary Yellen include: Rep. Josh Gottheimer (NJ05), Rep. Kathy Manning (NC-06), Rep. Wiley Nickel (NC-13), Rep. Marilyn Strickland (WA-10), Rep. Seth Moulton (MA-06), Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Rep. André Carson (IN-07), Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13), Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Rep. Dina Titus (NV-01), Rep. Al Green (TX-09), Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Rep. Dwight Evans (PA-03), Rep. Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11), Rep. Jared Moskowitz (FL-23), Rep. Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Rep. Mike Levin (CA-49), Rep. Troy Carter (LA-02), Rep. Grace Meng (NY-06), Rep. Dan Goldman (NY-10), Rep. Bradley Scott Schneider (IL-10), Rep. Lois Frankel (FL-22), Rep. Haley M. Stevens (MI-11), and Rep. Madeline Dean (PA-04).

“While we continue to see national security threats from foreign adversaries, I have warned for a number of years about threats here at home, especially from domestic terrorists and white supremacists,” said Rep. Carson. “With a rise in these types of incidents – including an insurrection against the Capitol – it is more important than ever to prevent these extremists from obtaining the resources that could allow them to act on their dangerous threats.”  

“The rise in violent extremism in recent years is a troubling trend across our nation,” said Rep. Kaptur. “Cutting off the ability to crowdsource funding is an important step to ensure that we do not allow domestic terrorism to continue unchecked. I join my colleagues in urging Secretary Yellen and the Treasury to take this threat seriously, and to do everything in her power to mitigate these avenues of funding of hatred and homegrown terrorism.” 

“From attacks against places of worship to supermarkets and our nation’s capital, domestic violent extremists pose an increasing threat to the security of the United States,” said Rep. Meng. “We must address the ways these extremists are funded. Whether it be stifling how these bad actors are spreading propaganda or paying for legal defenses after acts of violence are committed, it is time for Treasury to take away the means by which these attacks are supported. I look forward to the Treasury Department’s cooperation.”

“Over recent years, we’ve witnessed an alarming spike in activity from domestic extremist groups threatening our nation with violence and hate — in person, online, and deep in our communities,” said Rep. Gottheimer. “We need to be doing everything we can to cut these groups off at the source, including combating their ability to fundraise and finance their violence and hate-filled attacks.”

“The threat of domestic violent extremism did not go away after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing or the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol,” said Rep. Evans. “Americans expect our government to take all reasonable measures to fight this threat, just as we do for foreign terrorist threats.”

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