Democrat urges Jan. 6 commission to investigate ‘conservative dark money groups’ for funding insurrection
Pro-Trump protesters seen inside Capitol building as they enter in through broken windows. (lev radin /

One of the most experienced prosecutors in the U.S. Senate is urging the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol to look into dark money groups who may have funded Trump's "Big Lie" about election fraud.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), who has served as U.S. attorney and state attorney general, on Friday wrote to Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MI) about the funding of the insurrection.

"The attack on the Capitol on January 6 was the culmination of a months-long disinformation campaign designed to allow President Trump to remain in office," Whitehouse began. "Public reporting indicates that this campaign was organized and funded by dark-money organizations and powerful donors, and aided and abetted by members of Congress and the Trump administration."

"A well-organized network of conservative dark money groups—whose covert operations my Senate colleagues and I have tracked and reported on in other contexts —lent financial and strategic support to President Trump's efforts to overturn the election. For years, the Bradley Foundation "has heavily funded groups promulgating the falsehood that election fraud is widespread in America," such as ALEC, Turning Point USA, and the Public Interest Legal Foundation," Whitehouse wrote, citing the bombshell New Yorker story by Jane Mayer titled, "The Big Money Behind the Big Lie."

"Many of these same groups were involved in planning and organizing President Trump's 'Save America Rally' on January 6. These groups obtained permits, provided funding and equipment, and actively recruited participants. The March to Save America website listed eleven groups as rally sponsors," Whitehouse wrote. "There is evidence that Members of Congress were also involved in orchestrating the 'Save America Rally.' Three members of the House of Representatives have been identified as alleged co-architects: Reps. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), and Mo Brooks (R-AL)."

"In order to fully understand what happened on January 6, the Commission should further investigate the role these dark money groups played in propagating President Trump's misinformation campaign and in orchestrating the 'Save America Rally.' The Commission should also examine the extent of any coordination between those groups, the Trump administration, and the members of Congress who objected to the electoral count," Whitehouse concluded.

Read the full letter.