Ex-police chief who stormed the Capitol used his tax-exempt charity to promote violence and spread conspiracy theories: feds

Former California police chief Alan Hostetter who has been charged with rioting at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 formed a charity that he presented to the IRS last year as a organization meant to defend "human and civil rights" and educate the public about vaccines.

But NBC News reports that court papers say his charity was actually a platform to "oppose Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, protest that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump and advocate for violence against political opponents."

Alan Hostetter has already been charged with conspiracy to stop the certification of Joe Biden's presidency, but he could also be charged with violating IRS rules regarding tax-exempt nonprofits.

Hostetter led La Habra Police Department in Southern California for eight months before taking a medical retirement in 2010.

In his application to the IRS for tax-exempt status last year, Hostetter wrote that the American Phoenix Project would not directly or indirectly engage in political campaigns. But as NBC News points out, Hostetter's charity, American Phoenix Project, hosted a "Stop the Steal" rally in Huntington Beach, California, in December where Hostetter gave a speech in which he said said Donald Trump must be sworn in for a second term.

"There must be long prison terms, while execution is the just punishment for the ringleaders of this coup," Hostetter said, according to his June 9 indictment. Speaking to NBC News, Loyola University tax law professor Samuel Brunson said that the indictment appears to connect Hostetter's use of his taxpayer-subsidized charity to his Jan. 6-related crimes.

"I think it's fair to say and fairly objective to say we don't want taxpayer money to fund illegality," Brunson said.

Read the full report over at NBC News.