Far-right and domestic extremist groups raked in $6.2 million from crowdfunding sites last year, according to a new study from the Anti-Defamation League reported by USA TODAY on Tuesday — and from one crowdfunding site in particular.
The study tracked the fundraising of 324 extremist groups. Among them were far-right militias who helped storm the Capitol in the January 6 attack like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers; white supremacist groups like the surviving chapters of the Ku Klux Klan; and the Radical Black Hebrew Israelites, an anti-Semitic and anti-white movement that holds Black Africans as the true Israelites of the Bible and modern Jews to be imposters.
"Researchers tracked campaigns across 10 different crowdfunding sites. Most were housed on GiveSendGo, a 'Christian crowdfunding' website founded in 2014. GiveSendGo campaigns accounted for $5.4 million of the total fundraising tallied by the group," said the report. "As USA TODAY reported in 2021, participants in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection have used GiveSendGo and other crowdfunding sites to raise money for their legal bills and other expenses."
According to the report, $4.75 million of the total haul were related to supporting Capitol insurrectionists. These donations mostly go through GiveSendGo because the much more prominent GoFundMe banned campaigns related for travel to political events with a "risk for violence."
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This is not the only case of GiveSendGo being used to fringe causes.
In 2021, another report revealed that anti-vaxxers used the platform at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to "monetize" their activities, raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars from supporters. That same year, another data breach revealed that police officers were using it to support the legal expenses of Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse, who was ultimately acquitted of charges for fatally shooting people during police brutality protests.