Lawsuit may bankrupt the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers — but here’s why it might not matter
Proud Boys in Washington, D.C. on December 12, 2020. (Geoff Livingston/Flickr)

Even if efforts to bankrupt the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers succeed, it may change little when it comes to right-wing extremism in America.

"A federal lawsuit filed last month seeking monetary damages from two far-right groups, the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, and their senior members linked to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot was designed with an ambitious goal in mind: to impinge on their financial earnings and snuff out their operations," Erik Ortiz wrote for NBC News. "Now, the civil case is taking shape as the federal government's sprawling criminal investigation into the Capitol attack ensnared a prominent figure of the movement on Thursday, Oath Keepers leader and founder Stewart Rhodes, who was arrested on a charge of seditious conspiracy."

Ortiz noted how the strategy had been successfully employed against the organizers of the fatal 2017 "Unite The Right" rally in Charlottesville, by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) against the United KIans of America, and by SPLC and the Anti-Defamation League against the White Aryan Resistance.

"If it so happens we bankrupt them, that's a good day," said Karl Racine, the attorney general of Washington, D.C.

READ: Liz Cheney's home-state rival has links to Oath Keepers charged with planning Jan. 6 insurrection

Ortiz interviewed Sam Jackson, an assistant professor in the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity at the University at Albany in New York and author of Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group.

"It might be possible that civil lawsuits result in organizations collapsing," Jackson said, "but I don't think a single organization's collapse would change the landscape of anti-government extremism in the U.S."

Read the full report.