Extremists Get Boost From Donor-Advised Funds, Bitcoin
Hate and extremist groups have received upward of $23 million in cash from “donor-advised funds,” recently released forms show. At the same time, hate groups and extremist figures who are no longer able to take part in the lucrative world of traditional finance continue to solicit thousands of dollars in bitcoin donations.
Piggy bank for hate: 2021 donor-advised funds 990 roundup
Numerous hate and extremist groups are structured as tax-exempt charitable or nonprofit organizations. Some of these groups also receive payments from other umbrella charity distribution organizations called “donor-advised funds.” The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project and other media organizations have reported for years that donor-advised funds can act as a consistent and significant source of income for groups peddling a variety of hateful and extremist beliefs.
Intelligence Project researchers and the Data Lab reviewed the recently released 2021 annual reports (called Form 990s) from six popular donor-advised funds to determine which hate- and extremism-related nonprofits were receiving funding:
White nationalist group VDARE received $108,000 from two donor-advised funds in fiscal year 2021.
The Center for Immigration Studies, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and Numbers USA, all anti-immigrant groups co-founded by John Tanton, received over $3.8 million from donor-advised funds. Vanguard funneled $3 million of that total from Vanguard to NumbersUSA.
Five of these six charity umbrella organizations conveyed considerable funds to anti-LGBTQ+ groups, including $2.9 million to Alliance Defending Freedom, $173,000 to the American Family Association, $527,000 to the Family Research Council and $61,000 to Liberty Counsel.
Parents Defending Education, a reactionary “parents rights” group listed by SPLC in the antigovernment category for the first time in 2022, also received over a million dollars from four of these donor-advised funds in fiscal year 2021.
Five of the donor-advised funds also funneled over $3.5 million into Project Veritas, a hard-right group known for producing propaganda resulting from hidden-video sting operations.
The largest beneficiary in this study was another hard right group, Turning Point USA, which received over $9 million. The majority of these funds, over $7.4 million, came through the Bradley Impact Fund. The Bradley Impact Fund website describes the fund as a “nationwide network of educated, conservative donors working together to preserve American principles and values vital to achieving the American dream” and “a donor-advised fund for conservatives.” The Bradley Impact Fund is part of the Milwaukee-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. Harry Bradley was also a founding member of the conspiracist John Birch Society.
Patrick Casey receives $76,000 in bitcoin donations in year-long relationship with ‘megadonor’
Patrick Casey, host of the “Restoring Order” podcast and former leader of now-defunct white nationalist groups Identity Evropa and American Identity Movement, has received over $76,000 from a single donor who has sent Casey bitcoin worth several thousand dollars once per month since mid-2022. The donor skipped his payment this May but made up for it in June with an $18,000 payment.
On two of these occasions – July 7, 2022, and Dec. 8, 2022 – this same donor also sent bitcoin worth $634 to an address associated with antisemite Brandon Martinez.
‘Gypsy Crusader’ receives thousands in bitcoin while in federal custody
Paul Miller, who uses the alias “Gypsy Crusader” online, is a white supremacist social media personality who is known for using video chat sites like Omegle and Monkey to harass and torment other users with racial slurs and rants about Hitler while dressed in a Joker costume. Miller was sentenced to prison in 2021 for three felony firearms charges, and was transferred to house arrest on Jan. 31 of this year.
While he was still in federal custody, Miller revived his practice of soliciting bitcoin donations in support of his online antics, drumming up over $5,000 from dozens of fans. According to a Data Lab analysis, two of these donations, worth approximately $38 when they were transferred to Miller on April 12, appear to be sent from proceeds extorted by someone using a ransomware tool made by Kodex.
Miller also accepts cryptocurrency payments for merchandise, including posters reading “accelerate hate” and patches with the totenkopf skull and crossbones worn by German SS in World War II and more recently by U.S.-based neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division.
More recently, Miller has moved to video livestreaming platform Odysee and crowdfunding platform GiveSendGo, both of which allow donors to pay Miller using credit cards.
R.G. Cravens contributed to this report.
Photo illustration by SPLC