A ‘dark money’ group that helped sponsor the rally that preceded the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, more than quadrupled its revenue in its last fiscal year, OpenSecrets review finds of tax returns.
Turning Point Action is the 501(c)(4) advocacy arm of Turning Point, a conservative student group that prosperous under the administration of former President Donald Trump. Turning Point is run by its 501(c)(3) arm, Turning Point USA, and is best known for its conservative youth engagement efforts and digital operations, which have been used to promote the January 6 rally.
The 501(c)(4) advocacy arm, Turning Point Action, was one of nine groups listed as a “participant” in the January 6 rally. Caroline Wren, a top Trump fundraiser who was listed as “VIP Advisor” on the permit granted by the National Park Service for the January 6 rally, allegedly “parked fundsfor the Stop the Steal rally in Washington, DC, with Turning Point and two other groups involved in the rally ahead of Jan. 6.
Newly Released tax returns covering Turning Point’s most recent fiscal year, reveal details of the organization’s finances in the six months before and six months after the rally – the period it is believed to have parked funds for the rally.
From July 2020 to June 2021, Turning Point Action raised more than $11.2 million, up from approximately $2.5 million the previous year and an all-time high for the organization, according to OpenSecrets’ review of his tax records.
A spokesperson for Turning Point Action pointed out that the 2020-2021 fiscal year includes a presidential election season and told OpenSecrets that Turning Point Action was very involved in “get out of the vote” efforts during this period. , noting their Students for Trump effort to enroll students in battleground states.
Much of Turning Point Action’s funding increase in the fiscal year from July 2020 to June 2021 is due to two seven-figure anonymous donors — giving $1.25 million and $1.19 million — and several other donors giving hundreds of thousands of dollars each.
During this period, Turning Point Action paid $1.8 million to Rally Forge, a company which, according to a Guardian investigation, recruited teenagers ahead of the 2018 midterm elections to set up fake accounts that seemed to be democrats but instead spread conservative political messages. According to Washington Postthe activities carried out Facebook and Twitter to permanently ban Rally Forge from the platforms.
The tax returns also show that Turning Point Action paid approximately $334,000 to Pursuit Venture LLC, a company related to Donald Trump Jr. which was used by political committees to purchase copies of his self-published book, Liberal privilege: Joe Biden and the Democrats’ defense of the indefensible. Turning Point Action’s tax return describes the expense as “book publisher.”
According to Washington Post, Turning Point Action paid Trump 2020 campaign fundraiser Kimberly Guilfoyle $60,000 in speaking fees to introduce Donald Trump Jr. — her fiancé — at the Jan. 6 timeskip rally, but the group is not required to declare that contract payments totaling more than $100,000 in his tax return. Two people told The Washington Post that the ‘sponsor donor’ behind the $60,000 payout was Publix supermarket heiress Julie Jenkins Fancelli, who also funneled funds through two other black money groups that participated in the gathering.
The Republican National Committee, Republican Congressional National Committee, and Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R-Fla.) campaign committee also reported paying Pursuit Venture LLC in 2020, show campaign finance filings. The RNC and NRCC collectively paid over $360,000 for books as “donor moments” in October 2020 while Gaetz spent around $11,000 on “fan gifts” in the same month.
Turning Point Action paid an additional $613,000 from July 2020 to June 2021 for videos and ad placement to Arsenal Media Group, a company that touts its “viral influencer network.” Arsenal Media has faced growing controversies, including scrutiny of its fundraising fees and criticism from disgruntled employees.
Former employees of the company have described the company as a “chaotic work environment, plagued by internal bullying, toxic HR practices and an intense culture of secrecy”, according to a report by the edge. One of the company’s newest controversies came in June this year when a Republican consultant signed up as an employee of Arsenal Media and Turning Point posted on social media calling on people to ‘shoot to kill’ abortion rights protesters after the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.
In its most recent tax returnTurning Point Action also said it paid $123,892 for “first class and charter travel,” but notes the travel was “reasonable and customary or necessary for logistical reasons” under its policy.
In addition to its own activities, Turning Point Action donated $10,000 to True the Vote, a black money group that used unverified cellphone data to to accuse thousands of voters to “harvest the ballots” around the 2020 elections.
The turning point is accommodation its annual student action summit in Tampa, Fla., this week with the government. Ron DeSantis (R) A rumored Republican presidential candidate for 2024. DeSantis is scheduled to appear on Friday and Trump is scheduled for Saturday. Sens Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) are also due to comment.