Money, money, money: Lawmakers probing Jan. 6 are putting the pieces together

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When rooting out corruption, it’s best to follow the money. That is precisely what the Jan. 6 Committee is now doing according to reports out Friday detailing lawmakers’ highly organized effort to sniff out potential criminality in funding for pro-Trump rallies coordinated ahead of the assault on the Capitol.

First reported by CNN, the committee is digging into financial details around Stop the Steal rally organizers and other similar vendors on their radar. In particular, they are rooting out possible campaign finance or election law violations, as well as other financial crimes.  

Two weeks ago, the investigatory body issued subpoenas to far-right activist and leader of the Stop the Steal movement, Ali Alexander, and Shelby County, Ohio, city councilman Nathan Martin.

According to the committee, Martin was listed as the point of contact on a permit application submitted to the U.S. Capitol Police for a “One Nation Under God” event last December protesting the 2020 election results.

An unnamed source cited in the CNN report suggested the committee is breaking up its work into teams. Some of the committee’s teams track funds specifically tied to rally organizers and other groups connected to former President Donald Trump.

Other teams are reviewing how those groups may overlap while other teams still are zeroing in on the former president himself. Those teams are reportedly reviewing how the 45th president may have leaned on legislators to follow his lead in attempting to overturn the election results or how he “used his executive authority to pressure […] former Vice President Mike Pence and the Justice Department,” the source said.

A spokesperson for the Jan. 6 Committee did not return multiple requests for comment Friday.

So far, 15 subpoenas have been issued by the committee publicly. The first batch was delivered by the committee to Trump administration officials like former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino. Onetime Pentagon chief of staff Kash Patel was also subpoenaed for records and deposition, as was Steve Bannon, who defied the request and was found in contempt of Congress on Thursday.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi signed off on the contempt referral—it sits now with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington—shortly after the vote wrapped up. Some of what the committee sought from Bannon were records and details related to the financing behind the rally in D.C. on the morning of Jan. 6. Investigators also want information Bannon might have regarding travel arrangements and hotel accommodations for rally participants. 

So far, eleven other subpoenas were issued in late September to organizers, including Amy Kremer, founder and chairwoman of Women for America First. The group coordinated the rally at the Ellipse, which overflowed with a mixed bag of Trump’s supporters, far-right extremists and white nationalists, among others. Kremer’s daughter and co-founder of Women for America First, Kylie Kremer, was also subpoenaed.

Caroline Wren and Cindy Chafian were served subpoena papers, too.

ProPublica reported in January that text messages and memos between Wren and Cindy Chafian, another organizer of the rally at the Ellipse, were heavily involved in the logistics and budgeting for the event. Maggie Mulvaney, the niece of Trump’s acting White House chief of staff-turned director of the Office of Management and Budget-turned special envoy for Northern Ireland Mick Mulvaney, was also subpoenaed.

Mulvaney was listed as a “VIP lead” in the permit arranged by Women for America First. She also served as the director of finance operations for the Trump campaign.  

Megan Powers, of MPowers Consulting LLC, and Hannah Salem, of Salem Strategies LLC, were also listed on permits for the rally. Both of the women were in charge of scheduling and logistics. Lyndon Brentall of RMS Protective Services was also flagged on permit paperwork as an “on-site supervisor” and Justin Caporale and Tim Unes—both of Event Strategies Inc.—have information about project and stage management for the rally sought by the committee.

Katrina Pierson, Trump’s campaign spokesperson in 2016, is also under scrutiny by the committee and received a subpoena last month. According to the FEC, Pierson received $10,000 biweekly for her work with the Trump campaign from September 2019 to January 2020. Pierson is believed to have been in contact with Trump regularly before and on Jan. 6. 

Norm Eisen, a legal analyst for CNN, said on Friday that the committee members divvying up the probe and honing in on financial crimes might be among “the most valuable avenues” to directly connecting Trump to the planning and coordination of the insurrection at the Capitol. 

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