Proud Boys Members Raise Thousands to Help Fight Capitol Riot Charges

A number of Proud Boys members who have been charged in connection to the attack on the Capitol are using a Christian website to help raise funds for their legal fees.

Joe Biggs, who organizes rallies for the far-right group, and Nick Ochs, leader and founder of Proud Boys Hawaii, are two leading Proud Boys figures who are raising money on the crowdfunding website GiveSendGo.

Dominic Pezzola, of New York, and Gabriel Garcia, a member of the Miami Proud Boys, are also attempting to fund their defense with donations after being charged with being a part of the January 6 attack.

"All Patriots are being dragged through the legal system rather than those who truly incited violence and destruction," a description on Bigg's GiveSendGo page reads.

"Biggs, like many other true patriots has been totally cut off from any social media or pay apps. They are doing everything in their power to try to remove his ability to support himself and his child or obtain legal counsel."

At the time of writing, the four campaigns have managed to raise more than $30,000 between them, albeit Pezzola's has yet to receive any donation.

GiveSendGo, founded in 2015 by siblings Heather Wilson and Jacob Wells, gained national attention for hosting a fundraising campaign for Kyle Rittenhouse, the 18-year-old charged with murdering two people during Black Lives Matter protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in August 2020.

Last month, PayPal announced that it has cut ties with GiveSendGo after it helped raise funds for people who attended the pro-Donald Trump protests in Washington D.C on January 6 before the deadly attack on the Capitol.

In a statement to Newsweek, Wells said that GiveSendGo "does not have a position" on the Proud Boys being on the site.

"Our mission is to share the Hope of Jesus. We do this by providing a fundraising platform that is not only free to use, but also a place where every campaign owner, giver, and visitor comes in contact with the lifegiving message of the hope and freedom found in Christ," Wells said. "We believe this message is for all people no matter race, religion, or political affiliation.

"Many people disagree with GiveSendGo allowing campaigns for people or causes that they personally disagree with, much like people disagreed with the way Jesus showed love to the 'sinners of society.'

"We do not personally endorse or support campaigns on our site. In fact we choose not to side at all and that causes a lot of both sides to hate us.

"So what do we do when we receive hate for our stand for freedom? We do the opposite. We show love. We try to respond to everyone with grace and mercy. We turn the other cheek. We choose to afford people the opportunity to create campaigns for what they are passionate about with the hopes that they are impacted by the Good News of Jesus Christ."

The site is favored by a number of conservative and far-right figures and organizations who get thrown off other donation sites such as GoFundMe.

Enrique Tarrio, leader of the Proud Boys group, also has a fundraising page on GiveSendGo following his arrest on January 4 for allegedly setting fire to a Black Lives Matter flag following pro-Trump protests in Washington, D.C. the previous month.

Tarrio is also facing weapons charges after police allegedly found him in possession of two high-capacity firearm magazines that bore the Proud Boys logo just prior to the January 6 protests.

Tarrio's GiveSendGo page currently has received more than $113,000 in donations.

"It's not our job to take a stand or a side," Wilson previously told Religion News Service. "We're not backing any campaigns, sharing any campaigns, giving to any campaigns. We're just allowing the freedom."

Proud Boys
Leader of the Proud Boys Enrique Tarrio (L) and rally organizer Joe Biggs (R) congratulate each other as they return to the march starting-point over the Hawthorn Bridge as "The End Domestic Terrorism" rally at Tom McCall Waterfront Park concludes on August 17, 2019 in Portland, Oregon. Both Tarrio and Biggs are raising funds for their legal fees on GiveSendGo. JOHN RUDOFF/AFP/Getty