Just as the public was digesting the shocking revelation that Donald Trump Jr.’s paramour Kimberly Guilfoyle was paid $60,000 for her two-and-a-half-minute introduction of her fiance at the January 6th, 2021 “Stop The Steal” rally, the details of exactly where that exorbitant sum came from were revealed.
According to an article in The Washington Post, Guilfoyle “was compensated $60,000 by Turning Point Action, a conservative nonprofit led by Charlie Kirk, according to two people with knowledge of her compensation who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the matter’s sensitivity.”
Who, you might ask, provided that much money to Turning Point Action to shower a woman who had oft been compared to a screaming harpy with over $20 thousand per minute for her precious time?
The Post‘s sources say that the money came from Julie Fancelli, the 72-year-old daughter of the founder of the Publix grocery store chain prevalent in the Southeastern United States.
“Eight days before the Jan. 6 rally, Fancelli wired $650,000 to several organizations that helped stage and promote the event. The Washington Post previously reported that these groups included Women for America First, a nonprofit that helped organize the rally, and $150,000 to the nonprofit arm of the Republican Attorneys General Association, which paid for a robocall touting a march to ‘call on Congress to stop the steal.’ She also enlisted the youth organization run by Kirk, a 28-year-old activist and friend of Donald Trump Jr.,” The newspaper writes.
Turning Point Action notably sent seven buses filled with 350 students to Washington on January 6th, a far cry from the 80 buses Kirk vowed to send to “fight for this president” in a now-deleted tweet but was still an active “coalition partner” in the organization of the “Stop The Steal” rally that devolved into a planned march to the Capitol.
“At 1:00 PM, we will march to the U.S. Capitol building to protest the certification of the Electoral College,” the rally’s website read.
How does a presumably comfortable wealthy Publix heiress go from Flordia country clubs to supporting attempts to overturn a lawfully conducted election and providing the cash to pay someone like Guilfoyle?
The Washington Post provides a strong clue.
“Some relatives and other associates, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters, attributed her support for the rally to her enthusiasm for Infowars founder Alex Jones. In the weeks before the rally, Fancelli emailed relatives and friends with links to Jones’s talk show, according to two people with knowledge of the messages.”
While that may at least partially answer the question of how a rich country club Republican became radicalized, it still doesn’t explain how a presumably sophisticated individual like Fancelli was suckered in by Alex Jones’ deluge of lies and misinformation to begin with.
Nor does it provide any solutions to the undue influence that the ultra-wealthy have on the political system in America, to the point of some of the most extremist oligarchs supporting the violent implementation of an authoritarian regime that would likely cement their status as the ruling class.
Isn’t it time we passed a constitutional amendment ending the mistakes in the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling that let corporations spend unlimited money to dominate our political system? If this isn’t proof of the necessity of that, I don’t know what would be.
Original reporting by Isaac Stanley-Becker and Beth Reinhard at The Washington Post.