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Julie Jenkins Fancelli

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

A little-known Trump supporter and billionaire heiress of Publix is facing a federal investigation for her alleged role in financing the coordinated efforts to storm the U.S. Capitol.

According to The Washington Post, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MI), the chairman of the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol riots has indicated that an investigative probe is being focused on Julie Fancelli —the 72-year-old daughter of Publix grocery store chain founder, George W. Jenkins— and her financial influence which contributed to the Capitol riots coming to fruition.

Fancelli, who reportedly lives a relatively quiet like in Florida, is said to have donated a total of $650,000 to three different right-wing organizations that participated in the Jan. 6 insurrection. Initially, investigators calculated approximately $300,000 that Fancelli allegedly wired to the organizations. But, now that suspected amount has more than doubled. The timeline of her donations has also been revealed:

  • December 29, 2020 - Women for America First, a non-profit that helped organize the "Stop the Steal" rally, received $300,000 from Fancelli.
  • On the same day, she allegedly sent $150,000 to the Republican Attorneys General Association, an organization that covered the cost of a robocall encouraging Trump supporters to “call on Congress to stop the steal.”
  • The State Tea Party Express also received $200,000 that day, according to tax filings from the group that day, per a report published by Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Washington.
During the time leading up to the "Stop the Steal" rally and the insurrection, Fancelli reportedly shared reports from conspiracy theorist Alex Jones with her friends and family members. One day before Fancelli's donations were wired out, Jones discussed the baseless claims of election fraud during one of his Infowars segments.“I don’t want Trump to step down,” Jones said during a segment of his online platform Infowars platform on Dec. 28.
“Either by overturning the election and showing it’s a fraud and getting Congress to act on January 6 to not certify for Biden, or whether we end up impeaching Joe Biden or getting him arrested as a Chi-Com agent, one way or another, he will be removed.”

In wake of the reports of Fancelli's donations, Publix has released a statement to The Washington Post addressing the situation. “We are deeply troubled by Ms. Fancelli’s involvement in the events that led to the tragic attack on the Capitol on January 6,” Publix said.


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Eric Holder

The failure of major federal voting rights legislation in the Senate has left civil rights advocates saying they are determined to keep fighting—including by suing in battleground states. But the little bipartisan consensus that exists on election reform would, at best, lead to much narrower legislation that is unlikely to address state-level GOP efforts now targeting Democratic blocs.

“This is the loss of a battle, but it is not necessarily the loss of a war, and this war will go on,” Eric Holder, the former U.S. attorney general and Democrat, told MSNBC, saying that he and the Democratic Party will be suing in states where state constitutions protect voting rights. “This fight for voting rights and voter protection and for our democracy will continue.”

“The stakes are too important to give up now,” said Damon Hewitt, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which for years has operated an Election Day hotline to help people vote. “Our country cannot claim to be free while allowing states to legislate away that freedom at will.”

In recent weeks, as it became clear that the Senate was not going to change its rules to allow the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to pass with a simple majority, there have been efforts by some lawmakers, election policy experts, and civil rights advocates to identify what election reforms could pass the Senate.

“There are several areas… where I think there could be bipartisan consensus,” said David Becker, executive director of the Center for Election Innovation and Research, in a briefing on January 20. “These areas are all around those guardrails of democracy. They are all about ensuring that however the voters speak that their voice is heard… and cannot be subverted by anyone in the post-election process.”

Becker cited updating the 1887 Electoral Count Act, which addressed the process where state-based slates of presidential electors are accepted by Congress. (In recent weeks, new evidence has surfaced showing that Donald Trump’s supporters tried to present Congress with forged certificates as part of an effort to disrupt ratifying the results on January 6, 2021.) Updating that law could also include clarifying which state officials have final authority in elections and setting out clear timetables for challenging election results in federal court after Election Day.

Five centrist Washington-based think tanks issued a report on January 20, Prioritizing Achievable Federal Election Reform, which suggested federal legislation could codify practices now used by nearly three-quarters of the states. Those include requiring voters to present ID, offering at least a week of early voting, allowing all voters to request a mailed-out ballot, and allowing states to start processing returned absentee ballots a week before Election Day.

But the report, which heavily drew on a task force of 29 state and local election officials from 20 states convened by Washington’s Bipartisan Policy Center, was notable in what it did not include, such as restoring the major enforcement section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was removed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013. It did not mention the Electoral Count Act nor growing threats to election officials from Trump supporters.

“This won’t satisfy all supporters of the Freedom to Vote Act, but this is a plausible & serious package of reforms to make elections more accessible and secure that could attract bipartisan support,” tweeted Charles Stewart III, a political scientist and director of the MIT Election Data and Science Lab. “A good starting point.”

The reason the centrist recommendations won’t satisfy civil rights advocates is that many of the most troubling developments since the 2020 election would likely remain.

Targeting Battleground States

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Donald Trump Now Leads An Authoritarian Movement

Politico Magazine published an article Thursday that perfectly embodies the failures of tabloid-style political journalism to address the fundamental dangers facing the country: “145 Things Donald Trump Did in His First Year as the Most Consequential Former President Ever.”

“In ways both absurd and serious, the 45th president refused to let go of the spotlight or his party and redefined what it means to be a former leader of the free world,” the article sub-headline states, sitting above a colorful image containing a photo of a smiling Trump and images that have defined his post-presidency, including his second impeachment, golf clubs, and a vaccination needle.

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