When then-President Donald Trump held his “Stop the Steal” protest on Jan. 6, he turned to a firm called Event Strategies to set up the rally. And while the violent results of that protest may give other politicians pause about using that firm again, Event Strategies has instead become Trump’s preferred staging group—as well as a new go-to for other GOP committees in the months after the riot.
A review of public financial disclosures shows that multiple entities involved in the Jan. 6 rallies have continued to rake it in after the attack on the U.S. Capitol, with various Republicans and GOP groups continuing to give these entities business even as investigators look into their roles with the insurrection.
Public records also show a number of curious payments on and around Jan. 6—including more than $25,000 in advertising that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) paid to right-wing social media platform Parler, with one transaction on the day of the riot.
In total, Trump’s fundraising apparatus has paid Event Strategies roughly $800,000 since Jan. 6, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, with the latest payment coming on Aug. 13. That $31,358 expense was for “event staging,” and footed by Make America Great Again Action—the Trump-endorsed super PAC run by former top aide Corey Lewandowski which was shuttered earlier this month amid allegations that Lewandowski had sexually assaulted a donor.
None of the other top event management firms on Trump’s payroll between October 2020 and the riot have worked for him since Jan. 6.
But Trump is hardly the only Republican to pay Event Strategies this year.
In April, the National Republican Congressional Committee—the official national committee for House Republicans—reported spending about $3,675 with the firm for “facility rental,” and dropped another $6,000 for “audio visual/staging” expenses on June 29. And in late August, the Alabama Republican Party and Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), a key player in efforts to overturn the election, shelled out $200,000 and $7,038 to the company, respectively, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.
In the 2020 cycle, Trump’s groups paid more than $4.3 million to people and companies involved in organizing the Jan. 6 rally, OpenSecrets reported this week. Of that amount, about $2.8 million went to Event Strategies, records show. But the only 2020 payments other committees made to the firm came after the election, in connection to the Georgia Senate runoffs.
FEC data shows that the NRCC had not paid Event Strategies since 2009, and neither Brooks nor the Alabama GOP previously contracted the company.
Bluebonnet Fundraising, the firm run by rally organizer and former Trump campaign adviser Caroline Wren—who last month was subpoenaed by House investigators—raked in tens of thousands of dollars after the riot.
Some of that cash came from the leadership PAC belonging to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who paid Bluebonnet $1,280 in fundraising fees six days after the attack, per FEC records. Lynda Blanchard, a Republican challenging Brooks in the 2022 Alabama Senate race, also forked over $22,000 in consulting fees to Bluebonnet in May. And in late January, Bluebonnet also got an $86,800 boost from Save the US Senate PAC, a group founded last year by associates of Donald Trump Jr.
Wren, whose name was on rally organizing documents, had also previously secured two high-dollar contributions in connection with the rally from Publix Super Market heiress Julie Jenkins, who gave $300,000 to event organizers and another $150,000 to the Republican Attorneys General Association. The latter group was responsible for sending out robocalls urging people to converge in DC for the march to “stop the steal.”
This month, ProPublica reported that Wren had bragged about raising $3 million for the rally, claiming she had “parked” the money across multiple groups, including RAGA, the Tea Party Express, and Turning Point—the sprawling system of nonprofit groups dedicated to cultivating young Republicans.
This year, Tea Party Express has contributed $1,000 each to election objector Rep. Susan Wright (R-TX) and New Mexico GOP state senator Mark Moores. The group also cut a $10,000 check to Take Back the House 2022 PAC in September, the leadership PAC belonging to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). Four days before that contribution was filed, CNN reported that, so far this year, the PAC had raised about $100,000 apiece for five GOP members who in January voted to impeach Trump for instigating an insurrection.
Another rally organizer, Tea Party Patriots, has raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars from private citizens this year, led by a $150,000 check that Gore-Tex co-founder David Gore cut a few days after the event.
RAGA also racked up high-dollar contributions after the riot, including from corporate PACs belonging to Boeing, DC law firm McGuire Woods, and the American Resort Development Association. The PACs gave the organizing group $25,000, $15,000, and $50,000, respectively.
A review of FEC filings also reveals some notable payments made around the time of the rally.
Trump’s campaign reported paying $4,145 to Colorado Security for protective services at the rally, and on Jan. 5 shelled out nearly $7,000 in parking fees to D.C. company Colonial Parking.
The day after the attack, the Trump campaign blasted out travel reimbursement payments to nearly 60 people, a number of whom had not previously appeared on the campaign’s payroll. Many of the recipients at the time were former and current administration staff, including multiple aides to former first lady Melania Trump, members of the White House advance team, and various White House liaisons. One of the reimbursed was Michael Rubino, a former Trump campaign aide who had not been paid since 2015, and who in 2018 had set up a lobbying shop at Lewandowski’s D.C. condo address.
Two election objectors also reported noteworthy expenses around the time.
On Jan. 7, as DC was still reeling from the attack, Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS) paid $1,206 to the Capitol Hill Club—a favorite fundraising haunt for Republican officials.
And Marjorie Taylor Greene, one of the loudest voices in Congress supporting the efforts to overturn the election, reported four payments totaling $25,500 to Parler for digital fundraising ads on Jan. 4, 5, and 6. The social media platform, popular among the far right, was a popular communications channel among violent riot-goers for planning the event and, later, executing the attack.
“It’s our 1776 moment!” Greene posted on the platform the day before the rally.