As major cities begin picking up the pieces after days of destruction, the rioters and looters can rest easy knowing that they have a get-out-of-jail-free card waiting for them. Bail-out charities are suddenly flush with cash, especially the Minnesota Freedom Fund (MFF), which has received an unprecedented level of donations from Hollywood stars including Justin Timberlake, Steve Carell, and Seth Rogen.
The revolution will be celebrified, thanks to aggressive Hollywood crowdsourcing.
The MFF’s stated objective is simple — it raises donations that it uses to bail out suspected criminals from jail and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention. The once-obscure group used to pull in a mere $110,000 a year in donations, according to public tax records. But since the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody, it has raked in more than $20 million in less than a week.
MFF’s sudden windfall raises questions about how the organization, which is led by a George Soros acolyte who is also a convicted drug offender, is actually spending its money. Are funds being used to bail out violent Antifa members? Will some of that cash find its way into the coffers of Democrat politicians or special interests?
The group’s aggressive demands to defund the police are also garnering attention. MFF is encouraging donations to Reclaim the Block, which has called for government divestment from the Minneapolis police. Reclaim is receiving financial support from the “Squad” — Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
MFF has been suspected of harboring Antifa sympathies through its close collaboration with the National Lawyers Guild, a radical leftist organization that has been called Antifa’s “unofficial legal arm.” President Donald Trump’s decision to classify Antifa as a domestic terror group could bring federal scrutiny to how MFF is using its money.
In the days since #BlackLivesMatter protests have swept the country, the MFF has become more brazen in its political rhetoric, including demands that Minnesota Gov. Tim Waltz (D) defund the police. It has also attracted support from prominent Democrat politicians — including several Joe Biden staffers.
MFF, which didn’t respond to a request for comment, is legally restricted from giving money to political campaigns due to its 501(c)(3) non-profit status.
— Minnesota Freedom Fund (@MNFreedomFund) May 30, 2020
Sen. Kamala Harris is encouraging people to donate money to MFF. At least 13 Joe Biden campaign staffers have also given money, which prompted a rebuke from President Trump. Biden has said he doesn’t support defunding the police.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) June 1, 2020
Sleepy Joe Biden’s people are so Radical Left that they are working to get the Anarchists out of jail, and probably more. Joe doesn’t know anything about it, he is clueless, but they will be the real power, not Joe. They will be calling the shots! Big tax increases for all, Plus!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 1, 2020
In his tweet, President Trump implied that MFF is working “to get anarchists out of jail, and probably more.”
While MFF hasn’t publicly supported Antifa, it coordinates its bail work with the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), which does support Antifa.
The NLG recently defended the violent far-left group against President Trump’s decision to label it as a domestic terrorist.
“Trump’s declaration that Antifa is a domestic terrorist organization has no basis in fact or law and is merely an attempt to criminalize ordinary people who are exercising their right to protest,” NLG said in a statement.
MFF partners with the NLG to set bail for suspected criminals. People who have been arrested and jailed during recent #BlackLivesMatter protests are being told to call the NLG, which will then contact the MFF to provide bail money.
Greg Lewin, board president of MFF, recently sent out a notice saying that the NLG knows to contact the MFF regarding bail.
Folks people have been arrested so let's please continue donating to @MNFreedomFund
Re Greg Lewin from MN Freedom Fund
If you need jail support/bails paid:
Legal Rights Ctr: 612-337-0030
Nat'l Lawyers Guild: 612-444-2654
They know to connect to the Freedom Fund
— Asma Nizami (@asmaresists) May 28, 2020
New York City Antifa has also advised its members to “familiarize yourself with the numbers for the National Lawyers Guild.”
stay smart. stay solid. never talk to a cop or a fed. nothing you say will help you and it can only harm others. familiarize yourself with the numbers for the national lawyers guild. if there isn't one near you, reach out and ask. we keep us safe.https://t.co/pwlpeJSrh2
— New York City Antifa (@NYCAntifa) June 3, 2020
Both organizations have strong ties to anti-Trump billionaire George Soros.
MFF Executive Director Tonja Honsey was named a Soros Justice Fellow by the Open Society Foundations in 2019. Honsey is a convicted drug offender who was arrested during a meth lab bust in 2002. She has also served time for theft and check forgery. Since being freed, she has worked as a criminal justice reformer and has served on Minnesota’s Sentencing Guidelines Commission.
The radical NLG has received funding from Soros’s Open Society and has partnered with Soros-backed organizations. The NLG has a history of hostility toward journalists looking into its ties to Antifa. Last week, its Portland, Oregon, chapter told investigative reporter Andy Ngo to “fuck off” when he said that the NLG operates as Antifa’s “legal arm.”
Fuck off, Andy. https://t.co/4jvMLNM9lZ
— NLG Portland (@NLG_Portland) June 1, 2020
The NLG also didn’t reply to a request for comment.
MFF doesn’t publicly disclose the names of the people it bails out of jail. The group tweeted that it spent $69,836 freeing 266 individual from county jail last year. It spends about $5,000 a month for ICE bonds.
Hey all. The number being thrown around for our $ spent on bail in 2019 is the $ of bail we *couldn't get back* from the courts. We kept our books that way. Last year we spent $69,836 freeing 266 folks from county. About another $5k a month for ICE bonds. Hope this helps.
— Minnesota Freedom Fund (@MNFreedomFund) May 29, 2020
Those figures are expected to grow exponentially now that the fund is rolling in money. Hollywood celebrities have turned the group into a Twitter cause célèbre as stars including Janelle Monae, Patton Oswalt, and Don Cheadle have all pledged to chip in.
Chrissy Teigen and her husband, the pop star John Legend, promised to donate $100,000 to various bail funds and then doubled their donation to $200,000.
MFF’s bank account is so full that it has temporarily suspended further donations, asking people to donate to other charities, including Reclaim the Block, which supports the defunding of police
Founded in 2016, MFF has operated for most of its existence with a small crew of mostly young activists. Founder Simon Cecil was a student at the University of Minnesota when he received $10,000 in grants from the school to start the bail charity.
Bail funds have become a political rallying cry for the left in the short time since George Floyd’s death. ActBlue is hosting a fundraiser from the group Progressives Everywhere to assist a group of bail funds, including the MFF.
Progressives Everywhere said donations will be split evenly between 13 bail funds in order to assist “low-income people, protestors and bystanders who have been unfairly arrested and must post high cash bails.”