According to multiple people familiar with the payment, Turning Point Action, a conservative pro-Trump organisation, paid Kimberly Guilfoyle $60,000 to introduce her fiancé, Donald Trump Jr., in a speech lasting less than three minutes at the “Stop the Steal” rally at the Ellipse in Washington on January 6, 2021.
The payment to Guilfoyle was revealed Monday by Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, who told CNN’s Jake Tapper that the House select committee investigating the January 6 riot at the US Capitol has evidence that money raised based on Trump’s false election claims went to Trump’s family members.
After the committee’s Monday hearing, Lofgren spoke about the $250 million raised by the Save America PAC and the Trump campaign. However, according to persons familiar with the payment, those entities did not pay Guilfoyle’s fee.
Turning Point Action, an affiliate of Turning Point USA, a youth organisation founded by Charlie Kirk, a close friend of Trump Jr., provided the funds.
According to two persons familiar with the situation, Julie Jenkins Fancelli, the heiress to the Publix supermarket company, was the Turning Point Action contributor whose money was used to pay for Guilfoyle’s speaking fee.
Lofgren’s description of the donor fits Fancelli’s circumstances as a large donor to Turning Point Action, according to a third person acquainted with Fancelli’s testimony before the select committee. “The biggest donor to that was a woman who took the Fifth Amendment when she was examined by us and explicitly removed speaker’s fees from her donation,” the lawmaker told CNN.
According to a source acquainted with Fancelli’s testimony, she donated around $1 million to the group, with the money going toward busing students and social media influencers to the event, as well as video and other media creation.
During an interview with Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday, Lofgren defended her prior statements on Guilfoyle’s fee, saying she didn’t think she mischaracterized the payment because it came from a Trump-connected network.
“The question is whether Trump individuals gain from this entire operation of raising money around the so-called ‘Stop the Steal,'” Lofgren said to Blitzer. “And the answer is yes,” says the narrator.
When asked whether Fancelli’s donation was used to pay Guilfoyle’s speaking fee, the committee declined to respond. Guilfoyle and her lawyer did not reply to demands for comment. Turning Point did not respond to a request for comment.
The committee used a video presentation from a senior investigator at Monday’s session to highlight how Trump leveraged bogus charges of election fraud to garner $250 million from donors. The fundraising emails claimed that the money would go toward an election defence fund, but the majority of the money was directed to Save America, a pro-Trump PAC, according to the investigator.
Soon after that presentation, Lofgren went on CNN and revealed the payment to Guilfoyle as an example of a “grift.” Tapper inquired if the committee had discovered “proof that Trump and his family ‘directly profited’ from donations.”
“We know, for example, that Guilfoyle was compensated for her introduction at the January 6 speech. She was compensated as a result of this “According to Lofgren. “I’m not saying it’s a crime, but it’s a gift,” she says.
CNN asked Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson late Monday to explain whether Guilfoyle was compensated with “Stop the Steal” funding.
“I didn’t say that,” Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, told CNN. “It was strictly paid out of expenditures that came from people who came to the Stop the Steal rally.”
Thompson stated that the public, including Trump supporters, was still unaware of the payment at the time of the speech.
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“First and foremost, we believe that the majority of the public would be disturbed if they were unaware that Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend was paid $60,000 for a few minute’s speeches. She had to be paid to speak at an event that everyone else was attending because it was the appropriate thing to do “he stated