With the attack on the U.S. Capitol still fresh in the minds of Americans, Rep. Josh Gottheimer is seeking an investigation of how those who stormed Congress were financed.
Gottheimer called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to focus their investigative efforts into bitcoin transfer of over half million dollars to multiple domestic terrorists leading into the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6.
“In the wake of the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol, Americans deserve to know if more than half a million dollars’ worth of bitcoin helped fund the failed insurrection,” stated the North Jersey Congressman. “Are foreign entities paying far-right extremists to try to overthrow the U.S. government? Are there other cryptocurrency transfers to extremist groups we don’t yet know about?”
Published reports indicate the DOJ and other federal agencies are investigating a transfer of $522,000 worth of bitcoin to twenty-two different wallets belonging to alt-right groups and extremists one month before the attack.
The largest donation—of approximately $250,000—went to a far-right extremist internet troll who was reported to be present at the initial Washington, DC rally headlines by then President Donald Trump and seen outside the U.S. Capitol as the riot began.
“We know this isn’t an isolated incident,” stated Gottheimer. “We know other terrorist actors and foreign groups use cryptocurrency to finance their attacks. Our federal agencies and the Department of Justice need to actively redouble their investigation and immediately brief Congress to help get to the bottom of this.”
The issue is a familiar one for Gottheimer who has led efforts to pass legislation involving the financing of terrorists, both foreign and domestic, and the use of internet recruitment by terrorists.
The congressman is the lead sponsor of the Online Terrorism Prevention Act, bipartisan legislation that would require regular disclosure of the presence of designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations on social media websites, and to impose financial and criminal penalties for social media companies that fail to eliminate terrorist content from their platforms.
Additionally, he is co-sponsoring the Freezing Assets of Suspected Terrorists and Enemy Recruits (FASTER) Act, to give law enforcement the capability to freeze the assets of all domestic terrorists when a suspect is arrested by federal law enforcement.
The proposed law would implement a one-of-a-kind National Homegrown Terrorism Incident Clearinghouse for all levels of law enforcement to collect and share information on incidents of homegrown, lone-wolf terrorism and violent extremism — to help investigate and thwart future attacks.
Seat on Homeland Security
The issues comes as Rep. Gottheimer was recently appointed to the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security. This committee is responsible for security legislation and authorization and policy oversight responsibilities over the Department of Homeland Security, including domestic preparedness and response to terrorism, transportation, port, and infrastructure security, and FEMA and disaster response.
“Today, the safety and security of our nation is at a critical juncture, with rapidly evolving threats from foreign and domestic terrorists, homegrown violent extremism, hacking and cybersecurity attacks, and unforeseen disasters threatening our nation,” said Gottheimer. “We (just) witnessed a grave challenge to our national security in the unprecedented insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, underscoring the urgent need to remain vigilant to protect our country and our democracy.
“We must also make sure that our law enforcement, firefighters and all first responders at every level have the resources and equipment they need to safeguard themselves and our communities,” he stated.
In addition to the Homeland Security Committee, Gottheimer will continue to serve on the prestigious House Financial Services Committee, where he remains the only Member from the New Jersey Congressional delegation.