The Proud Boys and Oath Keepers are both struggling to bring in money and hold onto members, as the far-right organizations deal with the repercussions of being connected to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
The finances of the two most visible groups with members involved in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol are sputtering. Leaders are low on cash, struggling with defections and arguing with members over the future.
The far-right group the Oath Keepers is splintering after board members accused the founder of spending its money on hair dye, steaks and guns. The leader of the Proud Boys, choked off from the financial system, is printing “Black Lives Matter” T-shirts to make money.
Enrique Tarrio, Proud Boys Leader, told the Wall Street Journal the e-commerce site he runs to support himself and other Proud Boys has been hurt by the fact that they can’t process credit card payments. “We’ve been bleeding money since January,” he said, “like hemorrhaging money.” Barely making enough to cover rent, Tarrio said he set up a secretive e-commerce site to sell merchandise with liberal slogans like “Black Lives Matter” and “Impeach 45,” but wouldn’t give out its name. Paypal, Stripe and others banned them from using their platform.
Twitter and Facebook, which owns Instagram, said they banned accounts associated with the Proud Boys in 2018. Ever since, Mr. Tarrio said, he has been playing a game of cat and mouse with social media and card processors, using various aliases, corporate entities, email addresses and Google voice numbers to trick platforms into letting him back on, often temporarily.