For months, prominent white supremacist Richard Spencer has watched project after project implode.
First, no one showed up at his nationwide tour, leading Spencer to end it early. Then, his lawyer and confidant Kyle Bristow buckled under the pressure, announcing that he couldn’t deal with the media scrutiny.
Shortly thereafter, just as Spencer’s other sources of income had apparently dried up, he turned to MakerSupport for his fundraising needs. However, the site apparently collapsed under the weight of new attention after Spencer joined, with its payment processor dropping the site wholesale.
Despite the fact that Spencer said MakerSupport was to be his last, best shot at raising money, he seems to have found another, more niche outlet. Last week, he announced that he had launched a campaign with Funded Justice, a site dedicated to raising money for strictly legal help.
According to Spencer, the new campaign is necessary because he is “under attack.” Spencer cited a lawsuit filed last October, aiming at organizers and featured speakers at last year’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which saw one protester killed by a white supremacist.
The suit, funded by Integrity First for America, alleges that the assorted white supremacists conspired to commit violence, as well as violated the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, resulting in a significant number of injured protesters and bystanders. The lawsuit lists some 26 total defendants, including Spencer.
Spencer had already filed a motion to dismiss the case on the grounds that, of all things, he couldn’t hire a lawyer due to his “controversial” stances. Now, however, Spencer says he’s located a lawyer to help — and that he just needs the funds to pay his lawyer’s fees, which he’s estimated at $25,000.
Funded Justice, the site Spencer selected, doesn’t have a history of backing white supremacists. However, Funded Justice notes on its site that it “reviews every campaign before approval.”
Describing itself as “a crowdfunding platform for anyone with a legal issue that needs money to hire an attorney,” the site was co-founded in 2014 by Alan Savage and Michael Helfand, a pair of lawyers based in Illinois. As Savage told The Daily Northwestern in 2015, “We help people raise funds using crowds just for legal fees only.”
“Our philosophy, or policy, or whatever it may be is… the idea [of] trying to get people a level playing field in the courts if they feel they can’t afford attorney fees,” Helfand told ThinkProgress. “That’s really all I’d say.”
Helfand declined to answer if someone at Funded Justice had approved Spencer’s campaign. When contacted, Savage told ThinkProgress that he or one of his colleagues would call back later, which they had not done by Monday afternoon.
As it is, Spencer — who described himself as a “dissident” — had already raised over $13,000 on the site.
“You shall overcome,” one commenter wrote to Spencer. “In the end you shall rejoice in your part in reclaiming our greatness.”