Capitol Rioters Took Federal Pandemic Aid, Then Attacked The Congress That Provided It

If you were outraged by the violent mob that invaded the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 then this probably will make you really blow a gasket: at least nine of the rioters who have been arrested and charged for their actions received almost a quarter million dollars from federal coronavirus pandemic relief programs before taking part in the insurrection.

The Daily Beast reports that it reviewed records from the Project on Government Oversight’s Covid Tracker and found that the individuals charged with breaking windows to let the rioters into the Capitol, bear-spraying and punching police officers – even the guy who put his feet up on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk – collectively took in $227,000 from three relief programs – the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans or Disaster Assistance loans.

Dominic Pezzola owns a flooring company in Rochester, N.Y. and is a member of the far-right extremist Proud Boys. He faces 20 years in prison and $250,000 fine on 11 charges, including stealing a police officer’s riot shield, using it to break windows and confronting Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman. But before heading to Washington in early January, Pezzola wasn’t too proud to accept $12,502 in PPP funds.

Scott Fairlamb is a former ultimate fighter and owner of Fairlamb Fitness in New Jersey. He received a $53,300 Disaster Assistance Loan and a $1,000 direct payment through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program to keep his business afloat. He then presumably hopped on Interstate 95 and drove south to the nation’s capital, where he proceeded punch a police officer in the head. He faces a slew of felony charges, including assaulting an officer and carrying a dangerous weapon in a restricted building.

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And then there’s Richard Barnett, the Arkansas man who smiled, kicked back in Pelosi’s chair, put his booted feet up on her desk and wrote her a note. He took a $9,300 PPP loan for his work as an independent contractor on windows. Barnett faces seven charges, including carrying a dangerous weapon in a government building. He had a cattle prod on him at the time of the insurrection.

Earlier this month Barnett threw a tantrum in court when a judge told him he had to remain in jail at least until his next court appearance in May, screaming “it’s not fair – they’re letting everyone else out!”

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