Hern leads 37 Members of Congress on letter supporting DOJ efforts to investigate Antifa
Last week, Representative Kevin Hern (OK-01) and 37 of his fellow Representatives wrote a letter to Attorney General William Barr to thank him for the work the Department of Justice is doing to investigate the financial support received by Antifa. He offered the following statement in response.
“Antifa is a terrorist organization,” said Rep. Hern. “It is self-evident to anyone who has witnessed the destructive, irrational behavior they use to intimidate the American people. There is a lot of confusion around the organization, who leads it, and what their reach is. This confusion will only lead to more suffering, even further undermining our political process and First Amendment rights. I am grateful to Attorney General William Barr for his hard work and hope that by investigating the financial backers and leadership of Antifa, we can better understand how deeply this problem runs and begin to weed it out of our country. I’m glad to have the support of so many colleagues on this effort; we look forward to the conclusion of this investigation.”
Joining Rep. Hern on the letter are:
Rep. Randy Weber
The text of the letter can be found here and below.
June 16, 2020
The Honorable William P. Barr
Dear Attorney General Barr,
I write to thank you for the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) dedication to investigating ANTIFA, your work to declare ANTIFA a terrorist group, and for your efforts to ensure that proper actions will be taken against the violent agitators who have abused federal law. Additionally, I want to commend you for using the Joint Terrorism Task Force network to identify the organizers of the recent destructive protests. However, I also write to urge you to investigate the funding mechanisms behind ANTIFA and other associated groups, which have threatened the wellbeing of our society.
As you may know, ANTIFA groups have had a long history of violent protests, under which they have caused direct harm to anyone critical of their beliefs. For example, last summer, a photojournalist, who was a harsh critic of ANTIFA groups, was beaten by an ANTIFA mob on a public street. The photojournalist posed no physical threat to the group and was simply capturing footage during a Portland ANTIFA demonstration against right-wing groups.
Furthermore, ANTIFA groups executed in violent attacks at the University of California, Berkeley, in response to a planned speech on campus by a right-wing commentator. During these riots, masked ANTIFA protestors hurled fireworks, rocks, and alcoholic beverages at law enforcement officials and caused nearly $100,000 worth of damage to the campus.
More recently, in 2019, during an ANTIFA protest outside the Tacoma Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington, an armed 68-year-old man attacked a police officer. The armed man placed his arms around the officer in an attempt to choke him, so that another protester would be freed. Later, police found explosives and weapons in his bag.
The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to speak freely and to petition the government through peaceful gatherings and protests. However, the ANTIFA protests directly undermine these freedoms, as they use terror and violence to silence the voices of opposition groups and to suppress their ability to assemble. This group continued to utilize these methods over the past week, which led to inflictions of brutal injuries on law enforcement officials and civilians and severe damages to infrastructure, small businesses, and historical sites. These attacks by radical, left-wing protesters are the antithesis to the safe and effective manner in which our founding fathers intended First Amendment rights to be utilized, as they only create a further divide and exacerbate inequality in vulnerable populations.
ANTIFA groups who use violence as a tool to advocate for their beliefs and their radical-leftist agenda can carry out these vicious and well-organized attacks due to their ability to obtain adequate funding. In an effort to subdue these attacks, I urge you to investigate the funding mechanisms behind these volatile groups bringing such reprehensible and destructive behavior amongst our society. Going forward, we must hold ANTIFA’s financial supporters accountable, guarantee that taxpayer dollars are not wasted on the prevention of these violent attacks and ensure that future demonstrations work to honor our First Amendment freedom to peacefully protest.