At least seven staffers for Maine Democratic Senate candidate Sara Gideon donated to a bail fund that releases looters and other violent criminals from jail.
Gideon's staffers posted on social media about their donations to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, a group that pays criminal bail for protesters and looters regardless of whether they were violent or which crimes they committed. The donations came after individuals involved with anti-police demonstrations began looting and burning businesses in Minneapolis.
The Minnesota Freedom Fund has said it does not consider individuals' charges before bailing them out. "I will see [the charges] after I pay the bill because it is not the point," Greg Lewin, the fund's interim executive director, said of the group's efforts. "The point is the system we are fighting." The group primarily aids Minneapolis rioters, who have caused $55 million in damages and left numerous businesses destroyed and parts of the city burned down.
Local reports have indicated the fund has bailed out individuals charged with rape, murder, assault, and shooting at police. One person it freed in July, 32-year-old Minneapolis resident Lionel Timms, was since re-arrested for assaulting a man in an alley, leaving him with a traumatic brain injury.
Gideon staffers, starting with field organizer Izabella Zox, announced their contributions to the Minnesota Freedom Fund on Twitter in late May—in the early days of protests but after the property damage and looting had started.
Zox's tweet set off a chain with at least six other Gideon staffers. Madeline Shiley, a regional director for Gideon's campaign, replied to the tweet and matched Zox's $50 donation. This continued with five other Gideon campaign organizers. The Gideon staffers made donations around the same time Biden campaign staffers gave to the group.
"It's not surprising Democrat Sara Gideon's staffers are busy bailing out criminals, when Gideon herself has shown no regard for the law," Nathan Brand, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told the Washington Free Beacon.
Gideon has expressed support for Black Lives Matter demonstrations and attended at least one protest. She accused President Donald Trump of inciting violence against "peaceful protesters," but has not condemned the looting or violence at protests across the country.
The Minnesota Freedom Fund has seen a massive influx of cash since the start of nationwide anti-police protests. It has hauled in at least $35 million and received support from celebrities such as Steve Carell and Seth Rogen. Vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris likewise publicized the fund and urged supporters to donate to the group to "post bail for those protesting on the ground in Minnesota."
The fund is not the only left-wing group that posts bail for looters and rioters involved in the nationwide protests. Two groups that provide operational support for six bail funds in the country's largest cities were found to support socialist militants in Latin America, the Washington Free Beacon previously reported.
Gideon's campaign did not respond to a request for comment on her staffers' donations to the group. The Minnesota Freedom Fund also did not provide a comment by press time.