Feds Investigate After Fire at Offices of Conservative Groups

Burnt out hallway in office building housing conservative groups (@KathrynHindy/Twitter)
February 2, 2024

Federal officials are investigating a potential arson attack that struck the office building of three conservative organizations near Minneapolis.

An official from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms told the Daily Caller the agency is investigating possible criminal intent in the Sunday fire, which damaged the offices of the conservative organizations TakeCharge, Center of the American Experiment, and the Upper Midwest Law Center.

Leaders of the groups said they were confident the fire was caused by an ideologically motivated arson attack.

"The fires were obviously set by someone. They targeted conservative organizations," said John Hinderaker, president of Center of the American Experiment, a right-leaning think tank that advocates "free enterprise, limited government, personal responsibility, and government accountability."

"They didn’t firebomb the chiropractors or psychologists or Manufacturers Alliance [in the building]," Hinderaker added. "We are working with authorities to try to identify the perpetrators."

The office building is also home to several non-conservative companies, but none of their offices incurred any significant damage, per the Daily Caller.

"It’s deeply troubling that we may have been a target of arson—an act of domestic terrorism—because of the work we do on behalf of the people of Minnesota and the Upper Midwest," the Upper Midwest Law Center’s assistant general counsel James Dickey told the Daily Caller. UMLC’s mission, according to its Facebook page, is to "pursue pro-freedom litigation safeguarding against government overreach, left-wing special interest agendas, constitutional violations, and public union corruption."

Kendall Qualls, president of TakeCharge, said his organization was targeted for being "a conservative black organization disputing the narrative of systemic racism."

"Attempts to silence us won’t work," Qualls said. "This act emboldens us to be stronger and louder."

The FBI and ATF are both investigating the incident but have not yet identified any suspects, the Daily Caller reported.

The fire comes just over two months after an attack on the office of a Republican lawmaker in California. In late November, anti-Israel activists vandalized the office building of Rep. David Valadao (R., Calif.), defacing its exterior with a red substance and posting flyers that showed photos of children with the label "murdered by Israel."