- A low-profile wealthy heiress to the Publix supermarket is under scrutiny over January 6.
- Julie Fancelli reportedly gave $650,000 to organizers of January 6 rallies, the Washington Post reported.
- The company distanced itself from Fancelli’s donations, telling the Post it was “deeply troubled.”
Julie Fancelli, an heiress t0 the popular Publix supermarket chain, lives a low-key life out of the public eye mainly in Italy. But the 72-year-old is now coming under scrutiny by the House Select Committee investigating the money trail behind the January 6 insurrection, the Washington Post reports.
Fancelli, a prominent high-dollar donor to Republican groups and causes, gave at least $650,000 to groups that organized the rallies in Washington protesting Congress affirming President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory and spent money urging Trump supporters to attend such rallies, based on new tax records revealed by the watchdog group CREW and the Post.
Fancelli gave $200,000 to a group called State Tea Party Express that went to ads encouraging Republicans to protest at the Capitol on January 6, tax filings obtained by the Post show. That sum is on top of a previously reported $300,000 donation to Women For America First, one of the organizers of the January 6 rally at the Ellipse, and a $150,000 donation to a nonprofit offshoot of the Republican Attorneys General Association.
The supermarket chain is now distancing itself from Fancelli’s donations under the mounting scrutiny from Congress. As Publix is a private company, it is unclear how large of a stake Fancelli holds in the company, as the Post noted. Fancelli, one of Publix founder George Jenkins’ seven children, has never worked directly for the company or served on its board.
The company said in a statement to the Post that it “cannot control the actions of individual stockholders” and is “deeply troubled by Ms. Fancelli’s involvement in the events that led to the tragic attack on the Capitol on January 6.”
Fancelli did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment to email addresses associated with her. She seldom speaks publicly about her political involvement but said in February that she “would never support any violence, particularly the tragic and horrific events that unfolded on January 6th.”
Associates of Fancelli told the Post that as Fancelli got more politically active in giving large sums of money to Republican causes, she became particularly obsessed with the right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones (who has been subpoenaed by the January 6 panel) and his show Infowars.
Fancelli frequently sent Alex Jones and Infowars links about the 2020 election to friends and family in the days and weeks prior to January 6, sources told the Post. She and Jones also spoke by phone on at least one occasion between December 27, 2020 and January 1 after reaching out to his team to ask how she could better support his efforts to overturn former President Donald Trump’s election loss.
“I am not tantalized by that fellow, but apparently she is, and a lot of other people are addicted, to the detriment of the country,” Barney Barnett, Fancelli’s brother-in-law, told the Post. “Julie is one of the finest people I know, and I am sorry she got tied up with this guy.”
One person familiar with contacts between the Republican National Committee and Fancelli described her to the Post as “basically just a right-winger, smarter than a lot of donors, but has an affinity for Alex Jones and conspiracy theories and that sort of thing.”
Caroline Wren, another figure of interest who has been subpoenaed by the January 6 select committee, facilitated the donations between Fancelli and the group, the Post reported.
“The funding behind the First Amendment rally at the White House Ellipse was entirely lawful and consistent with the rights Ms. Fancelli has as an American citizen,” Wren told The Post.
The new revelations about Fancelli’s donations may help the January 6 committee put together more of the puzzle pieces behind the funding and organization of the rally and march to Capitol that preceded the insurrection on the Capitol.
Ali Alexander, a prominent organizer in the Stop the Steal movement, is cooperating with the January 6 committee and is sitting for a deposition on Thursday. In his opening statement, obtained by The New York Times, Alexander sought to separate himself from the violence at the Capitol and throws the organizers of other rallies under the bus, blaming them for not doing anything to stop the increasingly unwieldy mob.
“While I was actively trying to de-escalate events at the Capitol and end the violence and lawlessness, it’s important to note that certain people were nowhere to be found,” Alexander wrote in the statement. “Press reports suggest they may have had their feet up drinking donor-funded champagne in a war room in the Willard.”
Fancelli herself was set to travel to Washington, stay at the Willard, and attend the rally she’d helped fund, the Post reported, but canceled the trip over the COVID-19 pandemic.