Militia-related groups kicked out of Amazon Smile charitable giving program


ad_1]

Amazon shipping box with smile logo

The Amazon Smile program will no longer allow shoppers to send a small portion of eligible purchases to five charities related to militia movements whose members are under investigation.


Getty Images

Amazon has removed five groups that appear to be affiliated with militia movements from its Amazon Smile charitable giving program. The groups are registered nonprofits that all share names with either the Oath Keepers or the Three Percent movements, whose members are reportedly under investigation in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.

The removed groups were listed in Amazon’s systems as Delaware Iii Percent, American Patriot Vanguard Iii Percent – Texas, Oath Keepers United, Indiana Oath Keepers and Oath Keepers Educational Foundation. The Smile program, which Amazon says has generated more than $217 million to charities in total since 2013, lets shoppers select a nonprofit that can receive 0.5% of funds spent on eligible purchases.

The presence of the militia groups came to light Wednesday when advocacy group Sleeping Giants publicized screenshots from the Indiana Oath Keepers website, which laid out step-by-step directions for supporters who wanted to select the group as a charity in the Smile program. CNET identified the two other Oath Keepers groups listed in the Smile program, as well as the Delaware Iii Percent (or Three Percent) group, and asked Amazon for comment. The company said Friday it would remove those groups in addition to the Texas Iii Percent group.

“Organizations that engage in, support, encourage, or promote intolerance, hate, terrorism, violence, money laundering, or other illegal activities are not eligible” for the Smile program, Amazon said in a statement Monday. Amazon said it works with U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Southern Poverty Law Center for information on groups that might violate this policy.

In a statement on its website, Indiana Oath Keepers said it had no connection to the Capitol riots. “Indiana Oath Keepers does not and has never sponsored, planned or funded any activities that involve riots, violence or unlawful actions,” the statement said. “No IOK members were sent to Washington DC on January 6th nor did IOK leadership ask for volunteers to travel to Washington DC.” The statement went on to disavow white supremacy, racism, violence or any effort to overthrow the US government or violate the US Constitution.

The other charities listed don’t have a web presence and couldn’t be contacted Monday.

The removal follows Amazon’s efforts to crack down on the sale of merchandise that supported the insurrectionists who overpowered police and entered the Capitol building on Jan. 6 to interrupt Congress while it certified the vote in the 2020 US presidential election. The company has also suspended its cloud hosting services to Parler, a social media platform popular with right-wing extremists, because the company wasn’t adequately moderating posts condoning or encouraging violence.

Other tech companies have also sought to distance themselves from riot participants, including PayPal, which has cut off donations to a website that raised funds for participants in the days’ events as well as a Texas realtor who allegedly livestreamed herself as she entered the Capitol. Shopify has also cut off its services to stores selling merchandise for former President Donald Trump, who was impeached because of his role in inciting the violence, with a Senate trial set for February.

A search of the charities available through Amazon Smile on Monday shows that 86 nonprofits with “militia” in the name are still listed.



Cnet