National Propaganda Radio (otherwise known as the state-funded media outfit NPR) ran a hit-piece Thursday on a charity collecting donations for political prisoners held under the Biden regime over charges related to Jan. 6.
“Experts see ‘red flags’ at nonprofit raising big money for Capitol riot defendants,” NPR Investigations headlined, smearing the Patriot Freedom Project (PFP) as a shadow charity whose board is run by supervisors plagued with financial headaches of their own.
The article centers on the charity’s founder, Cynthia Hughes, who launched the group to support Jan. 6 defendants held now more than a year in reportedly inhumane conditions, and their coping families. Hughes’ own “adoptive nephew” is among those in jail.
“Over the last decade, NPR found, Hughes has filed multiple lawsuits, in which she represented herself, and publicly disclosed serious personal financial problems,” NPR wrote, outlining two lawsuits filed in 2013 and 2018 where Hughes sued credit agencies for thousands to change her rating. “Hughes stated in court documents that she struggled with late payments, poor credit scores, and the ripple effects of filing for bankruptcy in the 2000s. In each case, the parties either settled the claims, or the cases were dismissed outright.”
NPR invoked the testimony of “experts” to cite Hughes’ financial history as problematic while the group aims to raise eight-figure sums to fund the costly legal challenges of those held in detention and denied due process. The government outlet then used the testimony of disgruntled family members of other J6 defendants disenfranchised by the charity to smear the transparency of the project.
“Family members of some alleged Capitol rioters have questioned what the group’s criteria are for sending donations and begun pushing for more transparency,” NPR wrote. “‘A few of us have asked for transparency and got NO WHERE,’ said one family member.”
Behind-the-scenes politics related to those anonymously critical of the group failed to make it into the piece. Joseph McBride, a New York-based attorney representing several Jan. 6 defendants, told The Federalist he warned NPR of the bad-faith critics in advance.
“I spoke to the reporter beforehand and I let them know there was a family member who was hostile to what Cynthia was trying to do and cautioned him from publishing anything based on the person’s claims,” McBride said. “This family member is disgruntled and was denied a leadership role at PFP because of her inability to deal with people in a civilized manner.”
While branded as an organization blindly coming to rioters’ defense, the Patriot Freedom Project only offers assistance to those denied due process and meaningful representation.
“Patriot Freedom Project exists to fight for political prisoners. The ones that are being attacked by our own government and being denied due process and living in hellacious conditions in the D.C. jail,” a charity spokesperson told the outlet.
NPR’s reporting on the Minnesota Freedom Fund, a project bailing out Minneapolis rioters, included four published pieces of laudatory coverage and no mention of Vice President Kamala Harris encouraging supporters to donate while she was a California senator. The fund ultimately bailed out a series of alleged criminals facing steep sentences for heinous crimes, including the rape of an 8-year-old child.
McBride branded NPR’s hit piece on the Patriot Freedom Fund written entirely in “bad faith.”
“People have a right to a meaningful defense,” McBride said. “But because the Jan. 6ers are members of the right and the Christian right, they are being labeled as ‘alt-right’ which is a misnomer in and of itself because it’s just simply not true, and even if it were true, they would be entitled to a meaningful defense because this is America.”
Bonnie Nichols, whose husband, Ryan, is being represented by McBride and has remained in prison since the day of the riot, has benefitted from Hughes’ charity work.
“I don’t know where we would be if we didn’t have that support,” Nichols told The Federalist, explaining how the network of emotional and financial support offered by the Patriot Freedom Project bringing families together has saved her family. The group even donated to “make sure my kids have a good Christmas.” Their father was denied pre-trial release in December days before the holiday despite his lack of criminal history and non-violent background.
Ryan faces several charges related to the Capitol riot including possession of a dangerous weapon on Capitol grounds. The defendant reportedly carried a crowbar, according to court documents. Ryan denied each charge and remains in prison with no trial date under conditions that have led congressional investigators to demand the warden’s dismissal.
“We’re completely in the dark. We don’t have a trial date set. It’s been over a year,” Bonnie said of her husband’s future. “My son, he’s 5 years old, he hasn’t seen his father in over a year and he told me he forgot what his daddy looks like and doesn’t know if his daddy is ever going to come home.”
Tristan Justice is the western correspondent for The Federalist. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and The Daily Signal. His work has also been featured in Real Clear Politics and Fox News. Tristan graduated from George Washington University where he majored in political science and minored in journalism. Follow him on Twitter at @JusticeTristan or contact him at Tristan@thefederalist.com.