The Department of Homeland Security doled out more than $350,000 to a university program that placed the Republican Party and mainstream conservative groups on a “pyramid of far-right radicalization” alongside militant neo-Nazis, according to documents obtained by a conservative media watchdog.
DHS’ Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Grant Program gave $352,109 in fiscal year 2022 to a University of Dayton project as part of an effort to “develop and implement modules on the risks of and protective factors for radicalization to violence related to media literacy and online critical thinking for students.”
The PREVENTS-OH program at Dayton received the grant after a seminar held at the Ohio university’s Human Rights Center tied groups such as the Republican National Committee, the Heritage Foundation, the National Rifle Association, and Fox News to known hate organizations including the neo-Nazi paramilitary group The Base and the white supremacist website The Daily Stormer.
Michael Loadenthal, a researcher from the University of Cincinnati who spoke at the November 2021 seminar, presented the “Pyramid” — which also lumped Breitbart News, PragerU, Turning Point USA, the Christian Broadcasting Network, the American Conservative Union and the nonpartisan outlet Quillette with far-right, radical groups.
A DHS employee also participated in the seminar for a virtual session to talk about the agency’s Center for Prevention Programs and Partnership.
Researchers at Dayton later referenced the seminar as part of their grant proposal for the Homeland Security program. The agency awarded the program its funds in September 2022.
“This seminar was not funded, organized, or hosted by the Department of Homeland Security,” a spokesperson for the agency told The Post.
“Similarly, the presented chart was not developed, presented, or endorsed by the Department of Homeland Security, and was not part of any successful grant application to the Department of Homeland Security. DHS does not profile, target, or discriminate against any individual for exercising their constitutional rights protected by the First Amendment.”
“DHS is lying through its teeth once again,” Dan Schneider, a vice president at MRC, said in a statement. “DHS did indeed fund the PREVENTS-OH program a year after a graph and documents were presented that equated Nazis to conservatives, Christians, and Republicans.
“Laughably, the DHS Ohio grantee quickly scrubbed its website following this report, something innocent groups don’t do. But it is too late; we have already copied it. We also have proof that ‘PREVENTS-OH’ actually hosted the conference and that DHS was an active participant, including featuring a senior DHS official at the conference.
“Mayorkas should step down immediately, and Congress should launch a criminal investigation and make appropriate criminal referrals so our judicial system can hold people accountable for their lawlessness.”
Under President Biden, DHS has awarded 80 grants totaling almost $40 million in taxpayer funding to target forms of domestic extremism.
The Media Research Center also obtained an internal memo that shows Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has designated the program a “high priority” of the Biden administration.
“This terrorism task force is engaged in an active effort to demonize and eliminate Christian, conservative, and Republican organizations using federal taxpayer dollars,” Brent Bozell, founder and president of the Media Research Center, told Fox News, which first reported on the documents. “What we have uncovered calls for criminal prosecution. The American people need to know those who are abusing their positions in the federal government will be held accountable for their criminal behavior.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) tweeted that the MRC’s findings were “[c]ompletely disgraceful.”
“The Biden admin’s weaponization of government to target conservatives is profoundly dangerous,” he wrote.
“The Biden Administration has weaponized the government to silence and intimidate conservative voices along with Americans who disagree with the Left’s radical ideology. We now know they have active corrupt collaborators in President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas. Americans of all political stripes who value freedom and free expression should be gravely concerned,” American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp said in a statement. “This is yet another reason the House Republican Majority must begin hearings to ascertain the level of treachery from the Biden Regime.”
The National Rifle Association blasted the Biden administration for what it called an “outrageous misuse of public funds,” adding: “Protecting [the Second Amendment] isn’t terrorism, it’s patriotism.”
The Heritage Foundation noted that the seminar included “no mentions of 2020’s ‘summer of love’ where leftists caused at least $2 billion in damage across the U.S., the consequences of which the America’s poor and middle class are still facing.
“There was also no mention about the extremism of a President abusing his power to try and force a nation to take an experimental drug without consent, or the fact that a substantial portion of the country supported punishing those who wouldn’t comply,” Heritage added. “Whether it’s the FBI, DOJ, IRS, or DHS, it seems the Biden admin will weaponize any part of the federal government against its political opponents, including by conflating them with terrorists.”
The University of Dayton told Fox News the seminar “had no affiliation with and predates PREVENTS-OH,” despite it being held at the university’s Human Rights Center fall conference.
Another seminar speaker, Rutgers University professor Alexander Hinton, drew an equivalence between the Trump administration and the Khmer Rouge, Pol Pot’s ruthless regime that massacred nearly 2 million Cambodians in the 1970s.
Loadenthal in another seminar had encouraged “antifascists” to break the law and apply “pressure” to financial institutions and companies to deplatform conservatives.
Bozell in a Thursday letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) requested to meet to discuss the documents in MRC’s report and DHS’ failure to comply with other FOIA requests.
The MRC report comes on the heels of a report from another conservative group that showed pro-life moms were listed as potential “radicalization suspects” in a violence prevention training guide at Homeland Security only days after Biden took office.