- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 24, 2021

The Proud Boys and other groups involved in storming the U.S. Capitol last month should be designated as terrorist entities, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee said Tuesday.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer, New Jersey Democrat, asked the State Department to consider adding the Proud Boys and “other violent extremist groups” to the government’s list of terrorist organizations.

In a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Mr. Gottheimer said designating them as terrorists would provide additional tools “to prosecute, financially counter and defeat these groups.”

“These domestic terror groups continue to threaten our homeland and they must be stopped,” Mr. Gottheimer said during an event in Sussex County later.

A number of self-identifying members of the Proud Boys, a men-only group started in 2016 by a Canadian, Gavin McInnes, were spotted among the violent mobs that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Canada subsequently designated the Proud Boys as a terrorist entity on Feb. 3, along with three other entities its government has described as “ideologically motivated violent extremist groups.”

In addition to the Proud Boys, the Canadian government this month designated several far-right groups — Atomwaffen Division, the Base and Russian Imperial Movement, or RIM — as terrorist entities.

“As the United States undertakes the interagency process of evaluating these groups, I urge you to follow suit,” Mr. Gottheimer wrote to Mr. Blinken.

The State Department is only authorized to designate groups that are primarily foreign-based and does not comment on potential related deliberations, a State Department spokesperson told The Washington Times.

Several of the Proud Boys seen at the Capitol last month, including prominent members from as far away as Hawaii, Florida and Washington state, have since been charged with related federal crimes.

U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick, a New Jersey native, died after being injured during the rioting. Scores of other police officers were injured as well.

Mr. Gottheimer said that applying the terrorist designation to a group would cut off its access to financial resources and warns the private sector of the risks of doing business with them.

“We must do everything in our power to ensure that those who were part of the insurrection are investigated and arrested,” Mr. Gottheimer said in Sussex County. “But we must also do everything in our power to protect our country going forward from any extremists, whether they are Proud Boys or ISIS-inspired, lone wolf terrorists or other extremist or radical groups.”

The Justice Department has opened cases into more than 200 people facing charges related to rioting at the Capitol. Mr. Gottheimer said at least 18 are alleged to have ties to either the Proud Boys or the Oath Keepers militia group.

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