Publix grocery store heiress donated $150,000 to GOP attorneys general group to promote the January 6 protest

·3 min read
Trump Jan 6
U.S. President Donald Trump is seen on a screen as his supporters cheer during a rally on the National Mall on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. Samuel Corum/Getty Images
  • Julie Jenkins Fancelli, heiress to the Publix grocery store chain, donated $150,000 to the Rule of Law Defense Fund to promote the January 6 riot.

  • Fancelli was a top donor for the rally, contributing over $300,000, according to documents obtained by the Washington Post.

  • Fancelli's $150,000 funded a robocall encouraging people to go to Washington, DC, and "march to the Capitol building."

The daughter of the founder of the Publix grocery store chain and the top funder of the January 6 rally in Washington that preceded the riot at the US Capitol, donated $150,000 to a Republican attorneys general group to help fund the pro-Trump protest, according to a published report.

The nonprofit Rule of Law Defense Fund, with help from Julie Jenkins Fancelli, the heiress of Publix, financed a robocall touting a march to the US Capitol to "call on Congress to stop the steal," a reference to debunked claims of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election, according to records reported by the Washington Post.

How funding was gathered for the January 6 protests is a current focus of the House select committee tasked with investigating the deadly storming of the Capitol. The committee is also interested in the role that government officials, like attorneys general, played in encouraging people to attend the protest, the Post reported, citing sources familiar with the committee.

The robocall gave listeners specific details on how and when to "march to the Capitol building and call on Congress to stop the steal," according to the watchdog group Documented who first reported on the call. "We are hoping patriots like you will join us to continue to fight to protect the integrity of our elections," the call said.

Fancelli, a top donor to former President Donald Trump, gave about $300,000 to Women for America First, the "Stop the Steal" group that obtained a permit for the rally, making her the prime contributor for the event, according to records viewed by The Post. Fancelli donated more than 50% of the funds needed for the rally, which was organized to push false claims that voter fraud led to Trump's loss in the election.

The leaders of Women for America First have been subpoenaed by the committee, including Caroline Wren, a Republican fundraiser who was listed on that group's permit as a "VIP ADVISOR" and who helped Fancelli manage her donation to the organization, according to the Post's source close to the situation.

Publix did not immediately respond to Insider's request to comment on Fancelli's donations.

In a previous emailed statement to Insider regarding Fancelli's donations to the rally, a spokesperson from Publix said "Mrs. Fancelli is not an employee of Publix Super Markets, and is neither involved in our business operations, nor does she represent the company in any way. We cannot comment on Mrs. Fancelli's actions."

Publix was founded in 1930 by George Jenkins. The supermarket now operates nearly 1,300 grocery store locations throughout the Southeastern US and is one of the largest regional grocery store chains in the country. The Jenkins family has a net worth of over $8.8 billion dollars, according to Forbes' 2020 list of America's richest families. Although Fancelli is not involved in Publix's operations, she is the president of the nonprofit foundation named after her father, according to a 2019 tax filing obtained by ProPublica.

"I am a proud conservative and have real concerns associated with election integrity, yet I would never support any violence, particularly the tragic and horrific events that unfolded on January 6th," Fancelli previously told the Wall Street Journal regarding her donations to the January 6 protest.

Fancelli's lawyer told the Post she did not attend the riot at the US Capitol.

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