Originally published May 25, 2023 6:00 pm PDT
The Biden administration has come under fire for allocating funds from an anti-terrorism initiative to a university program that critics say links Christian and conservative groups, including the Republican Party, with Nazi ideologies.
The Media Research Center (MRC), a conservative watchdog, has brought this issue to light by obtaining key documents through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
The funding in question comes from the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Grant Program (TVTP).
The TVTP, originally launched under the Obama administration, was recently expanded and reshaped by the Biden administration to focus on violent extremism and white supremacy.
The program has thus far granted approximately $40 million to 80 U.S.-based recipients, including public, private, and non-profit entities.
Among the grant recipients was the University of Dayton, which received $352,109 for its PREVENTS-OH program.
The program aims to leverage the expertise of the university’s faculty to combat “domestic violence extremism and hate movements.”
However, a footnote in the university’s grant application led to controversy due to its connection to a contentious conference in Dayton.
An academic researcher at the conference presented a “Pyramid of Far-Right Radicalization,” which included the Republican Party, the Heritage Foundation, Fox News, the American Conservative Union, and various other conservative groups, in addition to neo-Nazi organizations.
Brent Bozell, founder and president of the Media Research Center, criticized this connection, stating, “This terrorism task force is engaged in an active effort to demonize and eliminate Christian, conservative, and Republican organizations using federal taxpayer dollars.”
He went on to suggest that these actions are grounds for criminal prosecution, adding, “The American people need to know those who are abusing their positions in the federal government will be held accountable for their criminal behavior.”
The TVTP stipulates that recipients of the grant should refrain from viewpoint discrimination.
Still, the MRC’s findings have sparked a debate over whether the funds are being used to unjustly target the political right.
Critics argue that the initiative seems to equate mainstream conservative groups with recognized hate groups, blurring the line between free speech and incitement to violence.
The MRC’s report on these findings advocates for accountability in the federal government, insisting on legal repercussions for perceived misuse of position and funds.