A character who showed up to make Nazi salutes at a Walnut Creek City Council meeting last week is actually part of a larger network of racist grifters who are starting to rely on crowdfunding to finance their antics.

We brought you the news last week of some joker who delivered an antisemitic tirade about “Jewish tunnel rats” at last Tuesday’s Walnut Creek City Council meeting. This phenomenon is an extension of the pandemic-era switch to government meetings held as Zoom broadcasts, which many trolls took advantage of to “Zoombomb” the meetings during public comment with images of pornography or racist diatribes. Thus, many cities like San Francisco have ended remote public comment by Zoom or telephone to reduce the trolling.

Image: City of Walnut Creek via Youtube

In Tuesday’s Walnut Creek incident, the Hitler bro showed up in person to deliver the racist remarks, and identified himself as “Scottie.” But Walnut Creek City Councilmember Kevin Wilk told KTVU that “Scottie” was a fake name, the guy actually lives in Modesto, and that the FBI is "aware of him." Today’s Chronicle has a follow-up report noting that the fellow is Harley Ray Petero Jr., indeed he is from Modesto, and he’s been crowdfunding so he can travel to city council meetings under some campaign he calls “City Council Death Squad.”

That said, Petero is a small potatoes player in this game, and he’s raised not even $3,000 over the course of four months. His crowdfunding campaign is on some GoFundMe knock-off platform called GiveSendGo, which bills itself as “The Leader in Freedom Fundraising.” And if you can’t guess, the terminology “Freedom Fundraising” makes this the most popular crowdfunding platform for alt-right wackadoodles.

Image: ADL

There are much bigger operators than Petero on the platform GiveSendGo, which the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) says “has facilitated the donation of $5.4 million to extremist-related causes” since 2016, and “has been a significant source of fundraising for January 6 defendants’ legal funds.” More successful operators include the “Goyim TV” founder Jon E. Minadeo II, and Identity Evropa, a white nationalist group that’s managed to hang a few provocative banners on Bay Area roadways.

GiveSendGo insisted to the Chronicle that these are not representative of all their campaigns.

“Obviously with a platform of our size there will be a tiny amount of campaigns that push edgy ideas,” the platform’s founder and CFO Jacob Wells told the Chronicle. “That in no way means we agree with them. We just believe that there is value in exposing those ideas and the funds that they raise to the public for public scrutiny.”

The “City Council Death Squad” guy Petero seems to be trying to bait various city council bodies into not letting him speak, so he can then sue them for violating his First Amendment rights. So for those local government bodies, it may be the wiser course to just let him have his minute of public comment to be an asshole, so he has to survive on whatever few greasy dollars he can crowdfund instead of winning a legal settlement from them.

Related: Guy In ‘White Power’ T-Shirt With Swastika Tries to Hijack Walnut Creek City Council Meeting With Antisemitic Rant [SFNews]

Image: City of Walnut Creek via Youtube