The grand jury subpoena was issued by the U.S. attorney's office for the District of Columbia in September and demanded communications and other documents regarding the fundraising of several groups, including Defending the Republic, The Washington Post reports.
Defending the Republic, which claims 501(c) 4 nonprofit status, was one of the sites founded by Powell to collect donations after she alleged that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump.
Powell, who helped spearhead former President Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential race, started asking for donations from Trump supporters just one week after the election was held, according to the Post.
At the time, the site alleged that "over $500,000 must be raised in the next twenty-four hours for these suits to be filed. Millions more will need to be raised to ensure victory."
The subpoena was reportedly signed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Molly Gaston, who is also a part of the investigation into the Jan. 6 surge at the U.S. Capitol. She was involved with the contempt of Congress charges leveled against former Trump Adviser Steve Bannon, who refused to appear for a deposition in front of the House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Bannon also failed to hand over requested documents in the face of the committee’s subpoena, as per the DOJ.
According to the Post, on Dec. 1, 2020, Defending the Republic was officially incorporated as a Texas-based business. Powell was reportedly registered as the group’s agent and director. A May filing argues that Powell “treated the entity’s funds as her personal funds, redirecting them to the law firm she controls and dominates and raiding them to pay for her personal legal defense,” according to the Post.
Brandon Johnson, a representative for the organization, testified at a deposition in August that he was not aware of financial contributions made before Dec. 1, saying, “I don’t know where they went, but they did not go to Defending the Republic,” according to the Post.
Powell last year said during an appearance on “The Rush Limbaugh Show” that the group was “working to help defend all these cases and to defend me now that I’m under a massive attack from the attorney general of Michigan and the city of Detroit and everything else,” the Post noted.
A spokesperson for the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Columbia told The Hill that the office does not confirm the existence of investigations and declined to comment.
Howard Kleinhendler, an attorney who represents Defending the Republic, disregarded the claims about the group in a statement to the Post.
"We have always known the more effective we are, the more the false attacks will intensify. Defending the Republic has and will continue to fight for #WeThePeople who make this country work," Kleinhendler said.