When Trump-loving youth group Turning Point USA hosted a four-day extravaganza last month featuring right-wing media’s leading lights, it did so with cash from two groups the feds say bilked millions from elderly Republicans and anti-communist émigrés from China.
Turning Point USA’s America Fest, held at the Phoenix Convention Center from Dec. 16 to Dec. 19, was a who’s who of conservative TV and internet personalities, interspersed with a smattering of failed candidates and elected officials: Donald Trump Jr., Tucker Carlson, Kari Lake, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Steve Bannon, Glenn Beck, Mike Lindell, ex-Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Vivek Ramaswamy, Dr. Ben Carson, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Trump lawyer Alina Habba all graced the stage. But a big chunk of the cash that produced the pre-holiday pow-wow came from two outfits that allegedly swindled the very voters and activists these figures purported to champion.
The event’s sole “Diamond Sponsor”—reflecting the highest level of support—was Fisher Capital, a precious metals dealer that regulators charged in April 2023 with tricking conservative senior citizens into liquidating their retirement accounts and using the cash to buy gold and silver coins at “grossly inflated prices,” with the enterprise falsely warning its victims that the Federal Reserve or Obama-era regulations would soon sever access to their savings. In the rank directly below Fisher Capital was the New Federal State of China, an organization co-founded by Bannon and indicted Chinese financier Guo Wengui.
Just weeks after America Fest wrapped, federal prosecutors identified this group, ostensibly a shadow government seeking to replace the current regime in Beijing, as part of Guo’s alleged criminal conspiracy to deceive his supporters in the Chinese dissident community into investing in a spurious cryptocurrency venture—one which the Justice Department claims in fact funded Guo’s lavish lifestyle.
Feds assert that Fisher Capital’s scam reaped $30 million, while a larger criminal operation in which the New Federal State of China allegedly took part pilfered upwards of $1 billion. Both Fisher Capital and Guo have disputed the charges.
In a statement to The Daily Beast, Turning Point sought to distance itself from its backers, noting that the most recent America Fest event had 150 sponsors. However, its representative did not dispute that no other supporter supplied as much cash as Fisher Capital, and only half a dozen others paid in at the level of the New Federal State of China.
“Turning Point USA does not run these companies, nor do we manage their businesses. These are companies that purchased space inside our events,” spokesman Andrew Kolvet told The Daily Beast, noting that the charges against both sponsors as yet remain only allegations. “We reserve the right to reassess existing relationships and any new information that comes to light will factor into whether or not they’ll be invited to participate in future opportunities.”
Turning Point USA declined to provide the dollar amount each group gave, but a 2021 sponsorship package guide on the organization’s website shows that a Diamond Sponsor must donate at least $250,000, while the next category of support starts with a minimum $100,000 gift. This level of backing not only won Fisher Capital and the New Federal State of China prominence in promotional materials—with the 2021 guide promising Diamond Supporters “ubiquitous event presence”—but granted both organizations multiple blocks of time in which their representatives directly addressed the crowd.
Kolvet asserted that his organization had a vetting process in place, but spoke of it only in broad terms, and did not supply details of the specific diligence Turning Point USA conducted on Fisher Capital and the New Federal State of China.
A simple Google search for “Fisher Capital” turns up multiple items from last spring on the Commodities Futures Trading Commission’s charges against the company, including one the regulatory agency posted on its website..
Between the time that the CFTC hit Fisher Capital with fraud charges in April and the America Fest in December, Fisher Capital also paid for a Diamond Sponsorship at a Turning Point event in July where Fisher Capital president Alexander Spellane was photographed with former President Donald Trump.
That’s on top of the Diamond Sponsorship Fisher Capital purchased for 2022’s America Fest, which the company commemorated on its LinkedIn with a hard rock-scored video showing Spellane and other personnel hanging out with the likes of Carlson and Bannon.
The materials the CFTC filed in court nine months ago describe how Spellane allegedly directed his team to target “politically conservative and Christian customers who were 59 years of age and older” and to falsely assert that the firm was “the largest wealth protection firm in North America”—even as he boasted to staff that the company was a “pump and dump,” and that they must suck out as much profit as possible from the seniors’ savings before regulators shut the company.
Central to this strategy, the CFTC argues, was convincing customers that Fisher Capital had “relationships with conservative television and radio programs and media personalities,” even where those relationships did not exist.
Similarly, although the feds did not indict New Federal State of China founder Guo until last March, and did not include the group in the criminal conspiracy until earlier this month, the fugitive Chinese businessman had to cough up $500 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission over the crypto scheme in late 2021. The investments of refugees from Beijing’s persecution allegedly purchased Guo a massive yacht and mansion, multiple European luxury vehicles, and even a $53,000 log cradle holder for a fireplace.
The New Federal State of China also participated in America Fest 2022.