Doug Mastriano stated in a new campaign filing that he accepted a $500 donation from Gab CEO Andrew Torba. Mastriano accepted money from an antisemite who has said that “we don't want people who are Jewish” in his movement and runs a platform that’s a haven for white nationalists and neo-Nazis.
In the campaign filing, Mastriano lists Torba as a campaign donor. The document states that he donated $500 on July 22. The employer listed is “Gab AI Inc.”
Politico’s Holly Otterbein first reported the donation.
Gab caters to far-right extremists, including people who have been banned from other social media platforms. Many of its users are antisemites and neo-Nazis who use the site to express their hatred toward Jewish people. Torba has also reposted praise describing Gab as a place to get “differing opinions” on the Holocaust.
Gab’s extremist history is well-known, especially to people in Pennsylvania. In 2018, a Gab user posted antisemitic and violent remarks on the site before he allegedly killed 11 people in Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue.
On July 8, Media Matters first uncovered that Mastriano said in a campaign filing that he paid $5,000 to Gab for “consulting” services on April 28. Shortly after that April payment, he did a video interview with Torba in which he praised the Gab founder for “giving us a platform for free speech” and said, “Thank God for what you’ve done.”
Weeks of criticism followed.
On July 28, Mastriano finally issued a disingenuous statement in which he claimed that “Andrew Torba doesn’t speak for me or my campaign. I reject anti-Semitism in any form.” He then went on to attack his opponent, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, of actually being the extremist in the race.
Mastriano’s statement was notable for what it didn’t say: He never actually condemned virulent antisemite Andrew Torba or Gab. Torba also issued a statement claiming he doesn’t work for the campaign and isn’t a consultant. (Mastriano’s campaign filing said his payment was for “consulting” to Gab.)