© GettyProtesters from various anti-fascist groups rally against the Proud Boys on November 16, 2019 in New York City.
Last week, the city of Philadelphia agreed to pay $9.25 million to 343 left-wing protesters who alleged they suffered "physical and emotional injuries" when police used tear gas and pepper spray to clear them off a major highway in downtown at a Black Lives Matter-style direct action in 2020.

Videos recorded at the time showed the mob shut down the highway while vandalizing public property.

As a journalist who reports on the militant far-left and its rioters, the question I'm asked most often is, "Who funds them?"

Some believe billionaire George Soros is responsible.

And they would be partially correct. Soros funds groups that form part of the support apparatus of left-wing militants โ€” district attorneys, biased media and legal groups.

But his money doesn't directly reach the pockets of militants on the street.

Who ends up paying far-left rioters like Antifa? Too often, taxpayers like you and me.

Through a developed network of radical leftist legal groups, like the National Lawyers Guild, lawfare against cities and police departments is the go-to method for payloads. At nearly every left-wing "direct action" or riot, you'll see NLG "legal observers" move in and out with the mob to record police. This "evidence gathering" is propaganda made to portray the police in the worst possible light while specifically omitting any recordings of what their comrades do.
© GettyLeft-wing protesters hold a counter protest against right-wing protesters participating in a political rally on July 25, 2021 in New York City.
Independent press are subjected to assault and robbery by others in the group to maintain tight control over the narrative and any photographic evidence. Kyle Seraphin, a former-FBI agent who was assigned to do surveillance in Portland during the 2020 Antifa riots, says the green-hat "legal observers" were linked via radio with the mob and worked as auxiliary counter-surveillance.

Seraphin told me:
"My team witnessed several instances of NLG hat-wearing 'legal observers' calling out the license plates of suspected surveillance personnel [over] radios โ€” sometimes accurately, sometimes not. These call-outs were met with a response by 5-6 uniformly clad, black-bloc individuals who attempted to intimidate the suspected 'fed.' "
On March 5, an NLG member and staff attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center named Thomas Jurgens was charged with domestic terrorism for his alleged involvement in a violent Antifa attack on police in Atlanta.
tom jurgens national law group antifa lawyer atlanta cop city
© Atlanta Police DepartmentTom Jurgens, attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center, was charged with domestic terrorism over a March 19, 2023 protest in Atlanta, Georgia.
When the NLG's legal observers and their comrades are arrested, they're immediately provided with pro-bono legal aid and connections for bail money (rioters often write the NLG's phone number on their body in anticipation of arrests.)

And then the lawsuits come.

An anti-fascist protester swings a baton as members of the far-right Proud Boys advance during clashes between the two groups on Aug. 22, 2021, in Portland.AP

Last year, New York City agreed to pay tens of thousands to NLG members arrested in the Bronx in June 2020.

In Detroit, NLG members are suing the city for alleged wrongful conduct stemming from its police response in 2020.

Nearly every American city afflicted by mass protesting and rioting in 2020 ended up settling and paying out millions in taxpayer money to radical protesters who were allegedly subjected to force by law enforcement.

Denver settled to pay $1.6 million to just seven people.

Austin settled to pay $17.3 million.

The cities, led by Democrats, don't even bother to fight the cases, preferring to write a check.

The settlement cash doesn't just end up rewarding the protesters, awarded inflated attorney fees are used to reinvest in the legal groups to grow the operation for the next cause. Additionally, law enforcement morale declines as they are punished for doing their jobs.

But lawsuit settlements aren't the only way that militant protesters and riot suspects get paid. Bail funds have emerged as a lucrative cash source with progressive district attorneys refusing to prosecute most left-wing riot-related cases.

In Portland, for example, the 2020 riot suspects that needed bail money due to the seriousness of their felony charges later received the cash back when district attorney Mike Schmidt declined to prosecute. I witnessed this creating an incentive for rioters to get arrested, as outside groups covered the bail and the suspect would keep the returned cash when the case was dropped.
© Getty ImagesLeft-wing protesters, some affiliated with Antifa, hold a counter protest on July 25, 2021 in New York City.
The NLG is just one among dozens of well-financed legal groups across the U.S. operating to help the far left.

In Philadelphia, the Legal Defense Fund, which was one of the groups representing the plaintiffs in last week's multi-million dollar settlement, previously received a $1 million pledge from Soros' Open Society Foundations.

The second most-asked question I'm asked is if mass far-left riots will erupt again. I can't predict when but the answer is yes.

The systems that provide legal, social and financial incentives to far-left extremists, no matter how violent they are, have become better funded following 2020.
Andy Ngo is senior editor at The Post Millennial and author of the NYT bestseller, Unmasked: Inside Antifa's Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy.