May 11, 2022

Dustin Stockton, poker player turned MAGA activist, cooperates with the January 6 committee

A man who describes himself as a competitive poker player played a significant role in organizing the rally that led to deadly violence in Washington, DC last January.

Dustin Stockton and Jennifer Lawrence have been dubbed the Bonnie and Clyde of MAGA World, and are now telling Congress about the organizing efforts around the January 6 rally in Washington DC that turned into an insurrection. (Picture: Politics)

Dustin Stockton, 38, of Reno, Nevada, appeared before Congress for deposition on Tuesday, providing seven hours of testimony to the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the United States Capitol. He and his fiancee, Jennifer Lynn Lawrence, who is due to be impeached on Wednesday, are reportedly cooperative and willing to reveal what they know about how a rally turned into a riot.

Stockton’s attorney Josh Ness said his client brought with him a “treasure” of documents and suggested that members of the Trump administration and Congress “have good reason to be shaking in their boots today.”

Once darlings and power brokers of the Tea Party movement and Trump’s first campaign, Stockton and Lawrence were dubbed by Politico Magazine in a November article as The Bonnie and Clyde of MAGA World. Now, their cooperation could reveal key information about how the January 6 insurgency was organized and who may be responsible for the mob action that left five people dead and 138 Capitol police officers injured.

From budding poker pro to Mr. Tea Party

As a poker player, Stockton was not particularly accomplished. He has recorded four in-the-money finishes as a live tournament player, including a victory in a $150 tournament at Caesars Palace in 2015, and most recently, a 238th place finish in a $1,500 event at the 2019 WSOP. But he had a poker mentality that shaped his worldview.

Stockton opened up about playing poker in his 2013 self-published autobiography, “Community Organizer: A Tea Party Story.”

“I had no college degree or serious career prospects outside of the tough and unpredictable world of competitive poker,” he wrote.

For a time in 2008, he tried to make ends meet as a forklift driver and online poker professional, but reportedly changed his career outlook after the birth of his first child.

Frustration with the leadership of then-Nevada Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and seeing the value of his newly purchased Reno home sink underwater prompted Stockton to found the Representation PAC of the West. He quickly discovered his skills as an online organizer and fundraiser.

Over the next five years, Stockton went after Reid and went from warehouse worker and part-time poker player to rubbing shoulders with political heavyweights like Steve Bannon, whom he first met. at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in 2012.

“What I’ve always loved about poker is that for most of life, cruelty is frowned upon,” Stockton told the Washington Free Beacon in 2013. “At a poker table, it’s the opposite. The guy with the most strategy and ruthlessness gets rewarded with all the money. That’s a pretty good gig. Politics is similar in that the more you organize your game, the more you get rewarded.

The conservative publication’s glowing profile gave him the name “Mr. Tea Party,” and, in it, Stockton said the crossover between the poker table and politics “is truly disgusting.”

He also talked about the games he knew in and around the Beltway. “There are a handful of consultants who are good, but most of the poker games I’ve played in DC the pros would pay to have access to,” Stockton said. “These guys have a lot of money, and they’re as bad at poker as they are at politics. It’s a beautiful thing.

Community Organizer Stockton Book

Dustin Stockton has written a book about his adventures in the conservative ranks. (Picture: Amazon)

MAGA Rising Stars

Stockton, alongside Lawrence, worked for Bannon at Breitbart. According to a Rolling Stone profile of the two, they “reported directly to Bannon and honed their skills doing mischief and headlines on ‘special projects’ for his site.”

Usually dressed more like people found at the Palace Station Casino on a random Tuesday night rather than their ivy league, co-workers wearing Brooks Brothers, and smelling of cigarettes or weed (to cure his hiccups, of course), Stockton and Lawrence never cracked up inside the political establishment.

Yet they persisted, putting their skills behind We Build the Wall, a nonprofit that used GoFundMe to raise more than $20 million that was to be turned over to the Treasury to build a wall along the southern border with Mexico. The money raised for this effort, however, never found its way into federal coffers, leading to federal fraud charges against Bannon.

As part of the investigation, U.S. Postal officers raided the couple’s motorhome outside a hotel-casino in Mesquite, Nevada, and seized their computers and cell phones. Trump eventually pardoned Bannon before facing trial. Stockton said it was a “general pardon” for anyone involved in the failed We Build the Wall campaign. When those never materialized for anyone other than Bannon, Stockton said that’s when cracks in their staunch support appeared.

“We just get tired of people taking advantage of other people and then we have to deal with the consequences,” Stockton told Politico. “There are a lot of scammers in our space, a lot of people who aren’t acting in good faith, and we know a lot about that, and we’re willing to share.”

Dustin Stockton Poker Tattoo

In the week following Jan. 6, Stockton shared photos (from an “undisclosed location”) of his suicidal new tattoo. (Image: Facebook/dustin.stockton)

The cards speak

Stockton told Politico he now believes Joe Biden was fairly elected president of the United States. But last November he was sure the election had been stolen, which led him and Lawrence, who works with pro-Trump PAC Women for America First, to get involved in a multi-bus tour -States spreading election conspiracy theories to angry and impressionable crowds.

The people who spoke at those rallies, Stockton and Lawrence included, repeatedly encouraged people to come down to DC on January 6, for the March for Trump rally. They both deny leading the Capitol siege when that fateful day arrived, saying they were frustrated by what appeared to be fighting words from Trump and others, and left the rally before the violence erupted. bursts.

Since then, it’s not so much that the mega-MAGA couple have changed their political philosophy, but rather that they’ve opened their eyes to the corruption surrounding their cause. They say they see it as their civic duty to help expose the truth – especially for those who attended the January 6 rally in good faith.

Stockton told the Nevada Independent while traveling to Washington, DC: “It is important to us that the hundreds of thousands of people who have not participated in any violence have their voices heard in official proceedings. We have as much interest and desire as anyone to get to the bottom of the tragedy on Capitol Hill almost a year ago, because it tarnished the peaceful protests we worked so hard for.

In an interview with Anderson Cooper following his testimony on Tuesday, Stockton explained how someone so committed to the MAGA cause could have their eyes opened to another Donald Trump. “In many ways, we bought into what basically turned out to be a bluff.”

Written by

Bob Pajich

Bob Pajich is a poker journalist, creative writer, and poker player who has never encountered any suited connectors he doesn’t like.

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