This question is probably one of the most searched queries in relation to Roger Stone. Over the years, Stone has earned a reputation as a “master of the political dark arts,” according to Fox Business. The American political consultant, author and longtime Trump ally. So what is Stone’s net worth?
While his earnings from his short work with President Trump’s 2016 campaign weren’t public, in 2018, his net worth was reported to be $5 million, reflecting money earned from not only his political career but also his work as an author.
To date, he has written seven books, with 2013’s The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ ranking as a New York Times bestseller. However, in recent years, Stone’s fortunes have reportedly taken a hit after he was accused of facilitating Russian interference in the 2016 election.
In 2019, Stone was indicted on charges of obstructing a congressional probe into whether he coordinated between the Trump campaign and Russia, lying to lawmakers and witness tampering. Although he denied the allegations, Stone was convicted in November.
According to Fox Business, he attempted to raise $2 million to bankroll his defence, starting a legal defence account via crowdfunding that successfully raised $100,000. Stone also has a website called Stone Cold Truth, which sells everything from Roger Stone t-shirts and posters to “special edition” signed rocks, all in an effort to cover legal fees.
In 2019, Stone and his wife Nydia Stone reportedly gave up their Fort Lauderdale luxury home in order to save money Stone needed for legal costs, which were constantly mounting.
Stone is now worth an estimated $50,000.
Who is Roger Stone in the first place, and what impact has he had on politics in the US over the years? Stone was raised in Lewisboro, New York, in a white working-class family. After high school, Stone moved to Washington DC to attend George Washington University, which he never graduated from. Although some of you may have heard his name after he was found guilty of obstructing the Russia investigation, Stone is first and foremost a conservative political consultant who has been around Republican politics for half a century.
Stone made his debut in national politics at 19, when he sent campaign contributions in the name of a socialist organisation to Richard Nixon’s rival in the 1972 Republican presidential primary. He then sent a letter to The New Hampshire Union-Leader with the donation receipt, in an attempt to undermine Nixon’s competitor.
Since the 1980s, the self-described “dirty trickster” has been on a mission to make Donald Trump president. It took Stone nearly 20 years to realise his dream, but he did it. After working on Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, and despite parting ways with it in August 2015, Stone has since then remained a loyal Trump supporter. While Trump says he fired Stone for hogging the media spotlight; Stone says he quit because Trump attacked Megyn Kelly—no one knows what happened exactly.
And apparently, being this loyal paid off for Stone. As mentioned above, the former strategist was convicted of seven felony counts in November 2019. Stone was convicted of five counts of making false statements to the FBI and congressional investigators, one count of witness tampering, and one count of obstruction of justice.
It was strongly believed that Stone was communicating with a Russian hacker as well as with WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange, which was shed light on as the FBI looked for connections between Trump’s campaign and Russian meddling in the 2016 election. For that, a federal judge sentenced Stone to 40 months in prison for his crimes, as well as a $20,000 fine, four years of probation after his prison term, and 250 hours of community service.
But on Friday 10 July 2020, President Trump signed an Executive Grant of Clemency commuting the “unjust” sentence of Stone. A White House statement said “Roger Stone is a victim of the Russia Hoax that the Left and its allies in the media perpetuated for years in an attempt to undermine the Trump Presidency. There was never any collusion between the Trump Campaign, or the Trump Administration, with Russia.”
Shortly after that statement was shared, Trump reiterated it by tweeting, “Roger Stone was targeted by an illegal Witch Hunt that never should have taken place.”
Just four days before Stone was supposed to begin his prison sentence, Trump officially commuted it. Stone has repeatedly said he has nothing to do with Russia, but messages he has sent to the hacker accused of a cyberattack on the DNC continued to raise questions.
“It’s rare that I’m accused of something that I’m not guilty of,” Stone once told the New Yorker in 2008.
Of course, nothing can be said for sure but the evidence is pretty compelling. On 21 August 2016, Stone posted a series of tweets regarding Hillary Clinton’s campaign: “Trust me, it will soon be Podesta’s time in the barrel. #CrookedHillary.”
On 1 October 2016, Stone tweeted: “Wednesday @HillaryClinton is done.”
On 3 October he tweeted: “I have total confidence that @wikileaks and my hero Julian Assange will educate the American people soon #LockHerUp.”
Four days later, WikiLeaks published its first set of emails stolen from Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta. Since, Stone said he had “back-channel communication with Assange,” but has denied having any direct contact with WikiLeaks, saying that he had been getting his information from a mutual friend he shares with Assange.
According to The Atlantic, Stone was in direct communication with WikiLeaks via Twitter in the days leading up to the election. On 9 November 2016, the morning after Trump won the presidential election, Wikileaks wrote to Stone, “Happy? We are now more free to communicate.”
In October 2018, NBC News reported that Jerome Corsi, a right-wing conspiracy theorist and close friend of Stone knew in advance that Clinton’s campaign emails had been stolen and given to WikiLeaks. Furthermore, The New York Times reported that Stone discussed the WikiLeaks document dumps with both Steve Bannon, then the chairman of the Trump campaign, and Matthew Boyle, who at the time was the Washington editor of the far-right website Breitbart, which was previously spearheaded by Bannon.
Stone is said to have been the first influential person to truly believe in Trump’s political potential. According to Business Insider, in 1988, Stone tried to persuade Trump to run for president, which he decided against it. However, when Trump launched 12 years later a presidential exploratory committee, Stone chaired it.
Since then, both kept a close professional and political relationship. Stone has been characterised as Trump’s “longest-serving adviser.” Like Trump, Stone has always had a penchant for controversy, making unsubstantiated claims and promoting conspiracy theories. He told The New Yorker in 2008 that “The only thing worse in politics than being wrong is being boring.”
Stone encouraged Trump’s infamous birther conspiracy, which claimed that President Obama wasn’t born in the US and said that Bill Clinton was a serial rapist and fathered a son.
In the 2017 Netflix documentary titled Get Me Roger Stone, Trump said of Stone: “He loves the game, he has fun with it, and he’s very good at it.”
After working for Nixon’s campaign in the 1970s, Stone maintained a close relationship with the president and regularly dined with him in the years following the president’s resignation. Stone has remained an unapologetic Nixon supporter to this day—he even has a tattoo of Nixon’s face across his back and a large photograph of the former president over his bed.
In 1976, Stone joined Ronald Reagan’s first (unsuccessful) run for the Republican presidential nomination as national youth director. Four years later, Stone took on the role of political director of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, helping pave Reagan’s path to the White House.
But instead of taking a position in the Reagan administration, Stone went on to start the political consulting and lobbying firm called Black, Manafort, Stone & Atwater, along with Paul Manafort, who, decades later, would become Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign chairman. The firm’s clients included Trump and Rupert Murdoch, among others.
In 1988, Stone was drawn back into campaigning when George H.W. Bush ran for president. He served as one of Bush’s senior consultants and also continued jumping between the campaign trails. Stone was kicked off Kansas Republican Bob Dole’s presidential campaign after he and his wife were caught soliciting “similar couples or exceptional muscular” men for group sex. Stone first denied the accusations at the time but later admitted that they were true.
We’ve all been spending a lot of time online—more than in our lifetime for most of us during these last few months thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. This means that you’ve probably heard of QAnon, the viral, controversial conspiracy theory that reached the American mainstream and took over Trump supporters in August. But while we’ve heard about it, QAnon remains a constant question mark for many of us. Here’s everything you need to know about QAnon.
It all started in November 2017 on 4chan, one of the most extreme message boards on the internet along with Reddit and Voat, when a YouTube video creator named Tracy Diaz and two 4chan moderators, one named Paul Furber and the other still unnamed, got together to shed light on one specific anonymous user and his posts which were originally lost in the sea of conspiracy theories that populated the website. These were the 4chan posts of ‘Q Clearance Patriot’, the pseudonym of a person claiming to be a high-ranking military officer and who later became known as ‘Q’.
Shortly after that, the trio started creating videos, a Reddit community, a business and an entire mythology was started based off of Q’s 4chan posts. The theory they adopted would become QAnon, also spelled Qanon, and it would eventually make its way from those relatively secret message boards to national media stories and Trump supporters.
QAnon followers believe that a group of Satan-worshipping Democrats, Hollywood celebrities and billionaires run the world while engaging in paedophilia, human trafficking and the harvesting of a supposedly life-extending chemical from the blood of abused children. They also believe that Donald Trump was recruited by top military generals to run for president and fight a secret battle against this society and its “deep state” collaborators to expose the culprits, then send them all to Guantánamo Bay detention camp and military prison.
According to QAnon followers, this satanic clique includes top Democrats such as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and George Soros, as well as a number of entertainers and Hollywood celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks, Ellen DeGeneres and religious figures including Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama.
In 2017, Q confidently asserted that Hillary Clinton’s “extradition” was “already in motion” and her arrest imminent. Q also predicted that this war against that cabal would soon culminate in ‘The Storm’, an appointed time when Trump would finally unmask the secret society, punish its members for their crimes and restore America to greatness.
In other words, QAnon is a wide-ranging and baseless internet conspiracy theory that has been festering on the fringes of rightwing internet communities for years. Its visibility only exploded in recent months amid the Black Lives Matter protests and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wait! There’s more. QAnon has also incorporated elements of many other conspiracy theory communities, including claims about the assassination of John F. Kennedy and whether he is still alive, the existence of UFOs, and the 9/11 Truth movement, which is a group that disputes the general consensus of the 11 September attacks and suggests a cover-up, and the Rothschild family controlling all the banks.
Even the podcast QAnon Anonymous, which is based on the QAnon movement calls QAnon a “big tent conspiracy theory” because it is constantly evolving and adding new claims to its beliefs. But, just to keep things clear, the existence of a global, satanic, paedophile cabal is the main theory of QAnon and the one that most of its followers believe.
If you feel like you’ve already heard these strange conspiracy theories somewhere, it is because QAnon is actually basing all its beliefs on previously established conspiracy theories, some new and some a millennium old. Do you remember Pizzagate? The conspiracy theory that went viral during the 2016 US presidential campaign, when rightwing news outlets and influencers promoted the idea that references to food and a pizza restaurant located in Washington DC in the stolen emails of Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta were actually a secret code for a child trafficking ring.
The theory led to harassment of the restaurant and its employees and culminated in a December 2016 shooting by a man who had travelled to the restaurant believing there were children there in need of rescue. Well, unsurprisingly, QAnon based many of its own conspiracy theories on the same structure Pizzagate showed—characters and plotlines remain quite similar and the provable specifics are yet to be seen.
Only QAnon has taken it even further. The movement has its roots in much older antisemitic conspiracy theories. After all, the idea of the all-powerful, world-ruling group comes straight out of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a fake document claiming to expose a Jewish plot to control the world that was used throughout the 20th century to justify antisemitism.
Furthermore, the idea that members of the secret group extract the chemical adrenochrome from the blood of their child victims and ingest it to extend their lives is a modern version of the old antisemitic blood libel, which accused Jews of murdering Christian children in order to use their blood as part of religious rituals.
In 2017, after Q emerged from the message board 4chan with a post in which he confidently asserted that Hillary Clinton’s “extradition” was “already in motion” and her arrest imminent, he then established his legend as a government insider with top security clearance who knew the truth about the secret struggle for power between Trump and the “deep state.”
In all his posts (there have been more than 4,000 so far), Q used a ‘trip code’ which allowed followers to distinguish his posts from those of other anonymous users known as ‘anons’. Q switched from posting on 4chan to posting on 8chan in November 2017, went silent for several months after 8chan shut down in August 2019, and re-emerged on a new website established by 8chan’s owner, 8kun.
Q’s posts are very cryptic. They often consist of a long string of questions designed to ‘guide’ readers toward discovering the “truth” for themselves through “research.” Many of Q’s predictions have failed to become true, yet believers tend to simply adapt their narratives to account for inconsistencies.
According to The Guardian, close followers of QAnon have a very organised way of justifying Q’s false predictions. The posts (also called ‘drops’) contain ‘crumbs’ of intelligence that they ‘bake’ into ‘proofs’. For ‘bakers’, QAnon is both a hobby and a deadly serious calling. It’s like an internet scavenger hunt with incredibly high stakes.
As a 2018 investigation by NBC News uncovered, the fact that the trio of 4chan users worked together to promote and profit off QAnon might actually be why it is what it is today, which is a multi-platform internet phenomenon. Without this help, Q would have probably been just another anonymous internet poster who claimed to have access to secret information. There now is an entire QAnon media ecosystem, with video content, memes, e-books, chatrooms, and more, all designed to attract potential recruits.
Because there isn’t an official membership directory, it remains unclear exactly how many people consider themselves QAnon followers, however, the number must be quite impressive. If you only count the ‘hard-core’ QAnon believers, the number may be at least in the hundreds of thousands.
Some of the most popular QAnon groups on Facebook have more than 100,000 members and Twitter recently announced it was taking actions to limit the reach of more than 150,000 QAnon-associated accounts. A recent report by NBC News found that Facebook had conducted an internal study of QAnon’s presence on its platform, and it concluded that there were thousands of QAnon groups, with millions of members between them.
However, conspiracy theory experts point out that belief in QAnon is far from common. While at one point, 80 per cent of Americans believed a conspiracy theory about the Kennedy assassination, a poll by Pew Research in March 2020, found that 76 per cent of Americans had never heard of QAnon and just 3 per cent knew “a lot” about it.
QAnon appears to be most popular among older Republicans and evangelical Christians but it has also spread to Latin America and Europe, where it appears to be catching on among certain far-right movements. The number of QAnon followers has also probably grown during the pandemic, as people stuck indoors spent more time online. A recent article in The Wall Street Journal found that membership in 10 large Facebook groups devoted to QAnon had grown by more than 600 per cent since the start of lockdowns.
QAnon owes much of its popularity to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, which have amplified the movement’s messages and spread its reach through their algorithms. QAnon followers have also used social media to harass, intimidate and threaten their ‘enemies’ and to promote other types of misinformation. Several of the most popular conspiracy theories on the internet this year such as Plandemic, a documentary containing false claims about COVID-19, as well as the viral conspiracy theory that claimed that the online furniture company Wayfair was trafficking children have been amplified by QAnon believers.
Some social media platforms have started trying to remove QAnon content such as Twitter, which recently banned thousands of QAnon accounts, saying it had engaged in coordinated harassment. Facebook has also taken down nearly 800 QAnon groups and restricted thousands of QAnon-related groups, pages, and Instagram accounts.
As you might have realised by now, Trump is QAnon’s main heroic character—the one who will save the US and the world. That’s why QAnon believers analyse Trump’s words and actions closely, looking for hidden meanings. When Trump says the number 17, they take it as a sign that he is sending secret messages to them only because ‘Q’ is the 17th letter of the alphabet. When he wears a pink tie, they interpret it as a sign that he is freeing trafficked children as some hospitals use ‘code pink’ as a shorthand for a child abduction in progress.
Although it remains unclear whether Trump knows the details of the QAnon theory, he has embraced the movement’s supporters by saying in a White House press briefing that “I’ve heard these are people that love our country.” He also declined to denounce the movement when asked about his support for Marjorie Taylor Greene, a QAnon-affiliated congressional candidate. Last but not least, he has shared posts from QAnon followers many times on his Twitter.
As QAnon picked up steam, growing scepticism over the motives of Diaz, Rogers, and the other early Qanon supporters led some to turn their paranoia on the group. Recently, some followers have accused Diaz and Rogers of profiting from the movement by soliciting donations from their followers.
Other pro-Trump online groups have questioned the roles that Diaz and Rogers have played in promoting Q, pointing to a series of slip-ups that they say show Rogers and Diaz may have been involved in the theory from the start.
Then again, it seems like QAnon believers don’t really care about who Q is or how he knows all these things. “The funniest thing about those who try to discredit Q. They focus on whether Q is real or not, instead of the information being provided,” tweeted one follower. “NO ONE cares who Q is. WE care about the TRUTH.”