Prosecutors estimated the cost of damages to the U.S. Capitol building from the Jan. 6 riot to be $1.5 million in court documents reviewed by the Washington Post in a report published Wednesday.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Post reported, is seeking to recoup a major portion of the damages with restitution payments from Capitol defendants, who were prosecuted primarily for crimes of trespassing or disorderly conduct, or in some case violent conduct. Plea deals outline the arrangements for restitution.
“You client acknowledges that the riot that occurred on January 6, 2021, caused as of May 17, 2021, approximately $1,495,326.55 damage to the United States Capitol,” read one plea agreement reviewed by the Post.
The defendant, 38-year-old Paul Hodgkins from Florida, agreed to pay $2,000 in damages to the Treasury Department.
Several defense attorneys told the Post that prosecutors are seeking $2,000 in restitution in each felony case and $500 in misdemeanors. How prosecutors calculated the nearly $1.5 million estimate remains unclear.
“Prosecutors gave no details, but the estimate appears to reflect the immediate costs of replacing broken windows, doors and other property,” the Post reported. “A spokeswoman for the Architect of the Capitol said the agency gave damage assessments to the Justice Department, which calculated the per case penalty.”
Capitol Architect J. Brett Blanton told congressional lawmakers in February that the total destruction would likely cost $30 million, including damage to the building in conjunction with coverage of adequate mental health services and enhanced security.
The House of Representatives exceeded Blanton’s request last month with a $1.9 billion security funding bill, which is now pending in the Senate and provides $40 million for the capitol architect to cover costs associated with the January riot. The Capitol itself cost less than $200 million itself to build when adjusted for inflation.
While prosecutors estimate the direct damage to the Capitol at $1.5 million, the figure, which is likely inflated by a Beltway inclination to exploit the Capitol crisis combined with double-standards of justice, is dwarfed by the $1-2 billion estimated damage from just the two weeks of violence to sweep the nation in the immediate aftermath of George Floyd’s murder last year.
According to an estimate from Property Claims Services (PCS) which has tracked insurance claims from civil unrest since 1950, just two weeks of rioting that kicked off the ensuing summer of rage cost up to $2 billion, in the most destructive outbreak of political anarchy in recent American history. The figure does not include the more than 100 days of consecutive chaos in Portland or the explosive unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin.