Kroger blocks customer donations to far-right militia group

FILE PHOTO: The Kroger supermarket chain's headquarters is shown in Cincinnati
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(Reuters) - U.S. supermarket chain Kroger Co said on Wednesday it had blocked Indiana Oath Keepers, a far-right militia group, from receiving donations collected from customers after drawing flak from a number of social media users.

Investigators of the U.S. Capitol breach on Jan. 6 accused members of Oath Keepers of organizing the riot that left five people dead. Criminal complaints have revealed that many of the suspects have ties to the group and the Proud Boys, another right-wing group.

"Given the concerning nature of the allegations against this organization, we have immediately removed the group from receiving customer-directed funds," Kroger said in a statement.

It said Oath Keepers was an IRS-approved non-profit organization and was receiving donations through its customer-directed program in which thousands of groups participate.

"We were dismayed to learn yesterday (Tuesday) that this group was part of the Community Rewards program," Kroger said.

The company said it had not directed any corporate grants or charitable dollars to the organization that received "nominal amount" of the customer-directed funds.

Kroger is currently reviewing the list of organizations enrolled in the program to determine if there are additional groups that should be removed, it said.

(Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)