Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Redwood, CA, United States (4E) – An effort by a Trump supporter to raise money for Trump’s border wall with Mexico through the GoFundMe crowdsourcing website has failed and has ended instead in a cloud of suspicion.
GoFundMe said it will now refund to individual donors the entire $20 million raised by pro-Trump Iraqi War veteran Brian Kolfage since Dec. 16 to build Trump’s border wall. When he launched the online money-raising drive, Kolfage told GoFundMe all the donations would go straight to the U.S. government.
Recently, however, Kolfage said the donations will now be sent to a non-profit he created to build the wall. The advisory board of this non-profit named “We Build the Wall, Inc” includes right-wing conservatives and pro-Trump persons like Erik Prince and former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who led voter suppression efforts in his state.
Prince, a heavyweight supporter of the GOP, founded scandal-rocked security firm Blackwater USA. He is also the brother of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
GoFundMe said the change in where the donations will go to violated its rules. Kolfage’s crowdfunding goal was to raise $1 billion.
“When the campaign was created, the campaign organizer specifically stated on the campaign page, ‘If we don’t reach our goal or come significantly close we will refund every single penny,'” said GoFundMe spokesman Bobby Whithorne.
Kolfage’s campaign page also stated that “100% of your donations will go to the Trump Wall. If for ANY reason we don’t reach our goal we will refund your donation.”
“However, that did not happen,” said Whithorne. “This means all donors will receive a refund,”
Whithorne said that if a donor does not want a refund, and they want their donation to go to the new organization, they must proactively elect to redirect their donation to that organization. If they do not take that step, they will automatically receive a full refund.”
As of early Jan. 14, Kolfage’s campaign had raised $20,479,712. More than 343,000 people had donated to the GoFundMe page within 28 days.
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