Wall donations refunded or shifted to non-profit effort

Pauline Gross
January 12, 2019

"Our team strongly believes that we can complete our segments of the wall for less than half of the government's estimated costs on a per mile basis", Kolfage said.

The post also names other individuals like Erik Prince, founder of military contracting company Blackwater, former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke and former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach as part of this new campaign.

Kolfage launched "Fund the Wall" on December 17th, and so far, the campaign has raised over $20 million from more than 330,000 American patriots across the country.

When he gave an update, Kolfage did not say missing the goal was the reason for the refund. The group, a 501 (c)(4), is called "We Build the Wall, Inc". I am honoring that commitment today.

Kolfage raised $16,246 for a veteran mentorship program, but BuzzFeed News reports that after collecting the funds, he didn't use the money as promised: none of the partners he claimed to have worked with - including Walter Reed, Brooke Army Medical Center and Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany - have any records that Kolfage worked with their patients or donated money, according to representatives at the centers that BuzzFeed News spoke to. When Americans see us completing real miles of lovely wall, we know that we will raise the many billions we need to finally secure the entire border. HuffPost was unable to verify the charity's status, and the GoFundMe page is still active. He said donors will be given a choice to either receive a refund or have their contributions transferred to the new organization.

In a statement, GoFundMe cited Kolfage's initial statements on the fundraising page as proof that the initial campaign had failed to achieve its goal. Now refunds will be given unless donors specifically take steps to reroute their monetary gift to the corporation.

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Kolfage's announcement comes as federal workers protest the partial government shutdown, which has left 800,000 employees without pay.

It's not clear how this private effort would interact with any federal plans sought by Trump to build a wall with government funds in numerous same areas.

As the online fundraiser gained steam last month, Kolfage came under scrutiny over his involvement with a series of Facebook scams.

He said he would only collect the fund if it hit its goal of $1 billion, which is about one-fifth of what President Donald Trump has asked of Congress to build the wall. As NBC first reported, he was kicked off the social media network for posting misinformation, hoaxes and inflammatory language in order to drive traffic to affiliate websites.

This article has been updated with additional comments from GoFundMe.

Other reports by GizPress

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