Crowdfunding platform GoFundMe will return donations pledged by people who contributed to a viral internet campaign created to privately bankroll the wall President Trump proposed building at the Mexican border, a company spokesman confirmed Friday.
GoFundMe will refund donations made to the campaign, “We The People Will Build the Wall,” in light of the effort falling short of its $1 billion fundraising goal, GoFundMe spokesman Bobby Whithorne said in a statement.
“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,’” Mr. Whithorne said in a statement, multiple outlets reported. “He also stated on the campaign page, ‘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.’”
“That did not happen. This means all donors will receive a refund,” his statement said.
Created by Brian Kolfage, a decorated Iraq War veteran, the GoFundMe campaign garnered more than 330,000 separate donations totaling over $20 million since being launched December 16, 2018 — a fraction of the fundraiser’s goal, and hardly a sliver of the $5 billion Mr. Trump has requested from Congress toward the proposed wall’s construction.
Mr. Kolfage said Friday that he established a non-profit organization, We Build the Wall, Inc., in order to manage donations raised through the GoFundMe campaign.
“The Articles of Incorporation and Mission Statement of We Build The Wall, Inc. make delivering on my promise to get a wall on the southern border built the clear objective and purpose of the organization,” Mr. Kolfage wrote on GoFundMe.
Previous reporting has traced Mr. Kolfage to operating a ring of “fake news” sites.
Contributors who previously pledged have until April 10 to ask that their donations be transferred, he added, otherwise they will automatically receive a full refund.
Mr. Trump campaigned on building a wall at the Mexican border, and his demand that Congress allocate funding toward its construction has created a partial government shutdown that became the longest in U.S. history Saturday.
The president has refused to sign a bill funding the federal government unless it allocates money toward his proposed border wall, leading to a 22-day shutdown that has resulted in hundreds of thousands of government employees being furloughed or working without pay.
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