Published: Sat, January 12, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

GoFundMe to refund $20M in donations to build wall

GoFundMe to refund $20M in donations to build wall

The GoFundMe campaign that aimed to raise $1 billion for the border wall is shutting down, and the $20 million raised will be refunded to donors.

The campaign, which was started in December by Iraq veteran and right-wing activist Brian Kolfage, was meant to be an end-run around the congressional stalemate over the wall and let Trump supporters pay for it directly, and as of Friday has raised almost $20.2 million (about 2 percent of the $1 billion goal, and 0.08 percent of the amount experts say it would actually require to build the wall).

Those who don't proactively elect to redirect their donation to the new organization will automatically receive a refund in 90 days.

"However, that did not happen". He said donors will be given a choice to either receive a refund or have their contributions transferred to the new organization.

In his update, Kolfage said that upon seeing the fundraiser's "success", he reached out to several experts in "politics, national security, construction, and finance" and created a team that "has spent countless hours over the holidays reviewing all issues pertaining to the construction of a southern border wall".

About $20,213,740 was raised on the site by 338,082 people in 25 days but today Brian Kolfage wrote that instead of donating to the federal government, it will go to a non-profit 501 (c)(4) Florida corporation named "We Build The Wall, Inc".

Kolfage set up a campaign called Fight4FreeSpeech in response to the Facebook ban, which also accepts donations.

In a statement on January 11, Kolfage explained the choice to create a 501 (c)(4). However, Kolfage announced he's still determined to build the wall on his own.

A partial government shutdown over the border wall between President Trump and Congressional Democrats is now tied for the longest in U.S. history.

"Better equipped than our own federal government, we have made significant progress in less than a month, having begun extensive due diligence and commenced feasibility studies", Kolfage said.

But donations slowed and Kolfage said the group had concluded that the government won't be able to make use of them in the foreseeable future. "We are already taking action on identifying the most densely crossed areas of the border, soliciting affected landowners along the Southern border, and ascertaining the willingness of border landowners to provide no or low-priced easements on their property for wall construction".

The team also believes it can "complete our segments" of the border wall in half the time.

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