GoFundMe will repay more than $ 20 million to donors who donated money to a campaign organized by an Air Force veteran to build a wall along the southwestern border.
The company announced that it was giving back donations because its organizer, Brian Kolfage, had announced that the funds would be donated to a nonprofit organization that he had created, and not to the federal government as promised to him. # 39; origin.
Change of recipient of funds violates GoFundMe rules, said Bobby Whithorne, spokesman for the company The hill.
"When the campaign was created, the campaign organizer expressly stated on the campaign page:" If we do not reach our goal or if we do not get too close, we will refund every penny. "Whithorne said," He also said on the campaign page: "100% of your donations will go to Trump Wall, if for any reason we do not achieve our goal, we will refund your donation. ""
"However, this has not happened, which means that all donors will receive a refund," he added.
Kolfage, a wounded triple amputee serving in Iraq, launched the campaign "We, people will build the wall"In December to raise $ 1 billion to fund President Donald Trump's border security project. On Friday, he updated the page to indicate that he had concluded that the government would not be able to accept GoFundMe donations "in the near future".
Instead, Kolfage said, he and a team of advisors formed a Florida-based nonprofit organization called "We Build the Wall, Inc." to receive the contributions.
"Our highly experienced team is confident that we can achieve significant segments of the wall in less time and for much less money than the federal government, while meeting or exceeding all regulatory, technical and environmental specifications." required, "wrote Kolfage.
To date, the Kolfage campaign has raised approximately $ 20.4 million from more than 340,000 donors. GoFundMe indicates that any donor who wishes their contribution to go to the non-profit association of Kolfage must proactively approve the new destination.
"If they do not take this step, they will automatically receive a full refund," Whithorne said.
Kolfage has been increasingly watched since NBC News published a review of his previous Internet adventures, including website management highlighting theories of conspiracy denied. A separate report from BuzzFeed News revealed that Kolfage would have pocketed the money from a previous GoFundMe campaign and that he had started raising funds for wounded veterans.