The people behind the effort to raise money through GoFundMe to build a wall at the southern border have formed a new umbrella organization meant to manage the effort.
Brian Kolfage, the war veteran who launched the "We The People Will Build the Wall" campaign in December, on Friday announced the launch of "We Build the Wall, Inc.," a 501(c)4 organization. That designation means that, according to the IRS, "an organization must not be organized for profit and must be operated exclusively to promote social welfare."
Because of this, the organization said in its announcement, "those who have contributed to the 'Fund the Wall' campaign can opt-in such that these donations will be transferred to the 'We Build the Wall' fund."
The campaign has raised $20.1 million, out of a $1 billion goal, in its first 25 days. The amount of money raised remains, however, a much lower figure than what an actual wall would cost to build. President Trump, in the current negotiations, is asking for around $5 billion.
The new organization's board of directors includes some controversial names, including former Blackwater CEO Erik Prince, former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, conservative journalist Sara Carter, former Congressman Tom Tancredo, and two people (an "angel mom" and "angel dad") whose children were killed by undocumented immigrants.
"We are grateful for the President's steadfast commitment to border security, the single most important issue plaguing our country," said Kolfage in a press release announcing the formation, per Business Wire. "Rather than subsidizing the federal government, which has betrayed the American people by obstructing President Donald Trump's agenda, 'We Build the Wall' is taking the President's signature campaign promise into our own hands. I personally will not take a penny of compensation from these donations incurred in the furtherance of this mission."The launch comes the day after a Buzzfeed report alleged that Kolfage had failed to follow through on donations to veterans at military hospitals that were raised in previous GoFundMe campaigns. GoFundMe confirmed to the site that the funds donated to one of the campaigns had gone directly to Kolfage.
The report also stated, following up on previous reporting from other outlets, that Kolfage had run "fake news" Facebook pages prior to his time launching the GoFundtheWall campaign. Several former employees of Kolfage went on the record with Buzzfeed and supplied documentation of Kolfage pushing bogus stories, such as bogus photos of Barack Obama.