It was one of the most successful, high profile campaigns in the history of crowdfunding.
Last December, veteran and triple amputee Brian Kolfage launched a GoFundMe campaign called “We The People Will Build the Wall.” The campaign was meant to solicit funds to build President Trump’s proposed wall, at a time when the president was trying and failing to get Congress to fund it, and the effort raised more than $20 million, out of a goal of $1 billion.
While $20 million is a massive amount of money for a GoFundMe campaign, it still fell well short of its goal, and $1 billion was only a fraction of the money that a border wall would be expected to cost. President Trump, at the time of the GoFundMe, was seeking $5 billion.
The idea at first was for the donations to be donated to the government and put toward construction costs for the wall. But in January, Kolfage announced, per The Inquisitr, that the effort would be folded into a nonprofit called We Build The Wall Inc., with such conservative celebrities as former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, former Blackwater CEO Erik Prince, and former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke among the board members.
The organization said, at the time, that those who had donated to the previous GoFundMe could roll their contributions over into the new group, or have it refunded, as the We Build The Wall nonprofit would begin construction on the wall.
But now, per The Daily Beast, it doesn’t appear that any construction has begun, and donors to the effort have begun to ask questions.
“Twitter replies to Kolfage and the group’s Facebook page have filled up with angry donors,” the Daily Beast article says, with some donors questioning whether the whole thing is a scam. The group had promised to begin construction last month, but April came and went without any such event taking place.
The people behind the border wall GoFundMe claim the wall's location has to be kept secret to hide it from liberals. But donors are starting to get suspicious… https://t.co/oCLjCwb8gH
— Will Sommer (@willsommer) May 10, 2019
NBC News revealed during the initial GoFundMe push that Kolfage had been involved with fake news campaigns on Facebook, including one effort to push a bogus story that Barack Obama had had an extramarital affair.
In addition Kolfage, per The Inquisitr, once raised $16,000 in another GoFundMe campaign for a veteran mentorship program in conjunction with three veterans hospitals, but the three hospitals contacted by Buzzfeed were all unaware of any such programs.
The GoFundMe campaign also spawned rival efforts, such as a December campaign to “dig tunnels under Trump’s border wall,” per The Hill.