After collecting a staggering $20 million, a fundraiser to help build a wall along the USA southern border is being shut down because it failed to reach its target.
Brian Kolfage, an Iraq War veteran, posted an update to his "We the People Will Build the Wall" page, writing that rather than donating the money to the federal government, it would instead be transferred to a private nonprofit he had established to construct the wall himself, according to BuzzFeedNews. On Friday, he announced the donations would be funneled to a nonprofit called "We Build the Wall, Inc." which has a prominent list of advisers on its advisory board, including businessman Erik Prince and former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
In his statement, Whithorne pointed out the change in statements on the page, noting that Kolfage promised to return all donors' money if his goal wasn't reached.
GoFundMe spokesman Bobby Whithorne told The Hill the refunds came about because Kolfage broke the rules by switching the destination of the money. Democrats in Congress have refused to support the $5.6 billion Trump seeks for the project, leading to the ongoing partial government shutdown - now the longest in USA history.
That is less than 20% of the government's proposed price tag for the wall but, more importantly, the sum raised is just 2% of that original target.
On Friday, Brian Kolfage, who created the fundraiser, updated the campaign's GoFundMe page, urging donors to redirect their donations to a new 501 (c)(4) non-profit Florida Corporation named We Build the Wall, Inc.
"Our highly experienced team is highly confident that we can complete significant segments of the wall in less time, and for far less money, than the federal government", he wrote on his fundraising page.
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We will promptly refund your donation unless you tell us you approve our new plan for action. 'This means all donors will receive a refund'.
People who want their donations redirected to Kolfage's new organization will have to proactively elect to do so, a GoFundMe spokesperson explained to Business Insider.
Kolfage announced on the GoFundMe page that donors can redirect their monies towards a new non-profit he's founded for expressly the same goal.
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.
The GoFundMe page now contains a link to opt-in to the new project and supporters have received an email.