GoFundMe announced Friday that it would reimburse more than $ 20 million in donations to a campaign launched by veteran Brian Kolfage last year, after changing course to determine where the money would be donated. The campaign has attracted tremendous attention and as many donations.
Kolfage began the campaign on Dec. 16 and introduced it as a way to raise money to build a wall along the southern border as Trump struggled to get the $ 5 billion needed that he was targeting. in an expenditure bill. The government has now closed for a record of 22 days on the impasse between the president and the House of Representatives controlled by the Democrats.
"Eight days before Christmas, I launched this GoFundMe campaign because I was fed up with seeing the US government's inability to secure our southern border," Kolfage wrote to the campaign's page. , Friday. "Like most Americans, I see the porous southern border as a threat to national security, and I refuse to allow our failed political system to leave my family and my country vulnerable to attack."
In this photo from November 10, 2014, Brian Kolfage, a former senior air force airman, sits in a wheelchair next to his wife Ashley, right, at the same time. tribute to the National Memorial and Museum of 11 September.
The campaign, entitled "We, the citizens, will build the wall," raised $ 20,240,198 at the start of Saturday. More than 330,000 people donated to the cause, nine people donated more than $ 10,000 and one person, $ 50,000.
But Kolfage also announced on Friday that he was suddenly giving up the money directly to the US government – a promise that he was not sure exactly what he could supplement – and instead pouring money into it. money to a new nonprofit organization that he started called "We Build the Wall, Inc."
The switch violated GoFundMe's donation rules and prompted the rebate offer.
"There has been a shift in the use of funds," ABC News Bobby Whithorne, director of North America Communications for GoFundMe, told ABC News. "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 much closer, we will reimburse each "He also said on the campaign page," 100% of your donations will go to the Trump wall. If, for ANY reason, we do not reach our goal, we will refund your donation. "
However, that did not happen, "the statement said. This means that all donors will receive a refund. If a donor does not want to be reimbursed and wants their donation donated to the new organization, they must proactively redirect their donation to that organization. If they do not, they will automatically receive a full refund. "
In this archival photo from May 31, 2006, a man crosses the international border to travel to Nogales, Arizona, from Nogales, Mexico.
Whithorne said that all donors will be contacted by email to receive their refund.
Kolfage, seriously injured in Iraq in 2004 and triple amputee, was still seeking funds Friday. He acknowledged that the government would not be able to accept donations "anytime soon" and stated that his non-profit organization was "better equipped than our own government to use the funds paid in order to build a real wall on the southern border ".
The board of directors of this non-profit organization includes a former controversial sheriff and a David Clarke, guest of Fox News, private security firm of the government Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater USAand former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who oversaw Trump's election fraud commission.
The Border Wall Campaign is the second highest level of funding activity, ending with repayments in a few months. A man and a homeless couple in Philadelphia have all been arrested and charged for having create an alarm clock to get more than $ 400,000 in donations last year.
The couple would have spent a good deal of their money on vacation and games, and the diet was exposed when the homeless person went on to not receive the money.
ABC Frances & Chris Francescani contributed to this report.