Remember the “We Build The Wall” foundation? They raised 10s of millions of dollars to supposedly help Trump. In reality, according to prosecutors, the ones in charge of that project, like Steve Bannon and Brian Kolfage, were really just helping themselves and lining their own pockets.
Bannon is among four people indicted for allegedly defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors to the online “We Build the Wall” campaign.
Manhattan federal prosecutors allege that Bannon, campaign leader Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea “received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donor funds from We Build the Wall, which they each used in a manner inconsistent with the organization’s public representations.”
Kolfage told donors that he or anyone would not take any salary. Yet prosecutors say he took around 350K and then made moves to conceal it. The indictment also charges that Bannon and the others also took money for personal use.
Eventually, the group took down the “pledge” of no money for themselves and began speaking with each other through encrypted devices as they learned there might be charged leveled against them. This, all according to Pete Williams at NBC News.
Also, according to Williams at NBC News, Kolfage is the “ring leader” of the group.
“We Build the Wall” began as a GoFundMe campaign in late 2018, was allegedly created to raise money directly from the public to build a border wall in the face of Congressional opposition.
Trump originally emphatically promised, “Mexico would pay for the wall.” That never happened.
Congress rejected Trump’s demands for certain funding allotments, but Trump did an end-around them diverting funds meant for the military to his wall project. The most recent actions of the courts seem to be nullifying most of his efforts although some judges have questioned whether early court actions make some of the efforts “too little, too late.”
The wall on the southern border has been one of the most contentious issues involving Trump since he was a candidate. Some insist a physical barrier is necessary to America’s safety and security. Others contend that more sophisticated techniques and technology must be used to control the border. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has pledged to take a more sophisticated approach than Trump.