- As the GoFundMe campaign to build President Donald Trump’s wall along the US-Mexico border surpasses $US16 million in donations, observers have wondered how much of the money will go to GoFundMe – and whether any of it will actually be used to build the wall.
- GoFundMe does not charge a “platform fee,” but it does charge 2.9% of funds raised for “payment processing,” as well as $US0.30 per donation.
- Based on the campaign’s totals on Monday of more than $US16 million raised from 272,000 backers, nearly $US545,000 goes to the fundraising platform.
More than 272,000 people have donated over $US16 million in four days to the viral GoFundMe campaign to fund President Donald Trump’s wall along the US-Mexico border.
The high sum has made people wonder: How much money is GoFundMe making from the campaign? And how will the money reach the US government?
Though the popular fundraising site does not charge a “platform fee” for campaigns, it does charge a 2.9% fee for “payment processing” and a $US0.30 fee for each donation. Based on the campaign’s totals on Friday, nearly $US545,600 will go to GoFundMe.
In a statement to INSIDER, Bobby Whithorne, a GoFundMe spokesman, said the funds were being “safely held” by the platform’s payment processor.
“We will work with the organiser to transfer funds to an appropriate recipient or refund all donors, as stated in the campaign story,” Whithorne said.
Ensuring that the rest of the money goes directly to wall-building efforts, however, could get complicated.
According to the Treasury Department, money donated to the government goes to a fund called “Gifts to the United States,” for “general use by the federal government.”
The department’s website says the account “was established in 1843 to accept gifts, such as bequests, from individuals wishing to express their patriotism to the United States.”
Donating the money directly to the Department of Homeland Security would require approval from Congress, as laid out in a policy directive in 2008. It cites a law that says “gifts or donations of services or property of or for the Department may not be accepted, used, or disposed of unless specifically permitted in advance” by Congress.
It is unclear whether supporters of the fundraiser have found other ways to send the money. The man who started the campaign, Brian Kolfage, told NBC News on Thursday that he was working with “someone who is tied in with the White House that’s in their inner-circle” to “guarantee” that the money goes only to the wall, though he did not go into specifics.
But people have continued to pour money into the fundraiser. Senator-elect Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee tweeted her support for Kolfage, a US veteran.
Veteran Brian Kolfage Jr. sacrificed in combat & continues to give back to our country by taking a stand to build the wall. While the Democrats offer nothing but resistance, strong Americans like @BrianKolfage are doing something about it! #GoFundTheWall https://t.co/MlvtUV6KEA
— Marsha Blackburn (@VoteMarsha) December 21, 2018
NBC News reported that Kolfage previously ran conspiracy-theory websites and a related Facebook page that was kicked off the platform in October.
Kolfage did not immediately respond to INSIDER’s request for comment. He told NBC News he did not mention his past on the GoFundMe page because he “didn’t want it to be a distraction” from the border-wall project.
“I don’t wanna mix the two,” he said. “That shouldn’t be the focus. My personal issues have nothing to do with building the wall.”
Kolfage has been promoting the campaign on TV and on social media, sharing it along with links to his coffee business.
Many have criticised the campaign’s anti-immigrant nature. Some even started a counter-campaign fundraising for a Texas organisation that supports immigrants.
GoFundMe’s terms and conditions prohibit fundraisers rooted in “intolerance of any kind relating to race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender or gender identity, or serious disabilities or diseases.”
In his statement to INSIDER, Whithorne said Kolfage’s campaign did not violate the platform’s terms of service.
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