‘We Build the Wall’ is having questions asked about how it spent $1.7 million of the funds it raised.

Share this article

The organisation raising money to build a wall at the US-Mexico border is now the subject of a criminal investigation by charity regulators in Florida.

We Build The Wall, a not-for-profit, was founded last December by disabled air force veteran Brian Kolfage. Kansas Republican senatorial candidate, Kris Kobach, a close associate of President Donald Trump, acts as its director and a paid general counsel, while Trump’s former campaign manager Steve Bannon is its advisory board chairman.

The organisation aims to raise donations to privately fund the US-Mexico border wall long promised by Trump.

In June, news broke that We Build The Wall was under civil investigation with regards to how it planned to spend the $20 million raised to build a small private segment of fencing along the US-Mexico border.

A request to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs’ public records has now revealed that a criminal investigation into the company is underway. 

The organisation has raised $20 million through a GoFundMe campaign, but there are questions about how $1.7 million of this has been spent.

Consumer affairs police from the Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement are handling the probe and We Build The Wall’s lawyer and board were provided with the public record evidence of a criminal investigation yesterday. 

Brian Kolfage first refused to comment and then issued a formal denial of the existence of the investigation, but did not produce any countervailing evidence for his assertions, which are without basis.

We Build the Wall erected a small, half-mile-long segment of fencing on private land in the town of Sunland Park, New Mexico, which stopped temporarily when it was found to be violating local zoning laws and an international treaty. But, construction subsequently resumed.

OUR JOURNALISM RELIES ON YOU

Byline Times is funded by its subscribers. Receive our monthly print edition and help to support fearless, independent journalism.

Recently, surveyors sent by the Mexican Government determined that the fence’s construction fill sits on the wrong side of the border and the encroaching materials will have to be removed, which may prove difficult to accomplish.

The Trump administration hasn’t built a single mile of border fencing itself after 30 months of trying.

Just 10 days ago, We Build The Wall hosted a three-day political event at its fence, which featured a political speech by the President’s son, Donald Trump Jr.

Now it appears that We Build The Wall’s private efforts to build a wall using a tax-exempt social welfare organisation could end in disaster.

Brian Kolfage, its president, operates the organisation out of a post-office box store in a Panama City Beach strip mall, close to his million-dollar home in Miramar Beach, Florida.

Officials in Florida would not comment on the timing of the criminal probe.

The original version of this article was first published on Raw Story.

New to Byline Times? Find out more about us

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PRINT EDITION

A new type of newspaper – independent, fearless, outside the system. Fund a better media.

Don’t miss a story…

Our leading investigations include: empire & the culture warBrexit, crony contractsRussian interferencethe Coronavirus pandemicdemocracy in danger, and the crisis in British journalism. We also introduce new voices of colour in Our Lives Matter.

More stories filed under Reportage

EXCLUSIVE How the Tentacles of Palantir Continue to Encircle the NHS

, 30 June 2022
Max Colbert explores the implications of the tech firm’s ever-expanding role in British healthcare

EXCLUSIVE Misogyny and White Supremacy: The Far Right Reaction to Supreme Court Abortion Decision

, 30 June 2022
Groups linked to Trump and the 6 January attempted insurrection were exultant over the overruling of Roe v Wade, report Sian Norris and Heidi Siegmund Cuda

Born in the USA: The Americanisation of Reactionary Politics in the UK

, 30 June 2022
From dark money think tanks to health privatisation, the influence of the American right on British politics is greater than we think, says Rachel Morris

More from the Byline Family