Manhattan federal prosecutors dropped a bombshell indictment on Thursday morning alleging that “We Build The Wall,” a grassroots campaign that aimed to privately fund President Donald Trump’s wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, was a scam orchestrated by former Trump campaign chairman Stephen Bannon and group founder Brian Kolfage.
Here’s a synopsis of TPM’s coverage of the comically inept project, which had raised at least $25 million on GoFundMe since its launch in late 2018:
Border Wall GoFundMe Campaign Celebrates First Mile, Asks For More Money
“WE DID IT!!!” Kolfage cheered on Facebook on May 27. The follow-up: “DONATE NOW to fund more walls! We have many more projects lined up!”
GoFundMe Border Wall Ordered To Cease And Desist After Failing To Provide Permit
Then the project got tangled in legal woes literally the next day.
Kobach-Backed Wall GoFundMe Presses On With Construction After Permit Issues
But no fear! “We Build The Wall” kept up its efforts, which anti-immigration hardliner and failed Senate candidate Kris Kobach enthusiastically endorsed.
Kobach Used Private Border Wall’s Email List To Fundraise For Senate Campaign
It was later revealed that he used the group’s mailing list to raise donations for his eventually doomed campaign.
‘We Appreciate You’: GoFundMe Border Wall Exec’s Chummy Interview With Militia Leader
The organization also pursued questionable partnerships with anti-government extremists.
GoFundMe Border Wall Group Reaches Out To Oath Keepers, Other Right-Wing Militias
In Awesome Twist, GoFundMe Border Wall Spills Into Mexico
In July 2019, the Mexican government revealed that the wall had breached the border. Kolfage did nothing but throw up his hands and state that his contractor would not remove the debris.
How A Border Wall Fundraiser Jumped Head-First Into The International Medical Supply Game
Fast-forward to April 2020, when Kolfage suddenly decided he would get involved in the medical shortage crisis amid COVID-19. His efforts were less than lackluster.
‘The Government Sucks At Designing Things,’ Said Border Wall Builder Whose Project Might Now Collapse (TPM member exclusive)
Kolfage argued that “it takes the private industry to get modern solutions solved,” but the private industry should probably make sure that its solutions aren’t at risk of getting washed away by the Rio Grande.