This is classic Trumpian irony. Brian Kolfage, the triple-amputee Iraq War veteran, who started a GoFundMe page last week to crowd fund Trump’s mythic Mexican wall, which by Thursday night had raised over $7Mil from 131,000 donors, kept touting his own veracity and credibility. “How do you know this is not a scam?” Kolfage queried readers, as he encouraged them to look up his verified Facebook page and background. “I’m credible and a real person.” In fact, Kolfage is a publisher of fake news sites busted by Facebook in it’s October purge. NBC News:
The fundraising page doesn’t mention Kolfage’s most recent business venture, a Facebook page titled Right Wing News and a ring of affiliate sites that frequently trafficked in conspiracy theories. In October, Right Wing News was pulled down by Facebook in a sweep of more than 559 pages that the company said were “using fake accounts… to drive traffic to their websites” or “were ad farms using Facebook to mislead people into thinking that they were forums for legitimate political debate.”
Days after the pulldown, Kolfage created a group called Fight4FreeSpeech, which accepts donations, and is also not referenced in the GoFundMe.
Kolfage told NBC News he didn’t want to mention Right Wing News or Fight4FreeSpeech because he “didn’t want it to be a distraction.”
Kolfage is also making claims that he cannot keep, regarding the disposition of the money already donated.
“We have someone who is tied in with the White House that’s in their inner-circle,” Kolfage said. “We can work on a way where we can guarantee with a contract where [the funding] can only go to the wall.”
Bullshit. Kolfage can’t guarantee that at all. News Corpse explained the nuts and bolts of this plastic fantastic fundraiser a few days ago:
The Trump cultists have embraced an effort to raise money themselves to finance the wall’s construction. Their GoFundMe page for that purpose has already hit $6.2 million in just three days.
On the surface, that sounds pretty impressive. However, the numbers simply don’t work. First of all, the wall is estimated to cost about $25 billion. The page has a goal of $1 billion. So they have raised only 0.6 percent of their goal, which is less than 0.002 percent of the actual cost. If they continue to take in donations at the current rate (which is highly unlikely), it will take them five hundred days to hit a billion. They would have to have 16.4 million people donating an average of $61.00. They can never reach the total cost of the wall which would be twenty-five times more. […]
What’s more, in the nearly unimaginable event that they reach their goal, what exactly do they intend to do with the money? They could donate it to the U.S. Treasury. However, they cannot earmark it for border wall building purposes. There is no government facility for citizens to offer to pay for specific federal infrastructure of any kind. If they simply turn it over to the Treasury, the government must spend it according to the legislation passed by Congress. The House of Representatives initiates all spending bills. That would be the House that Nancy Pelosi will be the Speaker of, and that is run by a Democratic majority. It’s doubtful that they would allocate those funds for the Deplorables’ wall.
Other than that, there is no plausible avenue for allocating those funds toward a border wall. They cannot build the wall with private resources and commercial builders. They couldn’t secure the land to build on or the rights to construct international barriers. And yet, Trump’s glassy-eyed followers continue to donate to this scam.
Kolfage touts his credibility, but alas, the only credibility he really has is in the fake news blogosphere dominated by the likes of Breitbart and WorldNetDaily, two “media outlets” that make Mad Magazine look like Newsweek and TIME by comparison.
Kolfage also ran Right Wing News’ shuttered affiliate sites including VeteranAF and FreedomDaily, which pushed false conspiracy theories, like ones claiming Hillary Clinton was secretly hiding deadly illnesses and fake voter fraud stories days before the 2016 election.
The sites often trafficked in false, inflammatory and racist content, including headlines like “Obnoxious Black People Lose Their Minds When Victoria Secret Models Say This 1 Word On Live Video” and “Trump Just Released Embarrassing Vids Of Obama’s Muslim Friends That He Never Wanted Seen.”
Following Facebook’s takedown, Kolfage’s story drew considerable interest from right-wing media sites including Breitbart and WorldNetDaily. He has since appeared on Fox News to tout Fight4FreeSpeech, a group against “social media censorship.”
So Kolfage, sadly, while sounding quite the patriot, is in fact the wingnut’s wingnut. This is a sad story on many levels, saddest of all is that there are so many people who want to see their twisted dreams of what is right come true, that they will turn over their money to complete strangers who are, unfortunately, scam artists, who have no way of delivering that which they are shilling. These snake oil salesmen ruin crowd funding efforts for a lot of people where the need is all too urgent and real and the kindness of strangers is the only viable source of relief left.
If there is a silver lining to this story, maybe it will be that fundraising campaigns are more carefully vetted in the future, to make sure that that which the fundraiser is seeking to achieve is actually doable in the first place, and not a pipe dream. Finally, maybe Trump cultists, if they learn the hard way, through getting hit in the pocket book, will realize that there is no magical way to do an end run around the system, and that working peacefully within established governmental channels is the way that things get done in the real world — not the reality TV world of Donald Trump, but the real one.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.