Border wall GoFundMe campaign to refund donations after missing goal

Brian Kolfage             
    CBS News

Brian Kolfage CBS News

While the campaign has raised more than $20 million from over 325,000 donors, it's well short of the $1 billion goal.

Brian Kolfage, the campaign's founder, assured donors Friday that because the campaign didn't reach its $1 billion goal, they would be refunded.

On Friday, Kolfage updated the page and introduced a non-profit titled "We Build the Wall, Inc".

GoFundMe will allow donors to divert their money to We Fund The Wall if they so choose; however, if donors fail to respond to a GoFundMe email, their contribution will automatically be refunded.

Kolfage told NBC he didn't disclose the fundraising effort in the wall GoFundMe because he didn't want to "mix the two", saying, "my personal issues have nothing to do with building the wall". Trump has repeatedly said he will not sign any legislation to reopen the government unless it includes $5.7 billion for construction of a wall along the U.S. -Mexico border, and Democrats have refused to comply with that request. "When the campaign was created, the campaign organizer specifically stated on the campaign page, 'If we don't reach our goal or come significantly close we will refund every single penny'".

Kolfage raised $16,246 for a veteran mentorship program, but BuzzFeed News reports that after collecting the funds, he didn't use the money as promised: none of the partners he claimed to have worked with - including Walter Reed, Brooke Army Medical Center and Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany - have any records that Kolfage worked with their patients or donated money, according to representatives at the centers that BuzzFeed News spoke to.

Brian Kolfage, a triple amputee who was wounded while serving in Iraq in 2004, has received thousands of donations totaling $20,132,662 since December 16.

He also said he's grateful for Trump's commitment to border security.

"Better equipped than our own federal government, we have made significant progress in less than a month, having begun extensive due diligence and commenced feasibility studies", Kolfage said.

He added in a Business Wire interview: "Rather than subsidizing the federal government, which has betrayed the American people by obstructing President Donald Trump's agenda, "We Build the Wall" is taking the President's signature campaign promise into our own hands". "We are already taking action on identifying the most densely crossed areas of the border, soliciting affected landowners along the Southern border, and ascertaining the willingness of border landowners to provide no or low-priced easements on their property for wall construction".

But donations slowed and Kolfage said the group had concluded that the government won't be able to make use of them in the foreseeable future.

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