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GoFundMe to refund over $20M in donations made to border wall campaign

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WASHINGTON (CIRCA via KUTV) — GoFundMe will refund over $20 million raised in a campaign to crowd-fund the construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the campaign.

The campaign's founder, Air Force veteran Brian Kolfage, promised donors that all donations would be used to pay for a border wall, "like the one President Donald Trump has proposed," if the campaign met its $1 billion goal.

Since the goal had not been met, it appeared Kolfage changed tactics, and a GoFundMe spokesperson said the company would refund all donations to the campaign, INSIDER reported.

On the campaign's page, Kolfage wrote that he, and a team of advisers, had decided instead to form a 501(c)(4) nonprofit to raise money for a border wall.

The organization, called We Build The Wall, Inc., was able to receive GoFundMe donations, Kolfage wrote. Those who previously donated to Kolfage's campaign and wished to have their money diverted to the new organization rather than refunded were given the option of doing so. The decision was made in part, Kolfage wrote, because "The federal government won't be able to accept our donations anytime soon."

Kolfage wrote he and his team realized that people "are better equipped than our own government to use the donated funds to build an actual wall on the southern border."

Moreover, he argued that he and his team were "highly confident we can complete significant segments of the wall in less time, and for far less money, than the federal government." Specifically, he said the team believed they could complete segments of the wall for less than half the government's estimated cost per mile.

Those who donated to the original campaign, who wanted their money to instead go toward Kolfage's new project, "must proactively elect to redirect their donation to that organization," the company spokesperson reportedly told INSIDER.

The updated campaign page contained a link where donors could elect to do just that. INSIDER reported the company said it would send emails to all 337,935 donors with more information about the refund process.

Kolfage's campaign was started Dec. 16 and raised over $17 million in just the first nine days. It appeared donations stagnated at that point, with just over $3 million more coming in over the next 16 days.

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