The organization supporting the viral crowdfunding effort to build a private wall along the southern border with Mexico is under criminal investigation in Florida, where it’s listed as a nonprofit, officials confirmed.
Established by Brian Kolfage, a decorated Iraq War veteran with a history of benefiting from fake and conspiratorial websites, We Build the Wall raised more than $23 million in donations to pay for President Trump’s border wall.
On Tuesday, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which supervises charities and nonprofits in the state, verified a criminal investigation has been opened into the group, as first reported by DCReport. However, it’s unclear what sparked the criminal probe, with a spokesperson for the state agency saying they “cannot comment on ongoing investigations.”
As a 501(c)(4) in Florida, We Build the Wall can operate in advocacy and political lobbying, but Kobach’s solicitation is in possible direct violation of a requirement to include a “paid for” disclaimer, the Daily Beast reported.
In a statement, Kobach’s campaign stated that if an error was made, it was to not incorporate a “paid for by” notice. The campaign stated the issue was fixed by sending another email, to all the recipients of the first one, with the correct information.
Kolfage at first denied there was any criminal investigation into his organization, calling the inquiry, “corporate governance check.”
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services cited the state’s 119.071(2)(c)1 statute, which precludes an agency from publishing records due to an “active criminal investigation.”
Kolfage later authenticated the investigation, calling it “politically motivated” and promptly accusing Democrat leadership at the state agency. The inquiry, he stated, was a “formality” and the organization is confident it will be exonerated quickly.