Florida Investigates Group That Raised $23 Million For Trump's Border Wall

The group, We Build the Wall, announced this week that it was erecting a one-mile stretch of wall in Texas and New Mexico.

The state of Florida is investigating the group that raised over $20 million online to privately pay for President Donald Trump’s plan for a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Florida’s Department of Agriculture confirmed the investigation into the fundraiser, which the agency called a “charity,” to National Public Radio’s Miami affiliate WLRN.

We Build the Wall, founded by Air Force veteran and Purple Heart recipient Brian Kolfage, was incorporated as a nonprofit in the state of Florida, WLRN reported. 

Complaining that there were “too many illegals” entering the U.S., Kolfage launched the fundraiser in December on GoFundMe with a goal of $1 billion to build the border wall on private land. 

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is leading the project on the company’s advisory board, along with Kris Kobach, Kansas’ former secretary of state, and other high-profile allies of President Donald Trump.

Earlier this week, We Build the Wall announced that the group was erecting a wall near a mile-long stretch in Texas and New Mexico using the funds they raised, more than $22.7 million.

The group chose the stretch in Texas and New Mexico because it was identified by local authorities as one of the most dangerous parts of the U.S.-Mexico border, Bannon said, according to Yahoo! News.

After failing to reach his $1 billion goal in January, Kolfage promised to end the GoFundMe campaign and refund donors. GoFundMe ended up refunding $6 million to some donors, while $14 million was redirected to a new GoFundMe campaign at the request of the remaining donors.

The fundraising site remains active, with at least $23 million raised so far.

The group announced the upcoming section of border wall weeks after donors began wondering what happened with the millions of dollars that had been raised.

On Monday, the group posted a 58-second video showing excavators and construction equipment erecting a wall. It claims that the section of the wall was built in three days but did not disclose where the video was filmed.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that donors were never refunded after Kolfage first announced he was ending the campaign. GoFundMe confirmed that $6 million was refunded to donors.

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