A GoFundMe campaign launched last year raised a massive amount of money for what it claimed was a privately-funded version of President Trump’s proposed border wall.
After weeks of stories claiming that donors to the effort were complaining that they thought the whole thing was a scam, the organization behind the wall campaign this week let cameras observe its construction.
Per CNN, the campaign has begun construction on a stretch of wall on private land near the border of New Mexico and Texas. About a half-mile of the wall has been built thus far, at a cost of between $6 million and $8 million.
Fisher Industries, a contractor that the Trump Administration has been pushing to be awarded contracts for the border wall, is the primary contractor working on the site, CNN reported. The network also reported that former Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon is now involved with the project as chairman of the advisory board. Bannon told CNN that the privately built wall connects two previously unconnected pieces of fencing, but the network could not confirm that.
The GoFundMe campaign was first launched late last year by Brian Kolfage, a triple-amputee war veteran. It raised more than $29 million in just a few weeks, per The Inquisitr, in an effort that coincided with the government shutdown, which was instigated after Trump pushed for border wall funding and Democrats in Congress refused to go along. Questions were eventually raised about past efforts of Kolfage’s, including a “fake news” empire of Facebook pages, and even past crowdfunding efforts, per Buzzfeed.
NEW WALL BUILT:
This is the first-ever privately funded wall on the Southern border,
which closes the gap between an El Paso wall & another wall in Sunland Park.https://t.co/76f2xVjJQS
— #ThePersistence (@ScottPresler) May 28, 2019
Eventually, the effort was repackaged in January as a nonprofit called We Build the Wall, per The Inquisitr, with a group of board members associated with MAGA celebrity: Ex-Blackwater CEO Erik Prince, former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, conservative journalist Sara Carter, and former Congressman Tom Tancredo. Bannon was not announced as part of the effort at that time.
The Daily Beast, among other outlets, reported earlier this month that donors to the effort were worried they had been scammed, although now construction on the wall has begun.
Meanwhile, TV station KTSM reported that city officials in Sunland Park, the town where the section of the wall is located, has not issued a permit for the construction. They did tell the station, however, that a contractor associated with the project, American Eagle Brick, picked up a permit application.