Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is being joined by multiple Republican attorneys general to put the crowdsourcing platform GoFundMe under a microscope after GoFundMe decided to sever its connection with Canada’s Freedom Convoy.
GoFundMe claimed Friday that the protest aimed at ending Canada’s vaccine mandates was becoming violent and therefore the Freedom Convoy would not see a penny of the $9 million donated but not yet distributed to the group.
In its initial announcement, GoFundMe’s wording indicated to many readers that the money could instead be used by any group it chose.
After an outcry, GoFundMe issued a statement saying it would simply refund money to all donors.
I think part of your problem was that you didn’t make it clear that the charities would be chosen by the organizers. You just said “approved charities” which could have meant anything. You need to be specific in your wording.
— Chris Marks (@MarksOfChris) February 5, 2022
Cutting the financial legs out from under the protesters did not set well with DeSantis and others, including Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, and Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.
“It is a fraud for @gofundme to commandeer $9M in donations sent to support truckers and give it to causes of their own choosing. I will work with @AGAshleyMoody to investigate these deceptive practices — these donors should be given a refund,” DeSantis tweeted.
It is a fraud for @gofundme to commandeer $9M in donations sent to support truckers and give it to causes of their own choosing.
I will work with @AGAshleyMoody to investigate these deceptive practices — these donors should be given a refund.
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) February 5, 2022
Others soon joined in.
— Eric Schmitt (@Eric_Schmitt) February 5, 2022
I share the concerns of @WestVirginiaAG. My office will be looking into whether or not #GoFundMe violated our state law. If you are a Louisiana donor to the #FreedomConvoy, please contact my #ConsumerProtection Section! #lagov https://t.co/lwCAvsbLrY
— AG Jeff Landry (@AGJeffLandry) February 5, 2022
Donald Trump Jr. called for a coordinated response.
“All GOP Attorney Generals should be looking at this & helping to get people their $$$ back so it can be redirected to the truckers,” he tweeted. “Don’t let @gofundme scam you… call your AGs & let them know. GFM seems to have no problem finding BLM riots… peaceful truckers should be fine too.”
All GOP Attorney Generals should be looking at this & helping to get people their $$$ back so it can be redirected to the truckers. Don’t let @gofundme scam you… call your AGs & let them know. GFM seems to have no problem finding BLM riots… peaceful truckers should be fine too. https://t.co/YYLpQDUYl1
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) February 5, 2022
Yost said any Ohio residents impacted by this should contact him.
It is deeply troubling to me that a professional fundraiser like #GoFundMe thought they had a right to take donations they are holding in trust and simply “redirect” them.
We are going to get to the bottom of this.
— Attorney General Dave Yost (@DaveYostOH) February 5, 2022
“I want to verify that GoFundMe isn’t playing God with other people’s money,” he said, according to WANE-TV.
Yost said that just because money is being refunded does not mean his investigation is over.
“While that is a welcomed move, I am still interested in collecting information to make sure such things do not happen in the future,” Yost said. “Ohioans rely on their platform to do good, and their intentions and hopes should be honored.”
The crowdfunding website GiveSendGo, has since stepped in and was closing in on $2.8 million in donations for the Freedom Convoy as of early Sunday afternoon EST.
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