GoFundMe border wall campaign to refund all donors after falling short of $1 billion goal

By Kate Smith

/ CBS News

Veteran raising millions for border wall

A GoFundMe campaign to subsidize what it called "The Trump Wall" will refund all money to donors because it did not meet its $1 billion goal, said Bobby Whithorne, director of North America Communications for GoFundMe.

Brian Kolfage, a triple-amputee Air Force veteran, raised more than $20 million on the crowd-funding platform to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. At the onset of the campaign, Kolfage said that he would only collect the funds if the campaign hit its goal of $1 billion — about one-fifth of what President Trump has been demanding from Congress to build it.

"However, that did not happen. This means all donors will receive a refund," Whithorne said in an email to CBS News.

In an update to donors Friday, Kolfage did not say that missing the goal was the main reason for the refund. Instead, he pointed to government inefficiencies and the fact that "federal government won't be able to accept our donations anytime soon." Kolfage gave donors the option of giving their GoFundMe contribution to himself and a team he assembled to privately construct the border wall.

Brian Kolfage CBS News

"Our highly experienced team is highly confident that we can complete significant segments of the wall in less time, and for far less money, than the federal government, while meeting or exceeding all required regulatory, engineering, and environmental specifications," Kolfage wrote in his update.

Donors will have to proactively opt to give the money to Kolfage; if they do nothing the money will automatically be returned, according to Whithorne.

A spokesperson for Brian Kolfage, Jennifer Lawrence, did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.

First published on January 11, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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