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GoFundMe campaign supporting border wall triples overnight, but sending money isn't simple

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help President Donald Trump raise $1 billion in his quest to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, It had raised more than $11.5 million in four days. [GoFundMe]
Published Dec. 21, 2018

The GoFundMe campaign to raise money for a border wall, which raised more than $4 million in less than three days, has nearly tripled its earnings overnight as it approaches the $12 million mark Friday morning.

The campaign, called "We The People Will Fund The Wall," was started by Brian Kolfage, a Purple Heart recipient and triple amputee who lost his legs and an arm during a rocket attack in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The campaign was launched earlier this week with a goal of raising $1 billion to donate to the construction of a wall along the southern border of the U.S. Funding for the wall, a major campaign promise of President Donald Trump, has come under questioning in recent weeks as Trump first hard-lined funding negotiations, then retreated, then went back to a firm stance again Thursday.

At first, Trump threatened a partial government shutdown if Congress couldn't pass a budget that included funding for the wall, which Democrats staunchly opposed. He later backed down from the threat, saying he'd find funding another way and allowing for the passage of a funding bill that'd avert a shutdown. Then Trump changed course again, saying he wouldn't sign the bill passed by the Senate if it went through the House, unless it included funding for the wall. The House passed a government funding bill Thursday that included Trump's $5 billion request for border wall funding. The bill is expected to fail in the Senate, where it would need a number of Democrats to get on board. The imminent threat of a partial government shutdown again lurched increasingly closer to reality Friday.

Kolfage said it's now "our duty as citizens" to raise money for a border wall. Thursday, the Tampa Bay Times reported that in three days, the campaign had raised more than $4 million from nearly 70,000 donors.

As news of the campaign spread through media outlets nationwide, the campaign ballooned. Less than 24 hours after the Times report, the campaign was steadily increasing past the $11.8 million mark, with nearly 190,000 donors. The campaign is currently the third-highest earning individual campaign in the crowd funding site's history and could eclipse the second-highest campaign, Las Vegas Victims' Fund, by the afternoon.

"Like a majority of those American citizens who voted to elect President Donald J Trump, we voted for him to Make America Great Again," Kolfage wrote in the campaign. "President Trump's main campaign promise was to BUILD THE WALL. And as he's followed through on just about every promise so far, this wall project needs to be completed still."

Kolfage said the cap is set at $1 billion because that is all GoFundMe allows. He said he is trying to get them to raise the limit.

"If the 63 million people who voted for Trump each pledge $80, we can build the wall," he wrote. "That equates to roughly $5 billion, even if we get half, that's half the wall. We can do this."

Getting the money to the Department of Homeland Security for the purposes of building a wall, however, might not be that simple. According to Homeland Security guidelines, it may not accept currency gifts that "require DHS to adhere to particular requirements as to deposit, investment, or management of funds donated."

Furthermore, federal law states "gifts or donations of services or property of or for the Department may not be accepted, used, or disposed of unless specifically permitted in advance in an appropriations Act and only under the conditions and for the purposes specified in such appropriations Act."

That means any money raised by the campaign can only be accepted through an act of Congress specifically outlying the use of the funds.

Contact Daniel Figueroa IV at dfigueroa@tampabay.com. Follow @danuscripts.

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