go fund yourself!
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and multiple Republican state attorneys general have announced plans to investigate fundraising company GoFundMe, Reuters and The Hill reported. The Republican officials allege that GoFundMe may have violated state laws by refusing to distribute funds raised to support the "Freedom Convoy," a group of truckers and other demonstrators protesting Canada's COVID-19 policies.
According to The Daily Wire, the Republican attorneys general of Missouri, West Virginia, Ohio, and Louisiana have all said they plan to investigate whether GoFundMe defrauded donors from their states.
GoFundMe said it deleted the fundraiser after being told by Ottawa police "that the previously peaceful demonstration has become an occupation." According to BBC, as of Saturday the protests were still mostly peaceful, having resulted in only three arrests.
The company initially said donors would have to apply for refunds and that any remaining funds would go to charities approved by GoFundMe, but later reversed course and made refunds automatic.
"It is a fraud for @gofundme to commandeer $9 million in donations sent to support truckers and give it to causes of their own choosing. I will work with [Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody] to investigate these deceptive practices — these donors should be given a refund," DeSantis wrote on Twitter on Saturday, several hours after GoFundMe announced that all donations to the Freedom Convoy would be automatically refunded.
DeSantis also stated the amount in question in a slightly misleading manner. The funds GoFundMe refused to distribute totaled about 9 million Canadian dollars (equivalent to about 7.9 million U.S. dollars).
Around 1 million Canadian dollars were distributed to the protest's organizers before GoFundMe removed the fundraiser.