From the outset, there were doubts over whether donations could be specifically earmarked specifically for a wall as financial gifts for the United States Funds are set aside by Congress for general use and 'budget needs'. That is likely to shrink the impressive eight-figure pot, at least in the short term.
Kolfage's original campaign page had said "If we don't reach our goal or come significantly close we will refund every single penny" and that "100% of your donations will go to the Trump Wall".
"However, that did not happen", Whithorne said. "We will promptly refund your donation unless you tell us you approve our new plan for action", he said via GoFundMe in a January 11 update. If a donor does not want a refund, and they want their donation to go to the new organization, they must proactively elect to redirect their donation to that organization.
Among the group of "experts" listed on the GoFundMe page are Erik Prince, an American businessman known as the founder of the security firm Blackwater (he is also Betsy DeVos' brother), Sheriff David Clarke, the former Milwaukee County sheriff known for his controversial views on immigration, and frequent Trump campaigner Steve Ronnebeck, whose 21-year-old son Grant was murdered by an undocumented immigrant in 2015. "This means all donors will receive a refund", Whithorne told CBS of the GoFundMe.
A protester in Washington on the 22nd day of the U.S. government shutdown.
Whithorne said all donors will be contacted by GoFundMe via email.
Kolfage says his group is identifying areas that are frequently crossed; looking into wall solutions based on terrain, environment and other issues; and asking landowners if they would provide free or low-priced easements for its construction.
Kolfage also issued an update via the GoFundMe page, using bullet points, and it stated that the federal government won't be able to accept their donations in the near future.
Currently, nine of 15 federal departments, as well as dozens of other agencies and federal programs, have closed or decreased services because the president has refused to sign a $5.6 billion budget bill that does not include spending for his wall - a key campaign promise.
GoFundMe did not immediately respond to a query about Kolfage's claim about the success of the opt-in push.