State Attorney General Suggests GoFundMe’s Actions Could Be Illegal

(NewsGlobal.com)- On Friday, the crowd-funding site GoFundMe announced that it had frozen the fundraising account set up for the Freedom Convoy, the group organizing the widespread protests against COVID mandates in Canada. And rather than simply close the account and refund the money to donors, GoFundMe landed itself in legal hot water by announcing that the nearly $10 million raised for the group would be distributed to other non-profit organizations.

The people who donated to the Freedom Convoy could get their money back from GoFundMe, but only if they jumped through hoops. Donors had to manually submit a refund request within two weeks of the account being frozen. Once the two weeks were up, donors forfeited the right to get their money back.

When learning their donations were being diverted, donors to the Freedom Convoy’s GoFundMe naturally kicked up a fuss, prompting some Republican state attorneys general to announce that they would investigate the crowdfunding site for fraud.

On Saturday, the attorneys general from Texas, West Virginia, Louisiana, and Florida all announced they would be taking action against GoFundMe on behalf of residents in their states.

Jeff Landry, Louisiana’s Attorney General announced on Twitter that his office would determine whether GoFundMe’s actions violated state law and called on any Freedom Convoy donors from Louisiana to contact his Consumer Protection office.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis accused GoFundMe of fraud and announced that he would work with Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody to investigate.

Under the mounting legal pressure, just hours after Governor DeSantis’ statement, GoFundMe changed course.

In a tweet on Saturday, the crowd-funding announced that it would automatically refund all the money donated to the Freedom Convey instead of diverting the funds to other groups.

What was most galling about this entire debacle, however, was GoFundMe froze the account at the behest of city officials in Ottawa. After the account was frozen, the Ottawa Police tweeted its thanks to GoFundMe for depriving the Freedom Convoy of the money raised.

But Ottawa’s best-laid plans came to nothing.

After the GoFundMe account was frozen, the Freedom Convey quickly set up an account with the alternative crowd-funding site GiveSendGo. Within 36 hours, the group raised over $2 million. By Tuesday, it had raised over $7 million.