“We Build The Wall”: Bannon Charged With Federal Charges Over Online Fundraising Campaign

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Steve Bannon, a former adviser to President Trump, was arrested today with three other suspects after the Justice Department charged fraud connected to an online fundraising campaign worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. The campaign, “We Build the Wall,” was said to have raised over $25 million. It is worth noting that the Justice Department has continued to investigate or prosecute various Trump supporters under Attorney General Bill Barr despite calls by Democratic members and commentators to impeach him.

 

Manhattan federal prosecutors allege that Bannon, campaign leader Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea “received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donor funds from We Build the Wall, which they each used in a manner inconsistent with the organization’s public representations.”  Notably, the complaint states that Kolfage publicly guaranteed that he would not take salary or compensation, and that 100 percent of funds raised would go toward the wall. Prosecutors allege that he actually took more than $350,000 for personal use and then tried to conceal it.  As for Bannon, he is accused of receiving $1 million of the money, including use for personal expenses.

This is the type of criminal charge that is the most challenging for defense attorneys. Jurors react badly to allegations of pilfering public interest funds and items of personal expense tend to look even more extravagant when juxtaposed against a public funding campaign.

The four defendants each face one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, each of which carries up to 20 years in prison.

Notably, this case comes out of the Southern District which critics alleged would be stopped from pursuing Trump-related cases after Barr replaced U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman.  As with the Lafayette Park account in the media, many of the “facts” on the action against Berman were later contradicted.  That certainly will continue to be debated in good-faith by people. However, these charges show that the work of the office has continued as promised by Barr in an independent fashion.

While the indictment shows that the Justice Department is still proceeding unheeded by politics, it also shows a disturbing pattern of criminality among close political advisers to the President with criminal convictions or charges for Bannon, Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen, Roger Stone, and others. That unquestionably raises questions about the President’s judgment and what he is looking for in advisers.  Manafort and Stone are the best examples of individuals who had questionable reputations before the 2016 campaign.

Here is the indictment: Bannon complaint

 

105 thoughts on ““We Build The Wall”: Bannon Charged With Federal Charges Over Online Fundraising Campaign”

  1. Thoroughly disgusting:

    “Feds say veteran Brian Kolfage secretly took donor money meant for building border wall”

    https://www.stripes.com/news/us/feds-say-veteran-brian-kolfage-secretly-took-donor-money-meant-for-building-border-wall-1.642015

    “Air Force veteran Brian Kolfage promised donors to his online crowdfunding campaign that their money would only go to construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. However, he cashed in on that trust by secretly taking more than $300,000 in donations to buy himself a luxury car, jewelry and pay down his debts, according to a Justice Department indictment unsealed Thursday.”

    “Kolfage received more than $350,000 in donor funds with help from the other three men and spent the money on personal expenses including home renovations, boat payments, a luxury SUV, a golf cart, jewelry, cosmetic surgery, personal tax payments, and credit card debt, the indictment states.”

    1. Bannon is the 7th Trump team member to be indicted. The others have all been convicted or pled guilty.

  2. DoJ is corrupt. The DoJ is political and its opposted to Trump. This is just another political hit job by the DoJ against Trump.

    Where is the Obamagate charges?

    I have no faith in our Justice Department. Time to shut it all down.

    1. So you don’t care if Bannon, Kolfage and the rest are lying to people and misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars for their personal benefit (like buying a personal boat) that were supposed to be used only by the non-profit for a wall.

      How sad that it’s OK with you if Republicans break the law.

    2. I love the honesty and ability to neutrally analyze issues by Prof Turley. It is far too rare these days. So, Why include Gen Flynn in list of Trump advisers when you have argued his prosecution was ill founded and dubious motives by Obama DOJ? Seems inconsistent w/ typically fair analysis by Prof Turley

      A bogus prosecution should not be evidence of Trump malfeasance or judgement

  3. “it also shows a disturbing pattern of criminality among close political advisers”

    And how is this different from Obama? Except that most of Obama’s criminals actually were in his administration. The only ones in the Trump administration were Michael Flynn (assuming he can be called a criminal) and Steve Bannon and they were there only for a short time. As to Bannon, he left before he allegedly committed his crime. As to Obama’s criminals, to name just a few, there was Hillary, Comey (and the other corrupt FBI personnel), Lerner at IRS, Holder and Lynch at DOJ and Biden who bribed a foreign government with American taxpayer money. The other difference between Obama’s criminals and Trump’s is that not one of the Obama criminals listed have been charged with the crimes they committed, with Hillary being the most spectacular example. Flynn, on the other hand, has been destroyed and Bannon faces 20 years. You are right, that is a disturbing pattern.

    1. Gosh, honestlawyermostly, why do you think the DOJ hasn’t charged any of the people you call “Obama’s criminals” with crimes?
      Could it be that there’s insufficient evidence of them having committed crimes?
      You don’t even list any evidence yourself.

      1. “Could it be that there’s insufficient evidence of them having committed crimes?”

        No. It could be that none of the prosecutors have big enough balls to bring the charges and vigorously prosecute the cases. Barr has said they would not bring charges for crimes they could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt. Let’s see what they do.

  4. More details are starting to emerge in the Bannon criminal case. Among the many items of evidence incriminating Bannon and his partners:

    1. On September 18, 2019, Bannon did purchase a 6-pack of toilet tissue from Walmart and billed the “Wall” project, and then Bannon and 2 other partners took home a roll each for personal use. A 22.3 hour forensic examination revealed that the value of the stolen rolls was $4.57, including tax.
    2. On October 7, 2019, Bannon did take possession of a US postage stamp that belonged to the “Wall” project, which he then used to pay a personal utility bill by US mail.
    3. On November 27, 2019, Bannon took $5.00 from the petty cash fund of the “Wall” project and bought a hamburger and drink at Wendy’s for his personal consumption and even failed to return the change to the fund.
    4. On December 7, 2019, a homeless man entered Bannon’s office and asked for spare change. Bannon then took $2.00 from the petty cash fund and gave it to the homeless man, even though the homeless person only asked for change. Bannon failed to reimburse the petty cash fund with his personal funds.
    5. On January 22, 2020, Bannon did take home 3 pads of paper and a box of paper clips belonging to the “Wall” project for his personal consumption at home. After a 37.6 hour forensic examination, the government’s investigative team valued this theft at $6.79, including tax.
    6. On February 20, 2020, Bannon did take a $10 bill from petty cash, purportedly to buy office supplies, but left the bill in his jeans pocket. Bannon’s wife then subsequently washed Bannon’s jeans, which destroyed the $10 bill. Bannon never replenished the petty cash fund with $10.00, thereby willfully and maliciously engaging in money laundering.

    More shocking details are expected to emerge in the weeks prior to the election. Things are looking very, very grim for Bannon.

    1. Or you could read the actual indictment, included here: https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/20/politics/bannon-indictment/index.html
      They’re charged with wire fraud and money laundering.

      “In total, from the creation of We Build the Wall in January 2019 to in or around October 2019, BRIAN KOLFAGE, the defendant, received more than $350,000 in donor funds from We Build the Wall, all passed indirectly at the direction and with the assistance of STEPHEN BANNON, ANDREW BADOLATO, and TIMOTHY SHEA, the defendants, through Non-Profit-1, Shell Company-1, and the accounts controlled by Associate-1 and Associate-2. KOLFAGE then used those funds to pay for his own personal expenses, including, among other purposes, home renovations, payments toward a boat, a luxury SUV, a golf cart, jewelry, cosmetic surgery, personal tax payments, and credit card debt.
      “Moreover, in addition to BRIAN KOLFAGE, the defendant, STEPHEN BANNON, ANDREW BADOLATO, and TIMOTHY SHEA, the defendants, each received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donor funds from We Build the Wall, which they each used to pay for a
      variety of personal expenses, including, among other things, travel, hotels, consumer goods, and personal credit card debts, in
      addition to the payments described above to KOLFAGE. With respect to BANNON, in particular, as noted above, Non-Profit-1 received
      over $1,000,000 from We Build the Wall, and while some of that money was used to pay KOLFAGE, as detailed above, BANNON used a
      substantial portion of those donor funds for personal uses and expenses unrelated to We Build the Wall.”

  5. Did you see that Jon Meachan is “helping” craft Joe Biden’s acceptance speech tonight? Yep. Meachan wrote a book called, “The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels by Jon Meacham. What is Joe Biden’s theme: he is fighting for the Soul of our Country. Good lord these Democrats are exhausting.

    1. If you routinely use the word “systemic” yet vote for the guy who’s been in charge of the system for 45 years, maybe you need to admit you’ve been bamboozled. Joe Bide is and old demented fossil and will, if elected lead this country to communism. All other is jaberwokey.

    2. Did old Uncle Joe actually say he will cure cancer, cure corona, and get the US back on the Moon, last night?!

    3. ‘John Meacham is also the former Editor In Chief of Newsweek, not just an “historian.” I am just shocked to see a prominent journalist drop the pretense and speaking at a Democratic convention.’ -Mark Hemingway

      Yep. But most “journalists” have dropped the pretense and are not hiding efforts to influence opinion favorably toward Biden. Media bias is real.

  6. After reading up on the Chinese ex-pat I really don’t think that guilt by association adds up to much. To me he appear a great deal more respectable than all the US corporacrats who snuggle up to the CCP criminal regime while gleefully outsourcing US jobs and paying themselves ever-higher multiples of what their dwindling number of actual US citizen employees make. If you are comfortable with this version of “free trade” please learn of the material presented in the book “China Rx” as your prescription drugs may have been produced in a Chinese latrine. The Heparin contamination episode cost about 250 Americans their lives and the FDA could not even identify whether is was sabotage or a fumble. Ask your MD “and where did they make that safe vaccine doctor?” There is no labeling requirement in US law, you have more right to know where your fish came from than where those expensive pharma products did.

  7. Jonathan: I had a good laugh this morning after reading your post about the arrest of Steve Bannon–especially the part at the end when you say: “these charges show that the work of the office {DOJ} has continued as promised by Barr in an independent fashion”. Sure, and the sun revolves around the earth. Barr has never been “independent”. He has always done Trump’s dirty work since day one when he became the Attorney General. Everyone, including Barr, knows about the Trump/Bannon ongoing bitter dispute–the scorching comments by Bannon about Trump in Michael Wolff’s book and then Bannon’s own kiss and tell book that Trump unsuccessfully tried to suppress. So now we have the arrest of Bannon on charges he and others defrauded investors in the “We Build the Wall” campaign to build a private Trump wall along the Rio Grande. Anyone who invested in that scheme should also be arrested and charged with being “stupid”. The genesis of “We Build the Wall” began with Trump’s failure to get Mexico to pay for his wall along the Mexican border and the reluctance Congress to pour more taxpayer down that rat hole. So, after leaving the White House, Bannon devised a plan to build a portion of the wall with private investor money. So far so good. Bannon formed a non-profit and received about $25,000 million from unsuspecting Trump supporters. Trump now claims he was against the privately funded wall. But last year Donald Trump Jr. was a guest at a symposium hosted by “We Build the Wall” and praised the effort: as “private enterprise at its finest”. Kris Kobach, the so-called expert on voter fraud (who lost his Senate bid–voters weren’t buying his pitch) , was an early supporter of Bannon’s project and said he briefed Trump on the project and the president gave his approval. So much for the president’s denials. Now the real interesting part of the story is that the private section of the wall was a boondoggle from the beginning. It was built too close to the Rio Grande and now shows signs of serious erosion–so bad that experts say the section of the wall could topple any minute into the river.

    Now getting back to the charges against Bannon. You note in your post that “this case comes out of the Southern District where critics alleged would be stopped from pursuing Trump-related cases after Barr replaced US Attorney Geoffrey Berman”. You now admit that Barr fired Berman because the US Attorney was pursuing cases involving friends and close associates of Trump.But Bannon is no longer a friend or close associate of Trump. They are bitter enemies. Barr didn’t need a memo from Trump that said: “Bill, see what dirt you can find on Steve. If you find anything prosecute him!” Barr knows the drill. So when the AG was briefed on the Bannon case he simply let the arrests go forward This probably would not have been the case had Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s friend and personal attorney, been on that 150 ft yacht as the Coast Guard was fast approaching! I say throw the book at Steve Bannon but remember this. Bannon is only part of the vast conspiracy of fraud know as the Trump organization. Hopefully, voters already have that figured out. And when you attempt again to claim Barr is “independent” expect a lot of laughter from this side.

  8. “Hours after his arrest, Bannon pleaded not guilty during an appearance in a Manhattan federal court.”

    “The magistrate judge approved Bannon’s release on $5 million bail, secured by $1.75 million in assets.”

    – AP

      1. REGARDING ABOVE:

        That is ‘not’ Commenter Seth Warner. It is instead a malicious troll stalking this blog.

  9. Why is the FEC Ignoring Hillary Clinton’s $84 Million Campaign Finance Scandal? – February 20, 2019

    One year and two months. That’s how long it’s been since a formal complaint was filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), alleging Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign orchestrated an $84 million campaign finance scandal — the largest in U.S. history.

    Yet the FEC has done nothing to hold the Clinton campaign, dozens of Democratic officials, and hundreds of six-figure Democratic mega-donors accountable for breaking the law.

    Let’s start at the beginning. Last December, the Committee to Defend the President filed a complaint with the FEC, centered on $84 million in allegedly excessive six-figure contributions laundered through the Hillary Victory Fund to dozens of Democratic state parties acting as straw men, over the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and into the hands of Clinton’s campaign. The straw man contributions were made by liberal elites from Hollywood to Wall Street and everywhere in between, including fashion icon Calvin Klein, “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane, the owners of New York City media giants and their landlords, and countless others.

    – RealClear Policy

    1. As Joe DiGenova has exclaimed repeatedly on his Fox guest spots, “nothing is going to happen to Hilary”. And as he also said, “Hilary’s emails? The NSA has everybody’s emails!” There is a website called “Arkancide” with a compendium of stuff about the Clintons kept off the “news” my favorite is the Factor 8 blood scandal that would have destroyed anyone who was not under the protection of whoever it is that decides these things BTW did you know they never found the bullet in the Vince Foster case?

      1. This is why the “Intelligence officials” are officially endorsing Joe Biden. Wink wink. Donald J. Trump is a threat. He is not “controlled.” He must be removed by any means necessary.

  10. Bannon’s Arrest Renews Questions About Barr’s Scheme To Shake Up SDNY

    Two months ago, Attorney General William P. Barr launched a hasty, questionable and haphazard effort to get rid of U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman at the Southern District of New York and install a new acting head of his office. Critics suggested it was a thinly veiled effort to get rid of the man whose office investigated allies of President Trump, including Rudolph W. Giuliani — the latest in heavy-handed and seemingly political actions by Barr to protect Trump.

    It turns out the office was about to indict another Trump ally: Stephen K. Bannon. And the person responsible for charging the former top Trump aide is the acting U.S. attorney whom Barr tried and failed to bypass.

    Acting U.S. attorney Audrey Strauss on Thursday indicted Bannon alongside three others for an alleged fundraising scheme involving Trump’s border wall. He becomes merely the latest former top Trump aide to run into legal trouble — a list which includes the campaign chief that Bannon effectively replaced, Paul Manafort, Trump’s longtime political adviser Roger Stone and Trump’s first national security adviser Michael Flynn.

    But apart from the increasingly ugly picture it paints about the people with whom Trump has surrounded himself, it reinforces unanswered questions about precisely what happened — and why — two months ago.

    Edited From: “Bannon’s Indictment Raises More Questions About William Barr’s SDNY Gambit”

    Today’s Washington Post

      1. REGARDING ABOVE:

        This comment: “Old news available in the restroom. Tap on me” suggests that ever present Gray Anonymous is the highly disturbed troll who keeps dogging this blog.

  11. Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich

    by Peter Schweizer July 26, 2016
    __________________________

    Virtually every act of the Clintons has been criminal, from Whitewater and Mina, Arkansas, thru Sec. State Hillary’s pay-for-play and the Clinton Foundation to the Clinton women, Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton on “Orgy Island.” Then there’s James Comey convicting Hillary for 15 minutes at a press conference then arbitrarily and personally exonerating that criminal because if Comey had indicted Hillary, Comey would have convicted Obama. Oh, I forgot, then there’s Obama’s Chief of the Gestapo, Weissmann, one of the top prosecutors with Obergruppenfuhrer Mueller, actually calling on Justice Department attorneys to refuse to help on ongoing investigations that could implicate aspects of his own prior work and deriding the Clinesmith guilty plea (is that actually legal?). They killed JFK, MLK and RFK right before our very eyes. They overlook a glut; a plethora of democrat crimes as if they are ubiquitous, usual and customary (Oh, they are, huh? My bad). The latest is the irrefutably unconstitutional/illegal and totally corrupt vote-by-mail. The American Founders are rolling over and over and over and over in their graves.

  12. arrested in the formal sense of the meaning…offshore in a private yacht…off the connecticut coast.

    how sensational.

    imagine that.

    welcome to boom town baby….we arrest em big time.

    now where do we hammer out a movie deal?

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