Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission asking them to open an investigation into GoFundMe after the company canceled a fundraiser for truckers in Canada.
“Today I sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission asking that the FTC open an investigation into GoFundMe into whether they’ve committed deceptive trade practices,” Cruz told Fox News on Sunday. “Because when people gave money, they gave money under the promise it would go to the Freedom Convoy, not to whatever left-wing political ideology GoFundMe and other Silicon Valley companies support. They are deceiving consumers and it is wrong.”
Cruz’s comments come after GoFundMe canceled the Freedom Convoy fundraiser after it had raised approximately C$10 million for the truckers and already distributed C$1 million of the funds.
GoFundMe initially said in-part that it was going to send the remainder of the funds to other “credible and established charities”:
Organizers provided a clear distribution plan for the initial $1M that was released earlier this week and confirmed funds would be used only for participants who traveled to Ottawa to participate in a peaceful protest. Given how this situation has evolved, no further funds will be directly distributed to the Freedom Convoy organizers — we will work with organizers to send all remaining funds to credible and established charities verified by GoFundMe.
In a statement, GoFundMe later reversed course, citing “donor feedback”:
To simplify the process for our users, we will be refunding all donations to the Freedom Convoy 2022 fundraiser. This refund will happen automatically—you do not need to submit a request. Donors can expect to see refunds within 7-10 business days.
The update we issued earlier enabled all donors to get a refund and outlined a plan to distribute remaining funds to verified charities selected by the Freedom Convoy organizers. However, due to donor feedback, we are simplifying the process and automatically refunding donations.
GoFundMe’s initial statement sparked widespread backlash with Republicans across the country announcing that they would be opening investigations into the company.
“🚨It’s totally unacceptable for @gofundme to siphon over $9M in donations sent to support #TruckersForFreedom2020 & funnel it to causes it supports,” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said. “I will be investigating these deceptive practices. Donors should be given a refund.#TruckersConvoy2022 #TruckersForFreedom.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis responded to the news with a tweet, writing: “It is a fraud for @gofundme to commandeer $9M in donations sent to support truckers and give it to causes of their own choosing.”
“I will work with @AGAshleyMoody to investigate these deceptive practices — these donors should be given a refund,” the governor added.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody responded to DeSantis’ announcement, writing: “I’m sick and tired of corporations imposing their political will on unsuspecting consumers. As always, I will work with @GovRonDeSantis to ensure Floridians are protected.”