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Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton announced on Wednesday that he has issued Civil Investigative Demands (CIDs) to GoFundMe to investigate the shutdown of a $10 million fundraiser for the Canadian trucker’s Freedom Convoy.
Paxton issued the CID following news that GoFundMe ended the fundraiser and initially intended to redirect the donations to another cause.
“GoFundMe’s response to an anti-mandate, pro-liberty movement should ring alarm bells to anyone using the donation platform and, more broadly, any American wanting to protect their constitutional rights,” Paxton said in a statement.
“Many Texans donated to this worthy cause. I am acting to protect Texas consumers so that they know where their hard-earned money is going, rather than allowing GoFundMe to divert money to another cause without the consent of Texas citizens. I will get to the bottom of this deceitful action,” he added.
The investigation specifically focuses on the protection of Texas consumers.
Today, I'm announcing an investigation into GoFundMe's actions ⬇️
— Texas Attorney General (@TXAG) February 9, 2022
Paxton took to Twitter on Saturday to criticize GoFundMe’s actions.
“Patriotic Texans donated to Canadian truckers’ worthy cause using GoFundMe. This BLM-backing company went woke, froze the funds, & failed to deliver Texans’ money. Today I assembled a team to investigate their potential fraud & deception. Texas donors will get Justice!” he wrote.
Patriotic Texans donated to Canadian truckers’ worthy cause using GoFundMe. This BLM-backing company went woke, froze the funds, & failed to deliver Texans’ money. Today I assembled a team to investigate their potential fraud & deception. Texas donors will get Justice! #GoFundMe
— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) February 5, 2022
Fellow Texan and Republican Sen. Ted Cruz also sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission asking them to open an investigation into GoFundMe after the company canceled the freedom convoy fundraiser.
“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,” he added.
The concerns came after GoFundMe initially reported on Friday that, “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.”
After public outcry, the company later changed course and reported it would automatically refund contributions:
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.
Paxton is also not the only Republican attorney general planning to investigate GoFundMe. Missouri Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt tweeted: “It’s totally unacceptable for @gofundme to siphon over $9M in donations sent to support #TruckersForFreedom2020 & funnel it to causes it supports. I will be investigating these deceptive practices.”
— Eric Schmitt (@Eric_Schmitt) February 5, 2022