In a letter to the Federal Trade Commission, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) asked the commission to begin an investigation into GoFundMe in the wake of the company canceling a fundraiser intended to help the trucker protests 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,” stated Cruz on a Fox News segment aired this past 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 crop up after GoFundMe took down and canceled the fundraiser for the Freedom Convoy after it had hit a staggering C$10 million intended to go to the truckers and had already taken steps to distributed C$1 million of said funds.
GoFundMe first stated, in part, that it was planning to send the rest 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 another statement issued late, GoFundMe backpedaled hard on its choices, 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.
The initial statement from GoFundMe caused an extreme backlash among Republicans across the country who stated that they would be trying to open an official investigation 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,” stated Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt. “I will be investigating these deceptive practices. Donors should be given a refund.#TruckersConvoy2022 #TruckersForFreedom.”
Even Ron DeSantis, the Republican Governor of Florida, took time to respond to the news by tweeting out: “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,” stated the governor.
Ashley Moody, the Attorney General of Florida, issued a response to DeSantis’ comments, stating: “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.”