Steve Bannon Charged With Fraud and Money Laundering for Pocketing Border Wall Funds

Other right-wing activists were also charged with defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors.

Former Donald Trump campaign chairman and White House adviser Steve Bannon in Paris, France, last year.Lewis Joly/AP

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Federal prosecutors have charged Steve Bannon and other right-wing activists with defrauding hundreds of thousands of people who donated money to build a private border wall.

In an indictment unsealed Thursday, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York charged Bannon, Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman and White House adviser, and three others with conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. US Postal Service agents arrested Bannon on Thursday, CBS News reported.

Acting US Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a statement, “As alleged, the defendants defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors, capitalizing on their interest in funding a border wall to raise millions of dollars, under the false pretense that all of that money would be spent on construction.”

As part of an effort called “We Build the Wall,” the defendants crowdfunded more than $25 million to build a private wall along the border with Mexico. In doing so, they repeatedly assured donors that none of the money would go to the salary of Brian Kolfage, the public face of the campaign.

Instead, Bannon helped secretly pay Kolfage hundreds of thousands of dollars while also taking more than $1 million for himself through a nonprofit, according to the indictment. Kolfage allegedly used his money to pay for, among other things, a golf cart, a boat, and cosmetic surgery.

 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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