The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Former President Donald J. Trump at the border in summer 2020

Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

An ally of former President Donald Trump, who also led the campaign effort to raise funding to build the border wall, has agreed to enter a guilty plea on fraud charges amid accusations that he misappropriated funds for the project. The case is in connection with the We Build the Wall border project.

In addition to the fraud charges for attempt and conspiracy to commit wire, Brian Kolfage, a right-wing propagandist on social media, has reportedly agreed to enter a guilty plea for tax fraud for falsifying information on his 2019 taxes, according to court documents filed in the federal Southern District of New York.

Prosectors shared details about Kolfage's income claims noting that he "first claimed to have earned $63,574 that year and then filed a correction claiming $300,000, but officials claimed Kolfage's income for that year 'were materially in excess of that amount.'"

Although Kolfage initially claimed he "wouldn't earn 'a penny in salary or compensation'" from the efforts to raise funds for the border wall, federal prosecutors argue otherwise.

Per Reuters, prosecutors have indicated Kolfage "told prospective donors he would 'not take a penny' as he raised more than $25 million, yet took more than $350,000 and spent money on a boat, a luxury SUV, a golf cart, jewelry, and cosmetic surgery, among other expenses."

Despite the staggering fundraising efforts, Fisher Sand & Gravel, the contractor employed to complete the project, also claims that the organization "pulled out of the $8 million project and paid for only $1.5 million of it," according to Buzzfeed.

The charges against Kolfage follow similar charges brought against former Trump White House strategist Steve Bannon, who escaped prosecution when Trump pardoned him. Kolfage, who faces the possibility of a maximum of 20 years behind bars in connection with the wire and fraud charges, is expected to change his plea status on April 21.

Printed with permission from Alternet.

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Mark Levin

Politico reported Friday that John Eastman, the disgraced ex-law professor who formulated many of former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, was also apparently in communication with Fox News host Mark Levin. The story gets even more interesting from there, revealing the shell game that right-wing media personalities engage in while doubling as political operatives.

A legal filing by Eastman’s attorneys reveals that, among the messages Eastman is still attempting to conceal from the House January 6 committee are 12 pieces of correspondence with an individual matching Levin’s description as “a radio talk show host, is also an attorney, former long-time President (and current board chairman) of a public interest law firm, and also a former fellow at The Claremont Institute.” Other details, including a sloppy attempt to redact an email address, also connect to Levin, who did not respond to Politico’s requests for comment.

Keep reading... Show less

Sen. Wendy Rogers

Youtube Screenshot

There have been powerful indicators of the full-bore radicalization of the Republican Party in the past year: the 100-plus extremist candidates it fielded this year, the apparent takeover of the party apparatus in Oregon, the appearance of Republican officials at white nationalist gatherings. All of those are mostly rough gauges or anecdotal evidence, however; it’s been difficult to get a clear picture of just how deeply the extremism has penetrated the party.

Using social media as a kind of proxy for their real-world outreach—a reasonable approach, since there are few politicians now who don’t use social media—the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights decided to get a clearer picture of the reach of extremist influences in official halls of power by examining how many elected officials participate in extremist Facebook groups. What it found was deeply troubling: 875 legislators in all 50 states, constituting nearly 22% of all elected GOP lawmakers, identified as participating members of extremist Facebook groups.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}