A bipartisan group of nearly 30 state attorneys general released an open letter slamming the fundraising giant GoFundMe, calling out the company for repeatedly banning fundraisers that are often of a conservative bent.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, the letter was signed by 28 AGs. Although the majority of signatures were from Republicans, at least two progressive Democrats also signed the letter: Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D-Mich.), and Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford (D-Nev.).
“While platforms like GoFundMe can and should act as conduits connecting donors and fundraisers, platforms like GoFundMe are not and should not be empowered to unilaterally make decisions regarding where donated funds will go or why,” the letter reads in part. The platform’s current terms of service declare that the website has a right to shut down “any activity GoFundMe may deem, in its sole discretion, to be unacceptable.”
The largest example of GoFundMe’s censorship took place in February, when a fundraiser for the anti-vaccine mandate protests by Canadian truckers, known as the Freedom Convoy, raised over $9 million on the platform. The website then unilaterally shut it down due to the conservative goals of the protest, and initially announced that the funds would be redistributed to various “credible and established charities” of GoFundMe’s choice; after immense backlash over what would have constituted illegal misuse of the donations, the website reversed course and refunded all donations.
Following the shutdown of the truckers’ fundraiser, Attorney General Ken Paxton (R-Texas) announced that his office was starting an investigation into the company, filing requests with the company to turn over internal records and communications related to its handling of the Freedom Convoy fundraiser.
“I am acting to protect Texas consumers so that they know where their hard-earned money is going,” Paxton said at the time, “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.”
The open letter asks GoFundMe to ensure that donors are “conspicuously informed at the time of their donation of the circumstances under which their donation may be blocked, frozen, redirected, or refunded.” It also demands that the company fully explain its criteria for what constitutes an “unacceptable” cause that may be shut down without notice.