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

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

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.

 

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up to $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate