The Border Wall Fund Isn’t the First Scam of This Vet

The Border Wall Fund Isn’t the First Scam of This Vet January 11, 2019

Buyer beware?

So first things, first. How’s that GoFundMe for the southern border wall going?

In December, Brian Kolfage, an Iraq war veteran and triple amputee began a crowd funding campaign to raise $1 billion to go towards the construction of the southern border wall.

Now, first of all, Kolfage has sacrificed his limbs for this nation, so much thanks for his service.

Apart from that well-deserved praise, however, we need to keep in mind that he’s still just a man, and humanity, at it’s core, is prone to lean to their most base, awful inclinations.

Being a good soldier doesn’t make one a good person.

This is also Kolfage. He’s the guy that wants to be seen as a patriot and philanthropist, capitalizing on his sacrifices for the good of the American people, but apparently, he’s just a mean-spirited grifter.

Buzzfeed News has spoken with former employees of Kolfage’s  far right, click-bait news sites, such as Right Wing News and Freedom Daily, and gotten a much different picture – one that those throwing money into Kolfage’s latest venture should be mindful of.

Lindsay Lowry wrote for Freedom Daily, under the alias Prissy Holly, in 2017.

“After I started challenging some of his business decisions that I felt were reckless for the company and for my career, the real Brian emerged,” she told BuzzFeed News. “Everything is only about his ‘war hero’ persona and money. If there’s a perceived slight on his part, he viciously attacks people…and, in my case, tries to destroy their life and livelihood.”

Lowry, along with three other sources showed internal emails and documents from Kolfage that reveal how hard he worked to knowingly push fake, sensationalized stories on Facebook, just for the clicks and ad revenue. He boasted of running a “multi-million dollar company.”

Former employees told BuzzFeed News that Kolfage instructed his crew to produce Facebook content to more flagrantly convey a false narrative, in one instance photoshopping former president Obama’s head onto another body to make it appear as though he was having an affair, with the caption, “BREAKING!! OBAMA BUSTED!!! VIDEO LEAKED!!”

“You’ll love this one ;),” he texted employees during a conversation about manipulating images.

In one message to Lowery, Kolfage sent a screenshot of an article making it appear as though the FBI was arresting Hillary Clinton with the bold headline: “BREAKING!!! TRUMP’S DOJ JUST DID IT!!! It’s FINALLY Happening!” The example, she said, was meant to show how to persuade more people to click on the site’s stories.

He even harassed Lowry for not being more provocative and shocking in her content.

Jazz up those fake stories! Use fake images!

One of the stories he pushed her to write was to go after former FBI Director James Comey, claiming he had committed treason.

That’s pretty radical, just to hear. It makes you wonder exactly what he did and how authorities found out, right?

Except it was made up, out of thin air.

“So get creative like using fake photoshopped images?” she responded. “I was kind of taken back at this…”

“Yup it’s just a graphic. Best story of [the] day,” he said.

“It’s fake,” she replied. “I don’t see how this [is] making us a legit website”

“That’s not for u to worry about,” Kolfage texted back. “And it’s only on Facebook. Not the website.”

“Adds mystery to the entire story… he was part of FBI at same time,” he added. “Use that exact image of comey or the cia director in some shady looking pic.”

This is the real “fake news,” folks.

So Facebook has some explaining to do.

On several occasions, Kolfage discussed purchasing Facebook pages, which he acknowledged in one message is a violation of the social network’s policy and urged employees to remain quiet about. In a group text dated Sept. 22, 2017, he informed employees that “we purchased the Facebook pages belonging to Patriot Nation,” collecting its 2 million fans to “significantly increase our traffic” and generate more revenue.

Right Wing News was another such page with Facebook.

“One day of big daddy running the show,” Kolfage wrote, referencing an attached chart showing a significant spike in user traffic. “Those f**kers had no clue…The page reach is actually 14 million this week. When I got it [it] was 1 mil.”

He apparently is devoted to the fake news cause. One employee said he spent about $100,000 to purchase Right Wing News.

So while building these fake news sites, he used that platform to launch his GoFundMe drive for the border wall, but it’s not the first time he’s dabbled in crowd funding for what appears to be patriotic purposes.

In 2014, he used GoFundMe to raise money for his own legal fees, because of someone he described as a “radical, leftwing extremist” – a favorite term of the radical, rightwing extremists.

A year later, he used GoFundMe to collect $16,246 for a veteran mentorship program. The campaign closed in February 2015, and the funds went directly to Kolfage, Bobby Whithorne, a GoFundMe spokesperson, confirmed to BuzzFeed News.

In now-deleted Facebook posts, Kolfage appealed to followers to donate to “get vets back on track” and said his program worked in conjunction with military hospitals, such as Walter Reed, Brooke Army Medical Center, and Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, which treated Kolfage in 2004 after the horrific explosion at Balad Air Base in Iraq that left him injured.

That sounds like something I’d certainly like to donate to.

Here’s the thing: No one representing those hospitals know what he’s talking about. They have no records of any such peer-mentoring program, or of Kolfage doing any sort of peer work with their organizations.

“We do not have a record of Mr. Kolfage visiting Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in any official capacity after 2012,” Gia E. Oney, chief of public affairs for Landstuhl, told BuzzFeed News. “We have no record of a donation made in his name to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.”

Hey, Kolfage, what happened to the money?

In addition to his build-the-wall campaign, Kolfage is still raising money on GoFundMe for his “Fight 4 Free Speech” initiative to “take on Facebook in an unprecedented legal case that will shape our nation for future generations.” It has raised more than $73,350 of its $100,000 goal in two months.

Wow. So he’s really dipping into the well of crowdfunding on everything, isn’t he?

I guess he’s gotta make a buck, somehow. Facebook, in its crackdown on fake news, yanked his scam sites, pushing photoshopped images and sensationalized lies.

Before that, in 2016, he employed about six writers to conjure up these lies and spread them across at least ten Facebook accounts.

He was paying his employees about $2 per 1000 clicks, just to write.

Then, however, it got to where the mission was to create the bigger, more fantastic lies.

One former employee explains:

“He started creating more [Facebook] pages. I think he had around 10 when I was there and I remember I would see shares and be like, ‘Where did this page come from?’” she recalled. “He was very smart in how he would do it. He never wanted the truth. It was all just for clicks, and the more inflammatory, the better. I felt dirty writing the stuff.”

Lowery detailed a similar experience, describing how her role as a writer and editor for Freedom Daily morphed into creating more outlandish content on Facebook.

“Toward the end is when it got really bad with the fake news. I had no control over how my stories were titled,” Lowery said. “Brian only cared about the money.”

At the end of 2016, Freedom Daily had about 1.6 million followers. During Trump’s first year, Kolfage decided to ramp it up and become more extreme.

In November of that year, a text message exchange shows Kolfage claiming to have been affiliated with the president “to grow a massive Facebook group” called America FIRST, and boasting about having created a Nevada business license for “President Donald Trump Official LLC” to troll a competitor and “show that he could do it.”

Freedom Daily licensed “President Donald Trump Official LLC” in Nevada in November 2017, according to state records.

Kolfage even took steps, such as adopting a pseudonym, in order to hide his involvement and to stay clear of the sketchy work, in the event someone tried to trace it back to him.

In one email to employees, Kolfage warned to “NEVER tell anyone who operates Freedomdaily. It’s a tightly guarded secret, and our LLC has a privacy veil set up to protect it. It allows us to operate without consequence where we can’t be sued or attacked by trolls.”

It would appear Kolfage is the biggest troll, of all.

Sadly, there are suckers born every minute. Records show over 28 million people viewed the fraudulent stories on Freedom Daily, in August 2017. That pulled in around $300,000 for the site.

However, Frank Bojazi, a writer for the Right Wing News site in 2017, said in his experience the site’s top editors were responsible for altering and intensifying headlines to make them “more clickbait.”

“Brian didn’t do the titles, someone else did those,” he told BuzzFeed News, though he emphasized that “his only job was to write stories,” and he had nothing to do with Facebook.

Bojazi went on to express his disappointment in being used to push fake news.

“They sucked,” Bojazi said. “Inaccurate isn’t cool. I wanted more accurate headlines so readers weren’t confused. I was bottom of the totem pole though, don’t get to talk much.”

It’s all about the clicks.

Kolfage has actually been banned from Facebook, because of harassment complaints and because of his manipulation of the platform to make money.

Some of his pages are still there, but he’s not allowed to act as administrator.

Employees who left, such as Lowry, report harassment and nasty exchanges with Kolfage.

She began her own website after leaving. Kolfage took issue with what he said was her recruitment of one of his writers, as well as what she said was his breaking an agreement not to run her stories after she’d left. He then went after she and her husband.

Text messages to Lowery show Kolfage telling her to “go f**k yourself” and threatening, “Your website is going down today.”

Then one day last July, her husband called in a panic. FBI agents were at the door of their Colorado home responding to an anonymous tip that the mother of two was planning “on going on a killing rampage and talked about killing people,” Lowery said, which she insists never happened.

An FBI spokesperson said the agency would not comment on any specific tips it received.

I’m sure that was just a coincidence, right?

It gets better.

A month later, an anonymous tip into her husband’s workplace at Northrop Grumman, a major aerospace and defense contractor, also sparked an investigation. The family had just returned from vacation when her husband, Tyler Lowery, was approached about a report that they had been in contact with “foreign nationals,” he told BuzzFeed News.

“They came to my home and said that there was a report on the open line…about how Lindsay was working for Macedonians,” he said. “I explained the situation with Brian and showed them the same text messages.”

A source familiar with the matter confirmed the account to BuzzFeed News, saying Northrop Grumman “investigated what they understood to be the allegation, and it was not substantiated.”

Of course it was unsubstantiated.

“I had seen him go after people firsthand, but it was terrifying being on the other end of it,” Lindsay Lowery said. “I am honestly terrified of what he might do to harass or retaliate. He thinks he’s untouchable.”

No one should have to feel threatened just because they left a job they were unhappy with.

Meanwhile, just over $20 million has been raised for the southern border wall by over 330,000 people since December, all of them convinced that a man like Kolfage is who he says he is, and will do what he says he will do with that money.

I suspect the government will get that money at approximately the same time Walter Reed, Brooke Army Medical Center, and Landstuhl Regional Medical Center receive the $16,000 or so raised for the non-existent peer mentoring programs Kolfage touted.

That is to say, never.

 

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • SemperFi56

    Seems that anything having to do with the orange Zod is either a scam or bold faced lies from the source or rump himself.There has never been anything as unethical in the history of American politics as this current adminstration, from the get go

  • IllinoisPatriot

    Not just that, but the orange zod’s defense of his “loyal supporters” (fellow scammers and unethical actors) has only encouraged other scammers to set up and start operating in his name and according to his example.

    I cannot think of a better opportunity for the American public to recognize the danger of allowing the cultural rot that has taken hold of this country – a rot where children are taught in grade-school how to write “emotionally” and truth is down-played as ‘old-fashioned” or “unnecessary” in the new “enlightened age” of situational ethics, relative morality and rejection of Christ and and ALL of his teachings by Atheists for Atheists and in pursuit of the destruction of Christianity – the one religion that teaches respect, honor, sacrifice, integrity, and faith in a loving God that knows the hearts of every scammer and that see through every deception instead of the cultural norm that teaches deceit, greed, abuse, lust, and all other base emotions of the “feel-good” worldly view of Atheism.

  • Barros Serrano

    You’re unhinged. The problem, try to focus, is that Orange Thing. But you go off on secular ethics, and quickly return to proselytizing. Irrelevant. You offer nothing.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    I’ve learned to ignore the unhinged uber-liberal Atheist leftists when they throw unsubstantiated accusations in defense of their own poor judgement and lack of ethics and morality.

  • Fmontyr

    So goody two shoes tries to tell us how good are the godly people and how evil are the non-believers in god. Little does he realize that the religious, if they are actually moral and ethical, are so because of the fear of god. The general understanding is that non-believers are moral and ethical, not because of god fear but because they choose to be good.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    At one point, the general understand was that the world was flat and the the sun orbited the Earth too.

    As to non-believers, when your only moral standard is self-interest, you have no moral standard. You cannot identify any moral standard common to practicing Atheists, so you cannot claim one.

    As with everything SOME (few) Atheists have some morals and once in a GREAT while one might even stand up for his beliefs, but for the most part, my experience has been that Atheists will ALWAYS choose the path of least resistance and the lowest common denominator. My reason gives me no logical or spiritual reason to believe that Atheists have ANY standard of morality or ethics and as I look around at the SJWs and the practicing atheists in DC and state capitals (Pelosi [abortion is a ‘sacrament’], Chuck Schumer [illegals have a ‘right’ to taxpayer jobs, money and benefits], and Trump [not even close to Christian living]), I see no minimum level of ethics or morality below which they will not descend if it is in their personal interest.

    Whine if you like, but by declaring yourself to be Atheist, you have rejected the ONE standard of morality and decency that made this country great in the first place and the ONLY standard that can return it to greatness and that re-unite and heal the divisions that Atheists have built in their rejection of God.

    Remember – you cannot legislate morality or ethics. Trying to do so only leads to thought-censorship.

  • Barros Serrano

    So you respond with vague sputtering, condescension and a big bubble of nothing, boy!

    State it more honestly: you have no defense against the truth I speak when I expose your nonsense, boy.

    Lack of ethics and morality? You’re a fascist! LOL!!! Ethics???!!! A CHRISTOfascist, yet!

    You need to shut up unless you wish to come and speak to my face about my morality, little incel. I know that a cowardly rightwing traitor like you hasn’t the wherewithal to do that.

    So… shut up.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    You talk tough, coward – while you hide behind your keyboard.

  • Barros Serrano

    Then come talk to me in person, facha boy. Charlottesville VA.

    You sputtering traitors are loud online but in person… pfffttt…

    You would not wish to encounter me, incel, given my intense dislike for traitorous racists.

  • Barros Serrano

    Given the extensive and ongoing crimes by Christians, this is gibberish.

    Christians lately have demonstrated only spineless bigotry in this country, in supporting the Orange Fuhrer.

    Me, I’m not atheist, i’m pagan, and so of course have a more highly evolved ethical system than any Christofascist like you could claim.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    First, Those supporting Trump are practicing Atheists. They abandoned any Christian faith they may have had long ago.

    Second, it apparently does not take much to set you off – you simply do not know anything about tolerance or decency as your ranting clearly shows.

    Third, the correct term would not have been “Democratic” because there is nothing “Democratic” about the Democrat party. The correct term would have been “Communist” or “Socialist” (If I were feeling kind) or even “Demonic”, but certainly NOT “Democratic”.

    The correct adjective to use when talking about the Democrat Party or the Democrat ideologies is “Democrat”. You are entitled to your opinion, but not to your own facts or your own definitions of words.

    Finally, I feel no more need to respond to any of the nonsense you spew from your keyboard because you have proven my point more forcefully than I ever could about Atheists having no articulated sense of morality, ethics or decency.

  • Barros Serrano

    Boy, you are a fascist and do not hide it very well, therefore I will respond to your evil treasonous vitriole and you can cry all you like.

    It is called the Democratic Party. Republicans say “Democrat” Party, as a slur. You will say it correctly or not at all, boy.

    The progressive Democrats are demosocialist. That is the superior social system, demosocialism, as proven by every other developed nation, all superior to the U$A, a pathetic backwards craphole thanks to conservative policies since 1981.

    No, boy, it is not my opinion. It is the Democratic Party. That is a fact. Now if you wish to smartass and lie come do it in my presence. I do not suffer fools or fascists lightly, and you are both.

    No tolerance or decency is called for when dealing with your ilk. That’s the way it is, incel.

  • Fmontyr

    This blog post was about Brian Kolfage and the scam he has run with GoFundMe for building Trump’s wall. There was no mention of his religion of lack thereof. You go way off topic pontificating about atheists which apparently you know very little about.

    Riddle me this, “Atheists in the prison population are few and far between, well under their presence in the general population. Why?”

    European countries, Germany, Great Britain, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, etc., have populations in which the non-believers range from 50% to 85%. They outshine the Christian US in so many ways, lower crime, less poverty, better health care, better educated and so on. Now here is the key one, people in those countries are happier than those in the United States. So explain why, where atheism is considerably higher than that of the US’s 16 % – 20%, that their morality and ethics are so much better than our (un)Christian nation. It is unfortunate that you are so naive and typical of “Bible Belt” mentality. Face it, America is not great!

  • Barros Serrano

    Certainly nothing in our memory compares to this… but Andrew Jackson committed significant abuses of power and got away with it!

    Instead of throwing out Mexicans, he threw out Native Americans… same thing, really.

    And he had the Postal Service intercept abolitionist material mailed to the South.

    And lots more…

    The system did not work to contain Jackson’s excesses (crimes). Let’s hope it works now.