GOP Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a tweet that he will be launching an investigation into GoFundMe for “deceptive practices,” accusing the fundraising website of “fraud.”
GoFundMe took down a page that had been made in support of Canadian truck drivers protesting COVID-19 mandates, and the page had raised $9 million.
On Friday, the fundraising platform removed the page that had been made on behalf of the Freedom Convoy and noted that donors would have two weeks to request a refund. The page was apparently canceled after police reported that one peaceful demonstration had turned “violent” and members were carrying out “unlawful activities.”
The website announced that remaining funds that had not been reclaimed would be distributed to “credible and established charities.” GoFundMe has since received heavy backlash for removing the page and looking to disburse the donated funds.
In a Saturday tweet, DeSantis said he would be investigating the company with the help of Florida’s Attorney General, Ashley Moody.
“It is a fraud for @gofundme to commandeer $9M in donations sent to support truckers and give it to causes of their own choosing,” the governor wrote. “I will work with @AGAshleyMoody to investigate these deceptive practices – these donors should be given a refund.”
After the heavy criticism, GoFundMe wrote another tweet in which the company said that full refunds will be provided in the next two weeks to anyone who donated to the Freedom Convoy page.
“The update we issued earlier enabled all donors to get a refund and outlined a plan to distribute remaining funds to verified charities selected by the Freedom Convoy organizers. However, due to donor feedback, we are simplifying the process and automatically refunding donations,” the company said on twitter.
“To simplify the process for our users, we will be refunding all donations to the Freedom Convoy 2022 fundraiser. This refund will happen automatically – you do not need to submit a request. Donors can expect to see refunds within 7-10 business days.”