FLASHBACK: Steve Bannon Once Joked That Brian Kolfage Took All Of The Border Wall Money For His Million-Dollar Yacht

[YouTube/Screenshot/Public — User: We Build The Wall]

Bradley Devlin General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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In the wake of former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and his “We Build The Wall” co-founder Brian Kolfage’s arrest on fraud charges relating to their crowdfunding campaign, a video has gone viral of Bannon joking about Kolfage’s “million dollar yacht” he bought with “all that money from Build the Wall.”

The clip is from a livestream event that featured Bannon and Kolfage in Sunland Park, New Mexico. The six-hour livestream was on the first day of a three-day “Wall-a-thon” from June 24 to June 26. Bannon, Kolfage and others raised over $460,000 dollars in the first two days of the event alone, according to the Tennessee Star. 

The live stream opened with Bannon standing in front of the wall built with funds from their crowdfunding campaign along the southern border between Sunland Park, New Mexico and Juárez, Mexico. Bannon said this section of their wall was built “over a 72-hour period in May and June” of 2019.

Brian Kolfage — who lost both of his legs and most of his right arm during his second deployment in 2014 in Iraq and received a Purple Heart — featured his 40-foot Jupiter fishing boat called “Warfighter” on his Instagram, according to Business Insider. “Warfighter” was seen taking part in a July Trump boat parade.

The indictment, made public Thursday, says Bannon received $1,000,000 from “We Build the Wall.” He used the funds in part to pay Kolfage, per the indictment.

Kolfage is accused of using $350,000 in donor funds to pay for “home renovations, payments towards a boat, a luxury SUV, a golf cart, jewelry, cosmetic surgery, personal tax payments, and credit card debt,” per the indictment. These funds were purportedly directed to Kolfage by Steve Bannon, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea through a series of shell corporations and nonprofits.

In a Thursday press release, acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said “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. While repeatedly assuring donors that Brian Kolfage, the founder and public face of We Build the Wall, would not be paid a cent, the defendants secretly schemed to pass hundreds of thousands of dollars to Kolfage, which he used to fund his lavish lifestyle.”


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The “We Build the Wall” website boasts more than $25 million in donations, with 500 thousand individual donors and 100 miles of funded wall ready to be built. The project has built only 4.5 miles of wall in two separate projects up to this point, according to Kolfage’s personal website.