Because Trump repeatedly failed to secure border wall funding even while Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress and even after causing a government shutdown over it, a group of right wing personalities and grifters got together and created a crowdfunding campaign to build a private border wall.
Now, I think we all kind of assumed that the private border wall involved a significant amount of grift and graft, but it turns out some of it was actually criminal.
The leaders of "We Build The Wall," including Trump's former campaign CEO and chief strategist Steve Bannon, have been indicted for using money from the campaign to pay their personal bills and fund their lavish lifestyles.
From the Southern District of New York:
Inspector-in-Charge Philip R. Bartlett said: “The defendants allegedly engaged in fraud when they misrepresented the true use of donated funds. As alleged, not only did they lie to donors, they schemed to hide their misappropriation of funds by creating sham invoices and accounts to launder donations and cover up their crimes, showing no regard for the law or the truth. This case should serve as a warning to other fraudsters that no one is above the law, not even a disabled war veteran or a millionaire political strategist.” [...]
In truth, KOLFAGE, BANNON, BADOLATO, and SHEA received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donor funds from We Build the Wall, which they each used in a manner inconsistent with the organization’s public representations. In particular, KOLFAGE covertly took for his personal use more than $350,000 in funds that donors had given to We Build the Wall, while BANNON, through a non-profit organization under his control (“Non-Profit-1”), received over $1 million from We Build the Wall, at least some of which BANNON used to cover hundreds of thousands of dollars in BANNON’s personal expenses.
Co-fraudster Steve Bannon was reportedly arrested this morning while he was on a boat in Connecticut. Bannon faces charges of wire fraud and money laundering.
The bigger story behind this story may be the fact that Bannon and his cohorts were indicted by Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss.
Trump's Attorney General William Bar recently tried to remove Strauss from the order of succession by forcing out her predecessor in the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman, less than two months ago. Barr's plan didn't work, but he had to have known this indictment was in the works and the timing of Barr's actions is very suspicious.
Was Barr trying to squash this indictment before it could happen? I suppose you could call that a conspiracy theory, but it's certainly a theory informed by what we've seen from the Trump regime and Barr himself in the last year. I suspect we'll learn the truth someday, but probably not until Barr is gone.
It strikes me that the anti-immigrant movement in the United States as a whole is largely if not entirely a grift. From this private border wall to the private, for-profit prison companies that house kids in cages on behalf of the United States government, someone is making money from every corner of it; someone is getting rich off it.
Your average racist American donates money to causes like "We Build The Wall" because they hate brown people, but the people actually running the show are getting rich from white supremacy whether they personally hate brown people or not.