A total of $17,313,633 had been donated by 284,843 individuals in just 9 days as of late afternoon December 26, to fund part of the border wall. The campaign is a GoFundMe appeal started by U.S. Air Force veteran and triple-amputee Brian Kolfage. His campaign has more information at www.WeFundTheWall.com. A parallel appeal by the American Border Foundation has raised another $191,755 at www.FundTheWall.com.
Attempting to discourage this effort, Democrats and the mainstream news media are arguing that the government is not allowed to accept donations for a specific purpose, Congress would have to vote on it, and — to subtly sow doubts — “it isn’t clear” how this would work. The surge of popular support undercuts the narrative of open borders activists that the border wall is not popular or that support for Trump is eroding.
Criticism from ABC News, Democrats and others that it isn’t clear how this would work doesn’t mean that the organizers have doubts. Brian Kolfage declares that his group has contacts discussing the plans with the Trump Administration. The American Border Foundation claims to have an even more extensive plan worked out.
So can private donations help build Trump’s border wall with Mexico? I will say yes, as an attorney for 21 years, having worked for both Judicial Watch and Larry Klayman’s current Freedom Watch, and worked for five years in the federal government including in budgeting and expenditure issues.
First, let’s start with the clincher: Who would object? Courts state and federal have been waging a war on citizens who want to hold their government to the law. Courts keep raising the bar on who has “standing” to bring a lawsuit in court, closing the door on the courts to the citizens.
So imagine this: Citizens raise, oh, I don’t know, $100 million to donate towards a section of the border wall. The organizers tender payment of the money to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (or perhaps the Army Corps of Engineers). President Donald Trump says yes, take it. The agency receives the funds. They are not complaining.
Left-wing organizations will rush to the nearest federal judge. What “standing” do they have to object? If I withhold from you $1,000 I owe you, you have been aggrieved. If I give you $1,000 you did not expect or have any right to, how have you been harmed? So if the federal courts follow their own oft-repeated rules on why citizens cannot require the government to follow the law, they will have to find that no one has standing to object to a windfall.
Second, however, it has long been the law that private citizens can donate to the government. In 2012, a billionaire donated $7.5 million to help rebuild the Washington monument after the August 2012 Virginia Earthquake. Most of the legal authority focuses on when a taxpayer can deduct a donation to the U.S. Treasury from his or her income taxes. Most legal discussion involves general donations to reduce the national debt. Believe it or not, the Bureau of the Public Debt gets a lot of private donations every year.
Laws and regulations specific to different departments and agencies provide different rules. For example, the regulations for the U.S. Department of Defense provide procedures unique to helping soldiers and sailors. Some legal authority pertains to donating to medical research, museums, libraries, or schools.
The governing laws and regulations for DHS are silent on the use of gifts. It is neither prohibited nor provided for. There is no general rule for the U.S. Government as a whole. For some departments, gifts are allowed only if they are “unconditional” — that is, donated to the general fund not targeted to any particular activity. Other departments do allow “conditional” gifts for a particular purpose.
DHS explicitly permits such donations at the directive level. DHS Directive Number: 112-02 Issued on February 11, 2008, “Gifts To The Department Of Homeland Security” explicitly states in Section V: “E. DHS may accept gifts to carry out program functions regardless of whether or not appropriated funds are available for that purpose, provided such expenditures are not barred by law or regulation.” (The American Border Foundation deserves the credit for finding this gem.) Note that Congress slightly amended related laws in 2010 after this 2008 Directive, which is generally interpreted to mean that Congress accepted the 2008 Directive, which it left undisturbed.
There are regulations and laws that appear to prohibit donations but those involve situations in which accepting the donation for a specific purpose would thereby obligate the department to draw upon other funds in addition to the donated funds to carry out the project.
[UPDATE: An alert commentator on this article at Free Republic reminds us of President Ronald Reagan’s appeals for students to send in their pennies to restore the Statute of Liberty and Ellis Island. The private donations to save Lady Liberty were so extensive that “they wrote a book about it,” The Statue of Liberty: A Transatlantic Story. A private foundation raised $100 million towards the $230 million budget, of which $63 million came from corporate deals negotiated largely by Lee Iacocca. See Corporations Saved the Statue of Liberty: A new book details how corporate America pitched in big time when Lady Liberty needed a facelift. H/T McGavin999]
Third, Congress has already voted to build a border wall. The Secure Fence Act of 2006 both authorizes and requires the building of physical barriers along the entire Southern border, except where the natural topography creates a physical barrier naturally. The word “fence” should not confuse us. The law requires DHS to determine whatever is necessary to completely prevent any unauthorized entry. So in the 2006 law, “fence” is explicitly defined to mean “whatever it takes.” The law is not limited to a fence, but requires a complete barrier to entry into the United States without permission. It merely leaves it to DHS to decide in each location given the terrain what is appropriate in each section.
Fourth, GoFundMe has elaborate procedures and requirements. The money will not be released without verification that the money will be delivered to the purpose that was promised to donors. GoFundMe is prepared to automatically refund donations if proper release of the funds is not confirmed, since donations are by credit card.
A person raising money on GoFundMe (and similar sites) does not get any of the money until the fund-raising campaign is finished. Brian Kolfage is not getting any of this money now. GoFundMe will verify distribution of the money to it intended purpose before $1 is released.
Therefore, if for some reason the money cannot be used by the Trump Administration to build the wall, dedicated with certainty to the promised purpose, the funds will be returned automatically by GoFundMe by reversing the credit card charges.
[UPDATE: One should also place this in context, when Democrats are insisting they support border security in general (clearly they do not). Democrats call for at most a “virtual wall” of sensors, drones, etc. However, a virtual wall can be turned off on a moment’s notice. A wall cannot be taken down. The reason Democrats would grudgingly accept a virtual wall is because they can shut it off and re-open the border within minutes of a Democrat President being sworn in.]
For the Democrats, everything is at stake. Recall that Democrats have pinned all their hopes on future demographic changes in the U.S. electorate. Democrats live in the world of stereotyping based on race. Therefore, Democrats believe that all Hispanics will vote the same way as a group. All Blacks. Women are being vote-shamed for having their own individual opinions and harassed for not voting for the Democrats.
Democrats are convinced that change is coming. See: Joshua Holland, “Can Democrats Count on Demographic Shifts to Put Them Back in Power?,” The Nation, January 18, 2017. This fundamental transformation of America’s voters is an article of faith among Democrat thinkers. See John B. Judis and Ruy Teixeira, The Emerging Democratic Majority, Scribner Book Company, 2004.
For Democrats, this is a fight they cannot afford to lose And for conservatives it is a fight we must win. Whether or not the United States of America continues to exist is on the line.
Sinaloa Cartel Suspects Arrested at Border for Carrying $3.5 Million in Cash and Massive Amounts of Cocaine and Fentanyl
Drug Cartels Will Have a Field Day During a Biden Administration
On November 24, 2020, the Justice Department published a press release on how three Mexican citizens suspected of trafficking enormous quantities of illegal drugs for the Sinaloa Cartel received charges in federal court. This case is likely the biggest seizure of ammunition, cash, and narcotics in the district.
Jesus Burgos Arias, Juan Alatorre Venegas, and Jose Yee Perez were arrested on November 20, 2020. This arrest was the product of a joint investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, San Diego Police Department, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California, that set its sights on individuals connected to the Sinaloa Cartel.
During these arrests, agents confiscated roughly $3.5 million in cash, 685 kilograms of cocaine, 24 kilograms of fentanyl, and about 20,000 rounds of .50 caliber ammunition and hundreds of body armor vests at a truck yard in Otay Mesa.
In a complaint filed in federal court, the defendants received a drug trafficking conspiracy charge. The defendants were transferred from the San Diego Central Jail to federal custody and made their first appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barbara L. Major.
“This historic seizure and prosecution is a clear indication of the success of our joint investigative efforts,” declared U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer. “To eradicate this threat to San Diego and our partners in the Republic of Mexico, we will continue to aggressively attack the Sinaloa Cartel’s drug smuggling, money laundering, and arms smuggling operations – depriving them of their illegal merchandise, their profits, and a safe haven.” Brewer gave praise to prosecutor Matthew J. Sutton and the federal and local agents and officers for their diligence in this case.
“Thanks to the collaborative work with our state and federal law enforcement partners, we are able to announce this blow to the Mexican Cartels operating in San Diego,” remarked DEA Special Agent in Charge John W. Callery. “We are further encouraged that we were able to separate them from their dangerous .50 caliber ammunition and over $3 million in drug proceeds that they have gained through selling death here in our community and throughout the US.”
“This seizure is significant not just because of its size, but because it demonstrates the direct correlation between narcotics, illicit money, and guns that drives violence in our communities and destroys lives,” stated Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Cardell T. Morant. “HSI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners and prosecutors to aggressively pursue the Sinaloa Cartel and other transnational criminal organizations.”
“The Sheriff’s Department is committed in working with our justice partners throughout the region to combat the dangerous drugs and violence associated with narcotic trafficking,” commented San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore. “Sheriff’s deputies see the destruction and damage that illegal drugs cause every day. We are proud of what this case has accomplished, and the continued work being done to hold these criminals accountable.”
The Southern District of California led an investigation over the past five years that resulted in the aforementioned case being brought forward. The overall investigation has brought charges against over 125 people and has greatly affected the global operations of the Sinaloa Cartel.
The investigation started in late 2011 when authorities busted a small-scale drug distribution cell in National City and Chula Vista. After substantial investigation, law enforcement discovered that the Sinaloa Cartel was involved and the case morphed into a massive investigation that crossed state and national lines. The broader case led to dozens of arrests and seizures of 1,397 kilograms of methamphetamine, 2,214 kilograms of cocaine, 17.2 tons of marijuana, 95.84 kilograms of heroin, and $27,892,706 in drug-related funds.
With the Biden administration coming into power, similar cases will abound as it becomes clear that border security will become an afterthought during a Biden presidency.
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