Republican Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s office sent a letter to crowdfunding site GoFundMe on Monday requesting the company preserve documents related to its deletion of a fundraiser supporting a protest against Canadian COVID-19 restrictions.
The letter, addressed to GoFundMe general counsel Kim Wilford, questioned whether GoFundMe violated Arizona laws relating to “fraud, deception, and unfair treatment” when it deleted the “Freedom Convoy 2022” fundraiser, a donation initiative intended to support individuals currently protesting Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for truck drivers and other coronavirus restrictions. Brnovich’s office demanded the company preserve all documents related to the fundraisers’ removal.
“GoFundMe is hereby on notice to preserve materials of any kind, including but not limited to, all documents, drafts, emails, voicemails, text or communication app messages of any kind, and social media communications relating in any way and all times to the Freedom Convoy 2022 fundraiser,” wrote Joseph Sciarrotta, Jr., civil litigation division chief.
GoFundMe shut down the fundraiser on Friday, informing donors it would no longer distribute donations to the event’s organizers and citing “police reports of violence and unlawful activity” as justification. The company first said it would donate the money raised by the organizers to charities, but later decided to automatically refund donations after public backlash.
Brnovich’s office cited this reversal in the letter, and it announced plans to investigate GoFundMe for its handling of the fundraiser.
Several other Republican state attorneys general, including West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrissey, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, also announced their intent to investigate GoFundMe for potentially violating consumer protection laws.
Similarly, prominent Republican members of Congress including Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan and Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn have indicated plans to further scrutinize the crowdfunding site.
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