According to The Washington Post, prosecutors in New York have been looking into Bannon’s role in a $25 million fundraising effort that aimed to make good on one of former President Donald Trump’s biggest campaign promises: constructing a wall to keep migrants out of the U.S.
Federal authorities alleged in 2020 that Bannon spent nearly $1 million of the “We Build the Wall” funds on himself — paying for home renovations, a luxury SUV, a golf cart, jewelry, and other expenses — with the ex-White House adviser pleading not guilty at the time. Trump pardoned Bannon later that year.
But a presidential pardon does not preclude charges at the state level.
In a statement Tuesday to NBC News, Bannon dismissed the New York prosecutors’ allegations.
“This is nothing more than a partisan political weaponization of the criminal justice system,” he said. “I am proud to be a leading voice on protecting our borders and building a wall to keep our country safe from drugs and violent criminals.”
Many critics have argued that a complete wall on the southern border would be both costly and ineffective.
The initiative was spearheaded in December 2018 by an Air Force veteran, Brian Kolfage, who launched it as a GoFundMe campaign that elicited millions of dollars in donations over its first week. Kolfage aimed to secure $1 billion.
Bannon stepped in to help after the crowdfunding platform, questioning whether the funds were going to a legitimate construction effort, suspended the campaign. The initiative later became a nonprofit called We Build The Wall Inc.
The group eventually built a 3-mile stretch of bollard fence along the Rio Grande, along with a half-mile wall outside El Paso, Texas. Kolfage and Florida venture capitalist Andrew Badolato pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges in April and face sentencing in December. A federal case against a third organizer, Colorado businessman Timothy Shea, ended in a mistrial in June.