Tom Tancredo’s “We Build The Wall” Scam–Busted!

UPDATE #2: President Trump responds, sort of, to questions about why all of his top advisers keep facing criminal charges:


UPDATE: Among the indicted is a Colorado resident, Timothy Shea of Castle Rock, who allegedly ran the shell company that paid off the conspirators with funds raised to build the wall:

To conceal the payments to Kolfage from “We Build the Wall,” the men allegedly devised a scheme to route those payments from the campaign to Kolfage indirectly through a nonprofit and a shell company under Shea’s control, among other avenues.

Here’s a 9NEWS story from December of 2019 quoting Tim and Amanda Shea as a nice suburban couple who knows tech and are just trying to help ‘Merica:

Amanda Shea and her husband Tim live in Castle Rock and said they helped create the GoFundMe with Kolfage.

According to Shea, she met Kolfage three years ago and eventually developed a conservative news website with him.

When Kolfage had the idea to set up a GoFundMe to help fund the border wall, Shea said she was immediately on board.

“He is just the face of it, because he’s really good at that, and I do a lot of the backend stuff,” Shea said during a Skype interview.

The “backend stuff.” Like cutting checks.


Steve Bannon, Tom Tancredo pitch “We Build The Wall.”

AP and Scripps report via Denver7:

Federal prosecutors allege that [Former White House adviser Steve] Bannon and three others “orchestrated a scheme to defraud hundreds of thousands of donors” in connection with an online crowdfunding campaign that raised more than $25 million to build a wall along the southern border of the United States…

To induce donors to donate to the campaign, court documents say Kolfage repeatedly and falsely assured the public that he would “not take a penny in salary or compensation” and that “100% of the funds raised . . . will be used in the execution of our mission and purpose” because, as Bannon publicly stated, “we’re a volunteer organization.”

Those representations were reportedly false. In truth, prosecutors say 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.

Steve Bannon.

The collapse of the “We Build The Wall” scam has resulted in the indictments of four individuals including former Donald Trump advisor Steve Bannon, who allegedly skimmed hundreds of thousands in spending cash for themselves from the $23 million raised by the group. Not indicted, at least not yet, is Colorado’s highest profile member of the “We Build The Wall”–former Rep. Tom Tancredo, who as Jason Salzman of the Colorado Times Recorder reported back in 2019 was very enthusiastic about the project:

[Tancredo’s] at it again now, sitting on the advisory committee of “We Build the Wall,” an organization that’s just completed building a half mile of wall along the southern border near El Paso, Texas.

Also on the advisory committee of We Build the Wall is former Trump adviser Stephen Bannon, former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, and other immigration hard liners.

The group used a GoFundMe campaign to raise over $23 million after Trump couldn’t get Congress to pay for the longer wall.

As Tanc told Westword’s Patty Calhoun:

“The border patrol says it’s the best barrier on the border,” Tancredo says. “I am absolutely proud of it. I’m almost hoarse from talking about it on the radio.” [Pols emphasis]

No doubt Tancredo raised a ton of money for “We Build The Wall” talking himself hoarse about it on the radio–but the question on the minds of Coloradans today is, how much cash did Tanc take for himself? Like we’ve learned from the Jared Polis recall cash cow and the Independence Institute’s high-commission “crowdfunding” site Freedomfy, raising and distributing the money is literally the whole operation.

If Tancredo really got conned by Steve Bannon into enlisting his “good name” with no consideration on the back end, we feel a bit badly for him. Tanc missed out on how all the smart Colorado Republicans are beating the high cost of living these days! After all, a felony conviction never stopped Doug Bruce.

We’re keen to hear Tancredo’s side of the story. At the very least, we assume he’s no longer “absolutely proud.”

16 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. NOV GOP meltdown says:

    Very fine people.  Only the best !

  2. kwtree says:

    Tancredo endorsed  and did radio ads for Lauren Boebert, so she’s contaminated by this, too. 

  3. 2Jung2Die says:

    Stolen from Twitter: "Kris Kobach is the general counsel of the Build the Wall PAC… The advisory board includes Erik Prince, former CO congressman Tom Tancredo, Sheriff Dave Clarke and former pitcher Curt Schilling." Lots of cross-contamination here, plus Schilling clearly let designated hitters hit for him during part of his career.

  4. MADCO says:

    Tim Shea Castle Rock


    Sounds familiar. Has he been a R fundraiser long? Campaign experience?

  5. harrydoby says:

    Is this the same wall, or yet another scam from yet more charlatans?

    He Built a Privately Funded Border Wall. It’s Already at Risk of Falling Down if Not Fixed.

    Trump supporters funded a private border wall on the banks of the Rio Grande, helping the builder secure $1.7 billion in federal contracts. Now the “Lamborghini” of border walls is in danger of falling into the river if nothing is done, experts say.

    • harrydoby says:

      I just found the answer to my question (birds of a feather do actually fly together!):

      “We said it was too close to the water, erosion would be an issue, the location made no sense,” Patrick said. “Now we risk the thing falling down in a big storm/flood.”

      We Build the Wall founder Brian Kolfage took to Twitter on Sunday to defend the project after Hanna struck, claiming there had been no additional erosion, saying it was all fake news and that the wall “is going nowhere suckers.” A since-debunked viral video claimed to show a part of the border wall falling over during the storm, but it was actually from a construction site near Deming, New Mexico.

      The conservative nonprofit, which counts former Trump political strategist Steve Bannon as a board member, has raised more than $25 million to help Trump build his wall along the southern border and contributed $1.5 million toward Fisher’s South Texas project.

      For Javier Peña, an attorney representing the National Butterfly Center, the amount of sediment that washed away over the weekend is “mind-boggling.”


    • JohnInDenver says:

      Other articles are making the connection between the scammers and that bit of wall. 

      Here's hoping the Colorado Department of Revenue and AG's office get looped in in order to see if there have been violations of state tax, corporation, and criminal laws.

  6. RepealAndReplace says:

    Let me play devil’s advocate….

    is it really a serious crime since all they did was fleece a bunch of ignorant xenophobic  deplorables out of money otherwise wasted on booze, cigarettes and ammo?

  7. MADCO says:

    "I have no idea"

    I bet $50 @80:1 that he would disavow knowing them or what they did.
    Specifically – I don't know Steve Bannon, wasn't involved in hiring him and wasn't aware of what he was doing day to day –
    I lost.


    But I got $50 on even money that he will blame this kind of scandal on Obama spying or her emails and the fake russia investigation –

  8. ParkHill says:

    From Mark Sumner at Daily Kos:  Is the entire American conservative movement just one big scam?:

    Steve Bannon is a scam artist. Roger Stone is a scam artist. Paul Manafort is a scam artist. Rudy Giuliani is a scam artist. Jerry Falwell, and Kenneth Copeland, and Joel Osteen, and Paula White, and a long list of other televangelists are scam artists. David Clarke is a scam artist. Alex Jones is a scam artist. David Daleiden is a scam artist. James O'Keefe is a scam artist. 

    A quick glimpse of the boards of any of the organizations involved, or a reference to all the “institutes” and “think tanks” that provide an endless stream of talk show guests, recycled lobbyists, and Republican politicians bouncing around in the safety net shows that the same names come up over and over again. The same right-wing figures constantly vouch for each other’s importance and knowledge. The same right-wing “experts” are dredged up to give opinions on science, when they know nothing about science, or explain health care, when they have no interest in health care, or simply fill the airwaves with confusion when there’s no better strategy.

    QAnon, with its worldwide conspiracy of Satan-worshipping pedophiles (not to mention its bigfoot and space Nazi offshoots), isn’t true. But it is real—as real as every other scam in the Republican universe. Right now you can absolutely bet that quite a few someones are pocketing millions over Q-related nonsense.

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