Texas attorney general Ken Paxton said he’s launching an investigation into GoFundMe following the company’s decision to take down a fundraising effort for an anti-vaccine mandate protest in Canada. Paxton’s Civil Investigative Demand, which comes on the heels of mounting Republican outrage over GoFundMe, will probe to determine whether the crowdsourcing company violated Texas’ Deceptive Trade Practices when it reportedly blocked around $9 million in donations meant for the so-called “Freedom Convoy.”
“GoFundMe’s response to an anti-mandate, pro-liberty movement should ring alarm bells to anyone using the donation platform and, more broadly, any American wanting to protect their constitutional rights,” Paxton said in an emailed statement. “Many Texans donated to this worthy cause. I am acting to protect Texas consumers so that they know where their hard-earned money is going, rather than allowing GoFundMe to divert money to another cause without the consent of Texas citizens.”
Prior to the investigation, Paxton took to Twitter claiming GoFundMe “went woke,” (whatever that means) and froze the movement’s funds. In reality, the GoFundMe removed the campaign from its platform after Ottawa police had launched several criminal investigations following alleged threatening and illegal behavior by the demonstrators, The Washington Post notes.
Paxton’s move comes days after a group of GOP lawmakers over the weekend vowed to investigate the company’s decision. For some context, the Freedom Convoy itself began as a movement to protest Canada’s vaccine requirement for cross-border truckers but quickly morphed into a conservative smorgasbord. Prominent Republicans voiced support for the movement including former President Donald Trump. Then, last Friday, GoFundMe made the decision to shut down the Freedom Convoy’s fundraising page claiming it had violated the site’s terms of service for promoting violence and harassment. On Sunday, the site said it would refund all donations made to the fundraisers after initially saying some funds might be distributed to verified charities chosen by the Freedom Convoy 2022 organizers.
That hasn’t satisfied some Republican lawmakers and prominent right-wing figures who have since called for boycotts of the site and, in some cases, accused the company of engaging in fraud.
“I will get to the bottom of this deceitful action,” Paxton said in his statement.
It’s possible more investigations are on the way. Last week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who suggested the company engaged in fraud, said he was looking into working with the state’s attorney general to open their own investigation.
You can read Paxton’s Civil Investigative Demand here: