Friday, August 28, 2020

The cottage industry of right-wing fundraisers ... what could possibly go wrong?

It's encouraging to see the constabulary down south finally take a serious look at the burgeoning industry of weird, suspicious and questionable right-wing fundraisers, like the absolute fraud involving former Trump senior adviser and Cryptkeeper stunt double Steve Bannon. However, it turns out there's more here than meets the eye, which is why we're here, so make yourself comfortable and let me explain.

I like to think there are two types of problematic fundraisers -- the first is the eye-rollingly, hysterically fraudulent ones like Bannon's "WeBuildTheWall" rip-off, wherein the organizers simply helped themselves to the dosh, and it's nice to see the cops finally taking stuff like that seriously, which is as it should be.

However, there is a second type of fundraiser that I have been reliably informed is starting to attract the attention of the authorities to the south, and that's the type wherein, technically, the funds collected go to the registered recipient, but the basis or rationale for the fundraiser appears to be at least a little misleading or deceptive. For examples, one need look no further than the online begathons for conservative screech harpies and conspiracy theorists Laura Loomer and Millie Weaver, and it's Weaver's fundraiser we're going to take a closer look at, as it's more recent and it brought in a pile of cash that -- according to every bit of information available -- was totally and utterly unnecessary. But let's do this slowly.

First, the indisputable facts. Weaver, recently given the boot by Alex Jones for being too much of a dingbat even for Infowars (wrap your head around that), was arrested Aug 14, 2020. A shrieky, hysterical fundraiser was immediately registered for her courtesy of none other than Rebel News' Ezra Levant, with the relentless implication that Weaver was the victim of political persection as she was about to release an apparent "bombshell" exposing the "Deep State" "conspiracy" against "President" "Donald Trump." Predictably, this inspired rubes and marks everywhere to pour money into the fundraiser, to the point where it currently sits just north of $175,000.

The truth is somewhat more mundane -- Weaver and two others were arrested for nothing more than assault and robbery for a physical confrontation with Weaver's mother, facts which have been amply documented all over the Intertoobz. Understand: this is incontrovertible -- the indictment was released on Aug 17 and everyone who read it is aware of what happened. (Aug 17: remember that date, as it's important later.) So, how did a simple case of slapping around one's mom and stealing her cell phone transmogrify into a $175,000 windfall for a total loon? Well, let's start at the beginning, where the Millie Weaver fundraiser itself gives us all the clues we need.

The first oddity is that the fundraiser is weirdly short of details in its very title:

It seems awfully convenient that the fundraiser organizer is so maddeningly value about the rationale for this particular begathon ... "legal defense fund"? For what reason? What are the charges? One might almost suspect deliberate vagueness to keep the rubes guessing. And further down that same page, again, a lack of specifics but the definite implication that all this money is necessary in the name of journalism:

In short, while the fundraiser is maddeningly short on actual specifics, it is certainly doing its best to leave a particular impression. In any event, onward.

Here's the very first update, published the very day of Weaver's arrest (it would be impolite to speculate how quickly fundraisers like this magically appear ... so I won't):


And here's the main oddity related to that Aug 14 update. While the indictment against Weaver was not released until Aug 17 (again, remember that date), surely Weaver would have been told the reason for her arrest; I'm fairly sure that's required by law. And if she knew, then it would seem only logical that she would mention that to whoever was about to register a fundraiser on her behalf. And yet ... and yet ... nothing. Ezra talks about "connecting with legal counsel," yet not one word about the actual charges against Weaver. That just seems ... odd. But it gets odder.

Here's fundraiser organizer Ezra Levant the very next day, crowing over all that dosh, and yet ... still no details about the indictment. Surely, a former lawyer with years of experience fundraising and defending barking mad loons like Weaver would have, by now, asked to see the actual charges. And yet ... and yet ... nothing ... while the fundraiser happily leaves donors with an undeniably mistaken impression as to what's happening. But it's the second update from that same day of Aug 15 that is the capper, as you can read this at the very bottom:

I'm sorry ... what? After an entire day, fundraiser organizer Ezra Levant still insists he has no idea what the charges are? Even more appallingly, as you can read, he openly admits to being utterly uninterested: "I do not have any reliable information about the charges against her, but that's irrelevant to me --"

Pause with me for a second -- what you see above is fundraiser organizer Ezra Levant, being grilled by GoFundMe about the details of the fundraiser he's organized, openly admitting that he doesn't know the backstory and, more critically, he simply doesn't care.

The mind reels. But we're not done here, as here is the third update, still from Aug 15:

I draw your attention to Ezra's assurance that Weaver's family friend Matt "gave me a briefing and we talked legal strategy" [emphasis added]. Which raises the obvious question -- how in the name of Mutt does a former lawyer and current fundraiser organizer "talk legal strategy" without knowing any of the details of the indictment? How is that possible? And remember, only earlier that day, Ezra assured GoFundMe that he did not know any of the details of the indictment, but he also had no interest in them. Yet here he is the very same day "talking legal strategy." How does that work? But there is one more point worth making.

Remember that the indictment against Weaver was released on Aug 17, at which point everyone and their ferret suddenly learned about how mundane this whole case was, with many, many, many, many, many, many, many people turning on Weaver and her fundraiser with words like "scam" and "fraud". One need not take my word for it, when Twitter is always happy to help.

At which point we can wrap things up by remembering that the indictment was released to the public on August 17, 2020, which is -- in a weird coincidence -- the date of the very last update on that fundraiser. I mean, it's not like anyone would want to finally admit to all those donors the contents of the released indictment -- probably best to just walk away and let the money keep rolling in, which is apparently just what happened.

So, are we done here? Yeah, we're done here. And if you really want to support legitimate, independent journalism (i.e., me), hey, there's a fundraiser. But you knew that, right?

AFTERSNARK: It's amusing that, even back on Aug 17, people had a good idea of what was up. I'm just saying.

YOU KNEW THIS WAS COMING: Having been exposed for the huckster that she is, Weaver sobs inconsolably and plays the victim card. Readers are having none of it.

SOMETIMES, THE JOKES JUST WRITE THEMSELVES: Rebel News will now lecture you on financial irregularities. No, really.

"THE GRIFT THAT KEEPS ON GRIFTING": How delightfully descriptive.

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