(The Center Square) – Several Republican attorneys general have taken action against two crowdfunding sites in an effort to protect Americans who have donated to the Canadian Freedom Convoy, a group of truckers and pro-freedom Canadians peacefully protesting against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other restrictions imposed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act, which has never been used in Canadian history, saying the blockades were “unlawful and non-peaceful protests and must end.” Trudeau ordered riot and mounted police to arrest protesters. Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Finance of Canada announcement under the Emergency Measures Act, banks can immediately freeze or suspend bank accounts without a court order and be protected from civil liability.
Ottawa Police Chief announcement“If you are involved in this protest, we will actively seek to identify you and pursue financial penalties and criminal prosecution. Absolutely. This investigation will continue for months.”
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association for follow-up, arguing: “The government has introduced an extreme measure that should be reserved for national emergencies, a legal standard that has not been met. Emergency powers cannot and should not be standardized.
The Canadian government and police response using violence against peaceful protesters sent shockwaves around the world, especially after Ottawa police reportedly mounted trampled a helpless grandmother and elder from the Mohawk Territory of Tyendinaga in Ontario. She Survived.
Attorneys General Todd Rokita of Indiana, Mark Brnovich of Arizona and Ken Paxton of Texas said they wanted to protect Americans who donated to the truckers’ cause.
The majority of Canadians who support or participate in the Freedom Convoy “have simply participated in the centuries-old tradition of peaceful protest,” Rokita said. It took action in response to a hacker who infiltrated GiveSendGo, the crowdfunding website facilitating a second round of donations to the Freedom Convoy after GoFundMe canceled a campaign that raised nearly $10 million. Brnovich and Paxton have taken action against GoFundMe Inc.
“The main goal of the GiveSendGo hackers is to stifle free speech by harassing and intimidating protesters,” Rokita said. “The Hoosiers will not be prevented from speaking out in defense of their freedoms, whether through direct participation in rallies or contributing resources to other patriots organizing the protests.”
A Canadian hacker took credit for hacking the GoFundMe website. Records of online donations made to the Freedom Convoy were obtained illegally, making public the names, postcodes and emails of donors, including those of Indians, Rokita said.
“Our data privacy team sprang into action and identified Hoosier’s victims,” Rokita said. “We are emailing them warning and advising them of what steps they should take at this stage to protect themselves – and we stand ready to help them further as much as possible.”
Of the approximately 92,000 donors, the AG’s office identified 519 Indiana residents who donated a total of $27,524. It investigates the breach and subsequent use of the data.
Anyone who believes their personal information has been compromised – by any type of breach or scam – should file a complaint at indianaconsumer.com or call the AG’s office at 1-800-382-5516, the office said.
Brnovich and Paxton made requests to GoFundMe. The California-based company initially said it was keeping the nearly $10 million in donations and redistributing them to other charities of its choosing. Then he said he would refund donations for those who submitted a form. On Feb. 7, “all Freedom Convoy 2022 donations were refunded,” the company announced.
“GoFundMe supports peaceful protest and we believe that was the intent of the Freedom Convoy 2022 fundraiser when it was created,” he said. noted. “However, following multiple discussions with local law enforcement and police reports of violence and other illegal activity, the Freedom Convoy fundraiser has been removed from the GoFundMe platform.
“The update we posted earlier provided all donors with a refund and outlined a plan to distribute remaining funds to verified charities selected by Freedom Convoy organizers. However, due to the donor feedback, we’re making the process easy for you. All donations have been automatically refunded. You can expect to see your refund within 7-10 business days.
This statement did not seem to convince the attorneys general of Arizona and Texas, who are investigating.
Brnovich’s Civil Litigation Division demanded that GoFundMe retain documents of any kind related in any way to the Freedom Convoy fundraiser. “We will protect Arizona consumers from fraud, deception and unfair treatment in all circumstances,” Brnovich said.
GoFundMe has been instructed to maintain a range of media and forms of communication, including email, voicemail, text or communication app messages, social media communications, among others, relating to its decision to remove fundraising from its platform. The company is also cautioned “to keep the records for any other intended fundraising purposes since January 1, 2020, in which it decided not to distribute funds for the intended fundraising purposes, and then redistributed the funds from fundraising or purported to return such funds to donors”.
The Texas AG Consumer Protection Division has issued Civil Investigation Requests to GoFundMe to investigate potential violations of Texas Deceptive Marketing Practices Law.
“GoFundMe’s response to an anti-warrant and pro-freedom movement should sound alarm bells to anyone using the donation platform and, more broadly, to any American wishing to protect their constitutional rights,” Paxton said. “Many Texans have donated to this worthy cause. I act to protect Texas consumers so 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. I will get to the bottom of this misleading action.
Texas CIDs require GoFundMe to provide documents to the AG’s Consumer Protection Division by afternoon on or before February 28.