WASHINGTON (TND) — Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, says he has asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to begin investigating crowdfunding platform GoFundMe, after it shut down a fundraiser for a convoy of Canadian truckers protesting vaccine mandates.
"Today I sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission asking that the FTC open an investigation into GoFundMe into whether they've committed deceptive trade practices," Cruz said on Fox News’s "Sunday Morning Futures" with Maria Bartiromo.
The popular for-profit crowdfunding platform recently froze fundraising efforts from the “Freedom Convoy” and its supporters. At the time of the shutdown, the group of Canadian truckers, upset over cross-border vaccine mandates and other COVID-19 restrictions, amassed more than $10.1 million CAD in donations, according to Fox News.
The shutdown came amid rising tensions and reports of alleged unlawful activity in Ottawa, where the convoy had begun assembling roughly a week and a half ago, according to The Washington Post. Ontario Premier Doug Ford called the assembly “an occupation,” according to USA Today, and one media report called the group’s assembly in Ottawa “reminiscent of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last year.”
As the activity surrounding the protest evolves, we have been monitoring the fundraiser to ensure the funds are going to the intended recipients and that the fundraiser remains within our Terms of Service,” the company said in a Feb. 2 statement.
Two days later, on Feb. 4, GoFundMe said in a statement it had shut down the fundraiser “following a review of relevant facts and multiple discussions with local law enforcement and city officials."
The company indicated in the statement it planned “to send all remaining funds to credible and established charities verified by GoFundMe.”
Cruz told Bartiromo those donating money to the group were promised it would be given to the Freedom Convoy and “not to whatever left-wing political ideology GoFundMe and other Silicon Valley companies support.”
“They are deceiving consumers and it is wrong," Cruz added.
In addition to Cruz, Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis said on Feb. 5 that he and his state’s attorney general would investigate GoFundMe for its actions.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk also slammed the crowdfunding platform for its actions, pointing out a potential double-standard.
Following the backlash, GoFundMe reversed course on Feb 5. The company said following “donor feedback” it would be “simplifying the process” and “automatically” refunding all donations directly back to their contributors, rather than distributing them to charities chosen by GoFundMe.