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(51,034 posts)
Thu Aug 20, 2020, 06:39 PM Aug 2020

Bannon's indictment confirms that the American right is made up of con artists [View all]


If you thought Stephen K. Bannon was going to end up in handcuffs, you might have predicted that it wouldn’t be for a small-time con. After all, Bannon went from running a far-right online publication to the heights of U.S. conservatism, first as CEO of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign and then as “chief strategist” in the White House. He even had ambitions to take his political project global.

But it turns out that the scheme that Bannon has just been criminally charged with is indeed a species of penny-ante grift. Yet it’s the sort of grift the American right has been running on its own voters for decades, which makes this absolutely fitting:

Federal prosecutors in New York on Thursday unsealed criminal charges against Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, and three other men they alleged defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors using an online crowdfunding campaign that was advertised as raising money to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico.

In a news release, prosecutors said Bannon and another organizer of the campaign, Air Force veteran Brian Kolfage, claimed they would not take any compensation as part of the campaign, called “We Build The Wall,” but that was a lie. Bannon, prosecutors alleged, received more than $1 million through a nonprofit he controlled, sending hundreds of thousands out to Kolfage while keeping a “substantial portion” for himself.

If you’re keeping score, the group of people around the president who have been charged with crimes now includes Trump’s campaign CEO, Trump’s campaign chairman, Trump’s deputy campaign chairman, Trump’s personal lawyer, Trump’s national security adviser and Trump’s longtime friend and political adviser.


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