Landry calls for GoFundMe ‘transparency’
Published 10:43 am Tuesday, April 26, 2022
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry is helping to lead a coalition of 28 state attorneys general in urging GoFundMe to implement better disclosure policies and greater clarity in terms of service for consumers who use their platform.
The letter stems, in part, from Landry’s concern after the popular crowdfunding platform refused to honor American donations to the Freedom Convoy in Canada.
“GoFundMe’s actions against the Freedom Convoy earlier this year brought to light an extreme lack of transparency in their policies,” Landry said. “Big Tech platforms such as these must be held accountable and not be allowed to hide behind arbitrary standards that allow them to pick and choose ‘worthy’ causes.”
According to their website, GoFundMe has served over 50 million donors and helped organizers raise more than $5 billion since its launch in 2010. Individuals, businesses, and charities pay a fee of 2.2-2.9 percent, plus $0.30 per transaction. But information on the terms of service and policies — particularly related to blocking, freezing, refunding, and re-directing donations — is hard to find and unclear.
In a letter to GoFundMe, Landry and his colleagues note that “If GoFundMe is making opaque and unilateral decisions about which fundraisers are legitimate and which fundraisers to re-route donations to irrespective of initial donor choice, GoFundMe has likely crossed the line from fundraising platform to fundraiser itself. Such a role implicates significantly different regulatory schemes directed at ensuring transparency in charitable giving.”
The attorneys general also offer clear steps toward transparency and request further information from the platform including how GoFundMe investigates or analyzes fundraisers on the platform; how they determine on whether to block, freeze, re-direct or refund donations; and what happens to those donations.
Landry is joined in the letter by Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas, and their peers from Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia and West Virginia.
A copy of the letter may be found online at agjefflandry.com/Article/13025.