Over the past seven months, millions of dollars have poured into online crowdfunding accounts associated with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s unjustified crusade against the Dakota Access Pipeline. To date, the violence-plagued protest has cost North Dakota taxpayers more than $33 million dollars, and diverted countless resources to assist local law enforcement.
Through February 14, over $13.5 million has reportedly been raised for the protesters through at least 350 different online accounts setup on sites like GoFundMe and FundRazr. While the list represents some of the more serious fundraising efforts, it’s estimated that upwards of 20,000 individual campaigns exist, likely equating to millions in additional income.
So where is all of that money going? Nobody really knows.
There’s little to no accountability or transparency on how the money raised is allocated and spent. For example, the Sacred Stone Camp boasts of GoFundMe balance of over $3.1 million dollars, but where has that money gone? The camp’s founder, LaDonna Allard, says the organization is a registered 501 (c) (3) charity, but at least one exhaustive search of state and federal nonprofit registries produced no evidence to support claim.
Other six and seven figure campaigns include, “Tattoos in Support of Standing Rock” ($150,826), “Sacred Stone Legal Defense Fund” ($2,924,705), and “Veterans for Standing Rock #NoDAPL” ($1,155,780). Again, where did this money go? Has $13.2 million now just joined the abandoned mountain of trash left by protesters now threatening to contaminate the Cannonball and Missouri rivers?
Fortunately, all of that questionable funding isn’t just raising the eyebrows of everyday Americans. It also grabbed the attention of the North Dakota tax authority who recently told the Washington Times that he plans to launch an investigation if income tax forms reflective of these earnings are not submitted.
There’s one thing of which we can be sure: This disturbing story isn’t going away anytime soon.