OXON HILL, Md.—Heather Wilson, co-founder of the crowdfunding platform GiveSendGo, told The Daily Signal that the Anti-Defamation League, a prominent Jewish legal advocacy group, smeared her organization.
“The Anti-Defamation League defamed us [without] having any facts behind it,” Wilson said, emphasizing the word in an interview Thursday at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
She said the organization was referring to alleged extremists “who are raising funds for legal fees, because we allow that on GiveSendGo, because we allow it in the United States of America.”
The Anti-Defamation League, or ADL, did not respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment.
Wilson, whose organization allows individuals to raise funds for a wide variety of peaceful and legal causes, faulted ADL for putting out “a hit piece on GiveSendGo,” referring to a January report titled “How Bigots and Extremists Collect and Use Millions in Online Donations.”
“It said GiveSendGo was the main crowdfunder of these extremist terrorist groups and they quoted some numbers, however many millions of dollars have been raised by extremist terrorist groups on GiveSendGo, but they don’t quote any [specific] campaigns,” Wilson said. “So they might put like one or two and if you click on the campaigns they’re quoting, there’s like $400 or $250.”
Wilson said ADL never reached out to GiveSendGo for comment.
“What it comes down to, they never reached out to us,” she recalled. “Usually if you’re going to put a piece out on somebody, you want to get the other’s opinion or some talking points or, ‘What do you think?’ Give us a chance.”
Wilson said ADL faulted her organization for enabling people to raise money for their legal defenses, a key aspect of a legal system where the accused is considered innocent until proven guilty.
She admitted that her platform allows “people that have maybe done something bad, maybe not,” but she insisted that “we allow them the right to raise funds for their legal defense, we didn’t let them raise money to go do something bad.”
ADL and other critics fault the GiveSendGo platform for this, saying it is “allowing extremist terrorists on our platform,” Wilson said, “and it’s just not true unless you want to call everybody that wants to get a good defense, when they found themselves on the wrong side of the law, an extremist terrorist.”
“We can’t do that with the presumption of innocence that is supposed to take place in the United States,” she said.
Wilson told The Daily Signal that GiveSendGo is a for-profit company, but doesn’t gain its revenue by taking a cut of each donation from the person receiving the money. Instead, it asks the donor to contribute some money to GiveSendGo as well as to the person running the campaign.
This donor support sustains the platform, she said, and from these proceeds, GiveSendGo has launched a nonprofit, GiveSendGo Charities, that supports certain campaigns, such as the relief effort for East Palestine, Ohio, where a train derailment spewed toxic chemicals.
“What we’re about is finding people in need and stepping in and providing help and hope,” Wilson said.
GiveSendGo Charities donates 100% of donations to the people who need them, she said, without any processing fees. She said the charity arm has raised over $60,000 for the people of East Palestine.
“People are so upset the government hasn’t stepped in, and in some ways I get that, but … I say the government wasn’t made to do this,” she added. “I want less government. It’s such a mess right now.”
GiveSendGo does apply certain limits, excluding campaigns that would raise money for acts of violence or terrorism, fraud, or murder. The platform also excludes any campaigns raising money for abortion, which the platform considers to be a form of murder, and for child abuse, which includes experimental transgender “treatments” for children. It does, however, allow adults to raise money for their own transgender interventions.
GiveSendGo has a prayer team that contacts every person who starts a fundraising campaign on the platform and offers to pray for them. Wilson said that even atheists have accepted prayer and cried after the prayer team supported them.
Although GiveSendGo is a Christian organization, she said, it gladly welcomes non-Christians on the platform.
“Atheists are like bawling on the phone, going, ‘I just can’t believe you’re the only one who reached out,’” she said.
Wilson encouraged people to consider using GiveSendGo instead of alternate crowdfunding platforms such as GoFundMe. She said GiveSendGo also charges less in credit-card processing fees than competitors.
CPAC, the largest annual national gathering of conservative activists, runs through Saturday at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, just outside Washington in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
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