Steve Bannon got a Trump pardon but his associates just pleaded guilty to border wall scam

Brian Kolfage and Andrew Badolato bilked Trump supporters for cash to finance their luxurious lifestyle

By Alex Henderson

Published April 22, 2022 10:18AM (EDT)

Steve Bannon, former White House Chief Strategist, attends the media conference Nordiske Mediedager 2019 in Bergen. (Gonzales Photo/Jarle H. Moe/PYMCA-Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Steve Bannon, former White House Chief Strategist, attends the media conference Nordiske Mediedager 2019 in Bergen. (Gonzales Photo/Jarle H. Moe/PYMCA-Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

"War Room" host and former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon was among the Donald Trump allies who Trump granted a presidential pardon near the end of his presidency. Bannon was facing criminal charges in the We Build the Wall case along with fellow MAGA Republicans Brian Kolfage and Andrew Badolato, who continued to face charges after Trump left the White House — and Kolfage and Badolato, Business Insider reports, have pled guilty to charges that include conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering and making false statements on a tax return.

We Build the Wall was a crowdfunding campaign for a U.S./Mexico border wall, and according to the indictment, it raised $25 million. But federal prosecutors alleged that some of the money was diverted to nonprofits linked to Bannon. Kolfage served as president of the We Build the Wall project, and both Kolfage and Badolato agreed to a plea deal with federal prosecutors in March.

Business Insider's Rebecca Cohen reports, "Prosecutors said (that) Kolfage paid himself $200,000 a month using donations during the scheme and also used supporters' money on luxuries like jewelry, an SUV, and payments for a boat. Kolfage also admitted to underreporting said donations on his tax returns to avoid paying taxes."

When Kolfage and Badolato appeared in federal court on Thursday, April 21, Cohen notes, they "apologized for their actions and admitted they knew what they were doing was wrong at the time."

Although Bannon, thanks to Trump, enjoyed a get-out-of-jail-free card in the We Build the Wall case, he is now facing unrelated charges in another matter. Bannon was charged with contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's select committee on the January 6, 2021 insurrection.


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