Anti-pipeline activists affiliated with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have raised over $8 million on via crowdfunding websites. In a Jan. 30 memo, the Morton County Sheriff’s Department said it analyzed over 300 different campaigns setup to collect donations for a variety of causes linked to the protests in North Dakota.
“The many reports of GoFundMe appeals from DAPL protesters have led the public to wonder where the money is coming from, how it is administered and who is in charge of distributing it,” the Sheriff’s Department said. “As of January 25, 2017 Protester GoFundMe accounts have raised $8,061,614.00.”
These startling numbers come as North Dakota’s Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger said Monday that his office wants to make sure that paid protesters remember to submit their state income taxes.
“I think a lot of people think that, ‘Oh, if something goes through GoFundMe, it’s just always considered a gift.’ But it can also be used as a way to funnel money just like an employer paying a contractor,” said Rauschenberger. “It can be a way to funnel money as well, and very well could be taxable. I’m not saying it is. I’m saying it could be. And it’s really on a case-by-case basis.”
Last fall a local North Dakota media outlet discovered a Craigslist ad offering “$1,000 cash to anyone who proves they quit their job to protest full time.”
Meanwhile, as protesters turned pristine prairie into a wasteland, the State of North Dakota has spent more than $22 million responding to unlawful behavior stemming from the protest camps.