Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The butterfly sanctuary impacted by Steve Bannon's border wall scam is having a good day

The butterfly and the beast.
The butterfly and the beast.
Photo: Michael Sewell Visual Pursuit (Getty Images), Alessandra Benedetti-Corbis (Getty Images)

Steve Bannon, the melting candle that once advised Donald Trump, was arrested on Thursday alongside three others for bilking a gaggle of MAGA chuds out of whatever money they hadn’t already blown on Iraqi dinars. The scam? A crowdfunded border wall spearheaded by veteran and noted grifter Brian Kolfage, who soon pivoted the GoFundMe into an organization called We Build the Wall. Kolfage’s fundraiser netted more than $25 million, all of which was supposed to go toward wall construction. But according to documents unsealed by the Department of Justice on Thursday, a considerable portion of it was used to line the pockets of Kolfage, Bannon, and their collaborators. We know. You’re shocked.

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Sure, Trump will probably pardon them all by next week and everyone will just be fine with that, but we’re nevertheless enjoying this brief window where it seems like some rich pieces of shit might actually pay for defrauding poor people. Nobody, however, is enjoying it more than Mission, TX’s National Butterfly Center, which was nearly destroyed by the damage their shitty, three-mile portion of wall would do to the area’s vegetation.

As legal battles raged between Kolfage and the center, the pair engaged in bouts of online sparring in which Kolfage baselessly accused the refuge of being in league with Mexican drug cartels and participating in a “rampant sex trade.” Today, after news of the arrests hit social media, the center took a moment to issue a well-earned laugh.

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“From the beginning, we said this was a Bannon scheme to raise dark money for the administration,” the center’s official account tweeted. “We are sure there will be more coming out...Just wait!!! Oh, and SUCK IT, @BrianKolfage.”

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Suck it, indeed. According to The Daily Beast, Kolfage and Bannon’s scheme was just getting started. The next phase, apparently, was to use the personal data We Build The Wall had acquired to start a Republican fundraising firm.

With those plans in flux, we turn our eyes to the pretty butterflies. Per National Geographic, the Lower Rio Grande Valley where the center is located is home to one of the highest concentrations of butterflies in the U.S. We hope each and every one takes a moment to perch on the prison windows of these guys. In the meantime, why not throw a buck or two their way?

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Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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