A fundraiser for the person who filed a complaint against President Donald Trump based largely on a phone call Trump made with the Ukranian president has raised over $130,000 as of the morning of Sept. 27.
The complaint from the person—who has been described as a whistleblower but did not have direct knowledge of the call, instead passing on second-hand information—was released on Thursday, a day after the transcript of the call between Trump and Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky was released.
Some 3,700 people have chipped in money so far to help the person who filed the complaint, with money going to Whistleblower Aid, a group that offers money to people who filed whistleblower complaints against Trump.
According to the group, the money will help cover the person’s legal expenses. If there are extra funds, they’ll go towards Whistleblower Aid’s budget.
“The whistleblower took a great personal risk to defend our democracy, and did not do this for politics or personal gain. We need to have the whistleblower’s back,” according to a group from Whistleblower Aid, including founder and CEO John Tye.
Andrew Bakaj and Mark Zaid, the attorneys representing the person who filed the complaint, are members of Whistleblower Aid’s team.
In the statement on the GoFundMe page, which was signed by Bakaj, Zaid, and Tye along with others, the team said: “We are so proud of Andrew and Mark. We can’t imagine a better team to protect the anonymous intelligence officer, and bring their disclosures to light.”
We would appreciate any and all support US citizens can give. https://t.co/mqoJ8cTvJR
— Mark S. Zaid (@MarkSZaidEsq) September 26, 2019
Bakaj used to work for three Democratic lawmakers, including Trump’s 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton. The inspector general of the intelligence community found evidence indicating the so-called whistleblower had “arguable political bias … in favor of a rival political candidate.”
In a statement on Twitter, Zaid said the fundraiser is legitimate.
“I can confirm this fundraising effort for the #whistleblower by @wbaidlaw is completely legit. We would appreciate any and all support US citizens can give,” he said.
Opposing Trump in a highly public manner has been lucrative for a number of people.
A GoFundMe for Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer who later turned on the president, raised over $500,000. Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director, who was fired for lying to investigators, also received more than $500,000 from a GoFundMe.
Cohen is in prison on tax evasion and McCabe recently joined CNN as an analyst.
Such funds have garnered criticism from some. Jonathan Turley, Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University, wrote in an op-ed about the money for McCabe that the narrative that McCabe was fired hours before retirement to rob him of his pension was false and that he will likely get a pension of about $2 million.
“It is not the creation of the GoFundMe page for McCabe that is concerning but its timing. Leading charity watchdogs demand full transparency and information so that ‘consumers or donors’ are not ‘snookered,'” Turley wrote.
“If the public learns that McCabe’s wound was self-inflicted, or even criminal in character, do they get their money back? Not likely.”