CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect more donations than originally reported.
Leaked data from the crowdfunding site GiveSendGo appears to show that at least 25 people with Niagara-on-the-Lake addresses donated to the “freedom convoy” of truckers that tied up downtown Ottawa with three weeks of protests over COVID-19 safety regulations.
Of the donations, 23 appear to have come from the L0S 1J0 area code, one from L0S 1P0 and one from L0S 1J1.
While the data, leaked by a hacker, has not been confirmed by GiveSendGo, it appears to match the donations from a “Freedom Convoy 2020” campaign launched in February, after the original GoFundMe campaign was closed by Canadian police for being associated with illegal activities.
Several other news outlets have also confirmed the data appears to be accurate.
The Lake Report also obtained a Google map of the data, which appears to show three donations to the convoy from Niagara-on-the-Lake addresses. The map has since been taken down.
The exact addresses are not publicly known, however the site includes the name, email and IP address of the donor, the amount contributed and any associated comment.
One donation appears to have come from someone calling themself Jonathan Postman, who lives in the area of Stewart and Church roads in rural NOTL. The associated address on the map is linked to GMC Aluminium Products.
Along with a $200 donation, the contribution attributed to Postman says, “Jesus Christ is Lord!! Lord bless these truckers and keep the events peaceful!”
However, when reached by phone Tuesday, a man named Jonathan Postman told The Lake Report he didn't make the donation and that he does not support the convoy.
“I don't think that was me,” Postman said. “I'm against the truckers, so I would never put a donation.”
He said he thinks everyone should get their vaccine to help end the COVID pandemic as soon as possible.
“Most of the people have got the vaccine. Why won't they? Are they special?” Postman said.
“I think we should do our part. Everybody should get a vaccine and get it over with to move on with our normal lives. Otherwise if some people don't get the vaccine, this will be dragging on forever.”
Postman said he was unaware of anyone else who might have made the donation in his name.
The Lake Report reached out via email to the other two donors, but they did not respond before deadline Wednesday.
GiveSendGo is a Christian funding platform that has been used to raise money for controversial figures and groups such as teenaged shooter Kyle Rittenhouse, the Proud Boys and political funding for Jan. 6 insurrection in the U.S. Unlike GoFundMe, the site appears to actively be encouraging people to donate to the campaign.
On its Twitter page, the company posted messages such as: “To the people who are continuously taking a stand for freedom – YOU are making a difference in the world! This movement sets a foundation for people now and for future generations. You are not only inspiring people to stand up for their freedoms but actually taking action.”
The company also responded to the data leak, saying it's seeking to track down the hacker.
“Sunday evening, Feb. 13, GiveSendGo was attacked by malicious actors attempting to eliminate the ability of its users to raise funds. There was a broadcasted breach showing one such actor illegally hacking into GiveSendGo and distributing the names and emails of the donors of the Freedom Convoy campaign. However, no credit card information was leaked. No money was stolen,” the company wrote.
GiveSendGo shut down its site temporarily when the hack was discovered and said it is trying to identify “these malicious actors and pursuing actions against their cybercrime.”
“We are in a battle. We didn't expect it to be easy. This has not caused us to be afraid. Instead, it's made it even more evident that we cannot back down,” the company said and thanked its supporters.
It said it is holding the money in an undisclosed U.S. bank account and is taking steps to prevent the Canadian government from freezing the funds and officials are “actively discussing the legal options for getting the funds where they need to go.”
In total, the data revealed more than 40 per cent of the money came from U.S. residents.
Tony Baldinelli, MP for the riding of Niagara Falls, which includes Niagara-on-the-Lake, condemned foreign interference in Canadian political affairs.
“Deliberate foreign interference in Canadian affairs should be a concern for all of us. In fact, the Standing Committee of Public Safety and National Security has already begun its investigation into foreign funding, and I look forward to monitoring this study closely,” he said in response to questions from The Lake Report.
“Over the past several years we have had several protests and blockades take place, from environmental groups blocking pipeline construction to rail blockades and, in fact, the need for government with the support of all political parties, to pass recent legislation to prevent the harassment of health care professionals. Foreign funding of these types of activities should be looked into.”
With the implementation of the Emergencies Act, the Canadian government now can freeze bank accounts of people and businesses associated with the fundraiser.
— This story has been updated to remove the names of two people who The Lake Report could not reach before press deadline.