Former Phillies pitcher Curt Schilling is listed as part of the advisory board for the “We Build the Wall” fund-raising campaign that former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and three associates are accused of defrauding.
The indictment, unsealed Thursday, alleges that four leaders of the campaign to build a wall along the Mexico-U.S. border — Bannon, “We Build the Wall” founder Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato, and Timothy Shea — defrauded donors and took steps to hide the scheme when they learned their actions were under investigation.
Several other prominent supporters of President Donald Trump are listed as members of the campaign’s advisory board, but are not charged or mentioned in the indictment, including Schilling, former Milwaukee County (Wis.) Sheriff David Clarke, former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, and former Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo.
Schilling joined the nonprofit in January 2019, saying in a news release he was “an early donor” to the fund-raising campaign. Shortly thereafter, he traveled to the border as part of a group of “MAGA all-stars” to promote the fund-raising effort, which raised more than $20 million on GoFundMe.
“Gotta tell you the fun for me is getting to read all the tweets from the ‘know it all’ legal experts who say it can’t and won’t happen. Not only can it, it already IS happening and I’ll say it one more time. It’s real and it’s spectacular,” Schilling wrote on Twitter in February 2019.
It’s unclear if Schilling and other board members were aware of the alleged attempts to defraud the campaign. Schilling, Clarke, and Kobach did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Tancredo could not be reached.
“As alleged, the defendants defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors, capitalizing on their interest in funding a border wall to raise millions of dollars, under the false pretense that all of that money would be spent on construction,” the acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Audrey Strauss, said in a statement about the four indicted.
“We Build the Wall” is one of seven clients that paid Kobach’s law firm $5,000 or more since January of 2019, according to the Kansas City Star. Kobach promoted his involvement with the nonprofit during his failed Kansas Senate race.
It funded the construction of a half-mile private barrier in Sunland Park, N.M., last year, which the town’s mayor has said has had no impact on border crossings.
“It is always the case, where you have outsiders coming in thinking they have a solution,” Sunland Park Mayor Javier Perea told BuzzFeed News in June 2019. “Building the wall won’t change the source of the problem.”
The nonprofit also contributed $1.5 million to a border wall project in South Texas that is now at risk of falling into the Rio Grande due to runoff erosion, a ProPublica investigation found.
Schilling pitched for the Phillies for eight seasons. He won three World Series titles — two with the Boston Red Sox and one with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Since retiring 11 years ago, the six-time All-Star has transformed into a conservative firebrand and outspoken Trump supporter. In 2019, he flirted with the idea of running for Congress in Arizona.