Billionaire GOP donor is funding South Dakota National Guard border deployment

“I believe in your state and Texas,” he said, calling himself “a hardcore Republican”.

He has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republicans in recent years, including Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) And Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, according to FEC records.

Noem spokesman Ian Fury said the Willis and Reba Johnson’s Foundation is providing financial support for the troops but refused to give a dollar amount due to security concerns.

When asked how a private individual can pay for a National Guard mission, Fury said in a text message, “The governor has the authority under SDCL 5-24-12 to accept a donation if she believes it is in the best interests of the country of the state is. The governor has additional powers to accept donated funds for emergency management in accordance with SDCL 34-48A-36. “

Johnson seems to have enough money to send something to secure the border, for example. In 2010 he did Bought a $ 28 million home owned by country music star Alan Jackson, which includes a 6,600 square foot home, gym, and 20-car garage. (In 2016 he has told The Tennessean: “I’m really, really rich.”)

According to the 2018 IRS of his foundation form, donated $ 1.15 million from a nonprofit organization to a Tennessee Baptist church; $ 10,000 to Hope Smiles, a Christian group that funds dental care for those in need; $ 509,000 to a nonprofit working with congenital heart disease; and $ 25,000 to the National Rifle Association.

Noem said in a statement Tuesday that she is sending up to 50 National Guardsmen to Texas in response to that state’s governor Greg Abbott, who is seeking help because of the number of migrant crossings. The guardsmen will be there for a month to two months. Other states sending aid to Texas include Iowa, Georgia, Nebraska, and Florida.

“The Biden administration failed in the most fundamental task of the federal government: to ensure the security of the American people,” said Noem in a statement. “The border is a national security crisis that requires a sustained response that only the National Guard can provide. We shouldn’t make our own communities any less safe by sending our police or Highway Patrol to solve a long-term problem that President Biden’s administration does not seem to be able or willing to solve. My message to Texas is: Help is on the way. “

A White House spokesman referred a request for comment to the Department of Homeland Security. A spokesman for the DHS did not have an immediate response.

Up for re-election next year, Noem is a likely Republican presidential candidate in 2024 and founded a federal PAC called the Noem Victory Fund last month. It also caught attention in late May for flying a Trump ally, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, to the Republican Governors Association in Nashville, Tennessee, where he was kicked out of the event.

The flood of migrants on the southern border has turned into political football, with Republicans criticizing the government for failing to declare it a “crisis” and for being slow in sending Vice President Kamala Harris to the border. Biden tasked Harris with finding a diplomatic solution to address the root causes of migration to the US.

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