Kristi Noem raises ethical concerns with privately bankrolled National Guard border deployment

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  john-russell  •  one month ago  •  60 comments

By:   Jon Skolnik (Salon)

Kristi Noem raises ethical concerns with privately bankrolled National Guard border deployment
The mission, funded by a billionaire GOP megadonor, appears to be the first of its kind in American history

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem announced Tuesday that she will deploy up to 50 National Guard troops to the Mexico-U.S. border - a mission not funded by South Dakota or the federal government but a billionaire GOP megadonor with a staunch commitment to "protect America."

"The Biden Administration has failed in the most basic duty of the federal government: keeping the American people safe,"Noem, a Republican, said. "The border is a national security crisis that requires the kind of sustained response only the National Guard can provide.

"We should not be making our own communities less safe by sending our police or Highway Patrol to fix a long-term problem President Biden's Administration seems unable or unwilling to solve. My message to Texas is this: help is on the way."

The deployment, which will reportedly last between 30 and 60 days, is currently being bankrolled by Willis Johnson, the founder and chairman of Copart Inc., a global corporation that facilitates vehicle auction and remarketing services.

Johnson, who hails not from South Dakota but Tennessee, told Politico that he's "trying to help out the governor and help America."

In another interview, The Capital Journal asked Johnson whether he thought it was appropriate for a private donation to sponsor military action. "This is America, buddy. I fought in Vietnam," he responded. "I don't think this is a, this is America. It's not private. You sound real negative. I don't want to talk to you, bye."

The megadonor's philanthropic organization, the Willis and Reba Johnson's Foundation, has in the past donated to a number of churches and the National Rifle Association, according to 2018 tax filings uncovered by The Washinton Post. The Daily Beast also found that the foundation has also given money to Alpha Pregnancy Center, which advises women against having abortions. Individually, Johnson has donated to the campaigns of various Republicans, including Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, and former president Donald Trump.

Though the billionaire told The Post that 100% of the investment will go to Noem's border mission, it remains unclear precisely how large the donation was.

Noem's move has sounded alarms amongst military ethics and policy experts not only because it circumvents established levers of state power, but because the South Dakota governor is also on the shortlist of potential GOP presidential candidates in 2024.

Asked whether the governor has the legal authority to launch a privately-funded national security mission of this nature, Noem spokesperson Ian Fury told Politico: "The Governor has authority under SDCL 5-24-12 to accept a donation if she determines doing so is in the best interest of the State. The Governor has additional authority to accept donated funds for emergency management under SDCL 34-48A-36." The Army Times noted that the privately bankrolled mission appears to be the first of its kind in American history.

Currently the U.S. has stationed roughly 3,600 National Guard troops along the southern border. The troops were originally sent there as part of a Trump administration directive back in 2018 to address what he referred to multiple times as an "invasion" of Central American immigrants attempting to cross the border by caravan. The Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security continue to work in concert to secure the border.

Last month, the U.S. saw a record 180,000 border crossings, a surge that has sparked concern from mainstream Democrats and Republicans alike. Over the past year, the Biden administration has fought to unwind many of Trump's more stringent border policies, though the recent uptick has emerged as a complicating factor in finding more permanent policy solutions.


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JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1  seeder  JohnRussell    one month ago

This sounds more like a vigilante deployment than a national security deployment. 

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Masters Expert
1.1  Greg Jones  replied to  JohnRussell @1    one month ago

It is a national security deployment.

Only partisan fools would think otherwise

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
1.1.1  Bob Nelson  replied to  Greg Jones @1.1    one month ago

C'mon, Greg... let's think this through together... 

Who decides immigration policy - or any other policy - in America? The precedent that's being set here is "Anyone with billions of dollars can set policy and hire the US Army to enforce it."

Is that really what you want?

You may like this particular immediate result - National Guard on the border - but who knows what the next billionaire will want?

 
 
 
r.t..b...
Masters Participates
1.1.2  r.t..b...  replied to  Bob Nelson @1.1.1    one month ago

“Who decides immigration policy…”

Exactly.

Feel free to excoriate any administration’s policy as you must, but it is dangerous to defend any individual politician (and thus their backers) usurping that policy for purely self-serving intentions. We are still a federation of states and acknowledge state’s rights, but this is entirely a federal issue.

And South Dakota of all places? Tertiary impact at best, primarily and obviously political on its face. 

 
 
 
XXJefferson51
Senior Guide
1.1.3  XXJefferson51  replied to  Greg Jones @1.1    one month ago

I like it!  She saved her state tax payers the cost and meets a national security need at the same time. I love it how all these Republican governors are sending their own states law enforcement to Texas and Arizona to support them when the federal regime will not.  

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Masters Guide
1.2  Thrawn 31  replied to  JohnRussell @1    one month ago

Yeah, definitely sets a concerning precedent.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
1.3  Tessylo  replied to  JohnRussell @1    one month ago

Indeed!  I was going to post this the other day.  These scummy republicans think the National Guard are their own paramilitary goons for hire.  

Also, what the hell is trumpturd doing at the border and talking to Abbott?  

 
 
 
XXJefferson51
Senior Guide
1.3.1  XXJefferson51  replied to  Tessylo @1.3    one month ago

They are in fact the states national guard until the federal government calls them to active duty.  

 
 
 
XXJefferson51
Senior Guide
1.3.2  XXJefferson51  replied to  Tessylo @1.3    one month ago

Why do you care what a private citizen is doing and where and who he’s talking to?  

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
1.3.3  Tessylo  replied to  XXJefferson51 @1.3.1    one month ago

So why the fuck are they sending them to the border?

They're not for hire to these republican scum.  

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
1.3.4  Tessylo  replied to  XXJefferson51 @1.3.2    one month ago

He's not the fucking 'president'.  He has no place there.  

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
1.3.5  Texan1211  replied to  Tessylo @1.3.3    one month ago
So why the fuck are they sending them to the border?

To do what needs to be done----which the Biden Administration refuses to do.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
1.3.6  Texan1211  replied to  Tessylo @1.3.4    one month ago
He's not the fucking 'president'.  He has no place there. 

Yeah........you don't get to decide who goes where in America.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
1.3.9  Bob Nelson  replied to  Tessylo @1.3.3    one month ago
They're not for hire to these republican scum.

South Dakota's governor hires out "her" mercenaries. 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1.3.10  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Tessylo @1.3    one month ago
what the hell is trumpturd doing at the border

Running for president. He's going to do it for the next four years. 

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
1.3.11  Tessylo  replied to  JohnRussell @1.3.10    one month ago
"what the hell is trumpturd doing at the border"

"Running for president. He's going to do it for the next four years."

I forgot!  So he can line his pockets with their money for another four years!

Suckers!

A fool and their money . . . 

 
 
 
XXJefferson51
Senior Guide
1.3.12  XXJefferson51  replied to  Tessylo @1.3.4    one month ago

He was invited by the governor of Texas. It’s still despite Bidens best effort to the contrary a free country so Trump can go wherever he pleases and say what he’s thinking there.  

 
 
 
XXJefferson51
Senior Guide
1.3.13  XXJefferson51  replied to  JohnRussell @1.3.10    one month ago

That’s right. Trumpism lives on!  

 
 
 
Hallux
Freshman Principal
2  Hallux    one month ago

It's aboot time you Yanks turned the National Guard into a private military ... Fence Force One ... Foohrah Fubar Ole!

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
3  Kavika     one month ago

So now the NG is a mercenary unit.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
4  seeder  JohnRussell    one month ago

There 3600 National Guardsmen on the border already, but she thinks 50 more will make a difference. Privately funded by a conservative billionaire no less. 

This is a publicity stunt to keep her name in the news as she positions for a possible 2024 presidential run. 

A little thing like it's ethical dubiousness won't deter a go-getter like Kristi Noem. 

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Masters Expert
4.1  Greg Jones  replied to  JohnRussell @4    one month ago

So what is Biden doing about the problem, other than pretending that it doesn't exist?

 
 
 
Hallux
Freshman Principal
4.1.1  Hallux  replied to  Greg Jones @4.1    one month ago

He's not doing a Kristi Kabuki dance for starters.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
4.1.2  Texan1211  replied to  Greg Jones @4.1    one month ago
So what is Biden doing about the problem, other than pretending that it doesn't exist?

Oh, come on.

Joe put Ms. Harris in charge, and now the non-existent crisis has been solved and all is well at the border.

Pretty much any progressive liberal could have told you that.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
4.1.3  Bob Nelson  replied to  Greg Jones @4.1    one month ago

Whattabout? 

Whattabout?

Whattabout? 

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Masters Guide
4.1.4  Thrawn 31  replied to  Greg Jones @4.1    one month ago

So other than bitching about Biden, what do you think about rich guys hiring the national guard for their own purposes?

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
4.1.5  Texan1211  replied to  Thrawn 31 @4.1.4    one month ago

What is the rich guy getting out of it?

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Masters Guide
4.1.6  Thrawn 31  replied to  Texan1211 @4.1.5    one month ago

Don’t know don’t care, the principle behind it is my only concern. Our military (yes the NG and reserves are included) should in no way, shape, or form be made/permitted to conduct ANY operation funded by or at the behest of a private citizen or any person not acting outside of their official government capacity. And yes, that includes funding for any operation.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
4.1.7  Texan1211  replied to  Thrawn 31 @4.1.6    one month ago

The reason I asked that specific question was your unsupported claim that he was doing it for his own purposes.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
4.1.8  Texan1211  replied to  Thrawn 31 @4.1.6    one month ago

It is a far cry from paying for something and ordering something.

Let me know when the dude who is paying ordered anything.

Scratch that---get back to me when you can supply proof instead of just making wild accusations.

 
 
 
XXJefferson51
Senior Guide
4.1.9  XXJefferson51  replied to  Greg Jones @4.1    one month ago

Biden is the problem.  It was largely fixed until he deliberately effed it all up.  

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
4.1.10  Tessylo  replied to  XXJefferson51 @4.1.9    one month ago

No trumpturd was the problem.  He fucked up everything and tried to burn it down as he waddled out of the White House

 
 
 
Snuffy
Junior Quiet
4.1.11  Snuffy  replied to  Texan1211 @4.1.5    one month ago
What is the rich guy getting out of it?

Possibly nothing. But there is a history of rich people providing funding to up & coming politicians in the hopes of future favors. And you have to admit that Kristi is an up & comer.  

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Masters Guide
4.1.12  Thrawn 31  replied to  Texan1211 @4.1.8    one month ago

You are willingly not understanding the problem and I am not going to waste my time explaining when I already know you are not interested in an honest conversation, because you never are.

 
 
 
XXJefferson51
Senior Guide
4.1.13  XXJefferson51  replied to  Hallux @4.1.1    one month ago

Well the states I was born in and I got my college education in are both also sending NG and or LE to Texas and Arizona.  

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
5  seeder  JohnRussell    one month ago

the great Charlie Pierce weighed in

==============================

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem Sends National Guard to Border With Billionaire Funding (esquire.com)

Excuse me, but just what in the unholy, unshirted, bearded  fck  is this all about, then? From the AP (via the  Military Times ):

[South Dakota Governor Kristi] Noem joined a growing list of Republican governors promising to send law enforcement officers to Texas as the GOP ramps up a political fight with President Joe Biden over border security. The issue has drawn a host of prominent GOP figures: Former President Donald Trump was expected to travel to the border this week and Republican governors from Arkansas, Florida, Nebraska and Iowa have all committed to sending law enforcement officers for border security.
Noem’s spokesman Ian Fury said the governor decided to fund the deployment with a private donation “to help alleviate the cost to South Dakota taxpayers,” but declined to provide estimates on the cost of the deployment, citing “security reasons.”
Willis and Reba Johnson’s Foundation made the donation directly to the state, Fury said. Willis Johnson, a Tennessee-based billionaire, is the founder of an online used-car auction called Copart. He regularly makes large contributions to Republicans, including $200,000 to the Trump Victory Committee last year.

This is just crazy-go-nuts for a lot of reasons. First of all, having the wingnut welfare apparatus funding think tanks and nurturing Ben Shapiros and Brett Kavanaughs is one thing. But using that money essentially to rent out another state’s National Guard as a private army for a political stunt to benefit the Republican Party and the future political plans of the governor of South Dakota is one very long step down a road that other republics have traveled, never to be seen again. As an important politician once observed, no man can truly be called rich if he can’t maintain his own army on his income. That was Marcus Licinius Crassus, one of the central figures in Rome’s long slide from republic to empire. Of course, he didn’t have a billionaire used-car salesman to foot the bill for him.

Pan out and things get far more serious. Here we have a cabal of Republican governors using their law-enforcement apparatus—and now, their National Guard troops—in a coordinated exercise in political gamesmanship, if not outright sabotage. The exercise is independently funded to prevent political blowback at home. What’s to prevent this band of ghouls from putting this kind of thing together to take more, ah, “active” measures against the administration in the future? The last time governors decided to use their states’ military as an argument in national politics, people wound up ducking behind things in Fort Sumter. People like Kristi Noem don’t care, but they are activating forces in this country that they don’t understand, and that they never will be able to fully control. Biden should federalize the South Dakota National Guard immediately and then order it to stay where it is. Let Noem scream into the prairie winds about it. This is a lot bigger than her futile ambitions.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
5.1  Tessylo  replied to  JohnRussell @5    one month ago

Look at this monster that trumpturd and the gqp and all of his hateful racist supporters/enablers have created.  Unfreakingreal.  

"Biden should federalize the South Dakota National Guard immediately and then order it to stay where it is. Let Noem scream into the prairie winds about it."

EXACTLY RIGHT!

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
5.1.1  Texan1211  replied to  Tessylo @5.1    one month ago
"Biden should federalize the South Dakota National Guard immediately and then order it to stay where it is. Let Noem scream into the prairie winds about it."

Just because Joe has a pen and a phone doesn't mean he can do that. There are laws about that!

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
5.1.2  Tessylo  replied to  Texan1211 @5.1.1    one month ago

The NG aren't her personal goons for hire

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Masters Guide
5.2  Thrawn 31  replied to  JohnRussell @5    one month ago

What I am wondering is how in the fuck is this NOT illegal? I mean maybe because no one thought someone would actually try to turn the NG into a mercenary outfit and a governor would go along. Either way this needs to be shut down immediately.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
6  Bob Nelson    one month ago
we have a cabal of Republican governors using their law-enforcement apparatus—and now, their National Guard troops—in a coordinated exercise in political gamesmanship, if not outright sabotage.

I'm wondering what the soldiers are thinking. They've been hired out as mercenaries. Did they sign up for that? 

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
7  Bob Nelson    one month ago

From Politico :


GOP donor funds South Dakota National Guard troops in Texas
Gov. Kristi Noem joined a growing list of Republican governors promising to send law enforcement officers to Texas

512 South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said Tuesday she will use a donation from a Republican donor to fund a deployment of up to 50 South Dakota National Guard troops to the U.S. border with Mexico.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks at CPAC in Orlando, Fla.
AP Photo/John Raoux, File

Noem joined a growing list of Republican governors promising to send law enforcement officers to Texas as the GOP ramps up a   political fight with President Joe Biden   over   border security . The issue has drawn a host of prominent GOP figures: Former President Donald Trump was expected to travel to the border this week and Republican governors from Arkansas,   Florida ,   Nebraska   and   Iowa   have all committed to sending law enforcement officers for border security.

Noem’s spokesman Ian Fury said the governor decided to fund the deployment with a private donation “to help alleviate the cost to South Dakota taxpayers,” but declined to provide estimates on the cost of the deployment, citing “security reasons.”

Willis and Reba Johnson’s Foundation made the donation directly to the state, Fury said. Willis Johnson, a Tennessee-based billionaire, is the founder of an online used-car auction called Copart. He regularly makes large contributions to Republicans, including $200,000 to the Trump Victory Committee last year.

Johnson said he approached Noem about making a donation after hearing about Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's border barrier push. He figured Texas “has plenty of money” so he decided to help Noem, who governs a state with a significantly smaller budget. He also said he had no plans to donate to other states to send law enforcement officers to the border.

Johnson added that he would have preferred to stay anonymous but that Noem's office told him they had to at least disclose his name. He declined to say how much he was giving.

“America gave a lot of money to get that border wall done,” Johnson said. “It takes private individuals now.”

Noem, a potential presidential contender, drew a distinction between her decision to send the National Guard and other governors who are sending state police officers.

“The border is a national security crisis that requires the kind of sustained response only the National Guard can provide,” she said in a statement. “We should not be making our own communities less safe by sending our police or Highway Patrol to fix a long-term problem President Biden’s Administration seems unable or unwilling to solve.”

But Democratic state Sen. Reynold Nesiba said the fact Noem is using a donor to pay for the deployment shows it is not a “real priority” for the state, but instead gives her “political cover.” He said he was looking into whether using a private donation to fund the deployment is legal.

“This could set a dangerous precedent to allow anonymous political donors to call the governor and dispatch the Guard whenever they want,” he said.

The federal government usually pays for National Guard deployments to other states. When troops respond to an in-state emergency, they are paid from state government funds, according to Duke Doering, a historian with the South Dakota National Guard Museum. He said he had never heard of a private donor funding a deployment.

“This kind of floors me, when you’re talking about a private donor sending the Guard, that doesn’t even make sense to me,” Doering said.

The South Dakota National Guard is expected to deploy for 30 to 60 days, Noem said, while the other states involved are sending law enforcement officers for roughly two-week stints.

Abbott this month announced plans to build more barriers along the border. Abbott's new push has been criticized as political theater, but he defended the plan, saying the number of border crossers remains high. The governor said he will use   $250 million in state   money and crowdsourced financing for the barriers, although the timeline and cost for the push are unclear. It also faces potential court challenges from the federal government.

Meanwhile, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday authorized a 90-day deployment of up to 40 National Guard troops to the border. His office said the deployment is not being paid for by a private donor.

Iowa has   sent about 25 State Patrol officers   to the border under a national interstate mutual aid network called an Emergency Management Assistance Compact. Under the compact, Texas has agreed to reimburse Iowa for the expense of the state troopers, though Iowa is paying expenses for the state troopers initially. The Iowa National Guard also has 24 soldiers providing assistance to law enforcement at the border under a federally-funded activation in response to a Trump administration request in October 2020.

A spokesman for the Nebraska State Patrol, which has sent   25 troopers to Texas , said it has not received any private donations for the deployment.

Large numbers of migrants   have been showing up at the U.S. border with Mexico, with many turning themselves over to U.S. Border Patrol agents in seeking legal asylum status. But the numbers of families and children traveling without their parents crossing into the U.S. have dropped sharply since March and April, while the encounters with single adults have remained high.
 
 
 
XXJefferson51
Senior Guide
7.1  XXJefferson51  replied to  Bob Nelson @7    one month ago

Trump was beautiful at the border yesterday as well as at the nationally televised Town Hall there last night.  What a wonderful sight that was!  

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
8  Texan1211    one month ago

Msn, does this ever twist some progressive liberal panties!

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Masters Guide
8.1  Thrawn 31  replied to  Texan1211 @8    one month ago

Should twist everyone’s. Try  on NG to think outside of your partisan bullshit for a second and look at the broader implications. What would you think if George Soros started hiring the national guard to do his bidding and a governor went along?

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
8.1.1  Bob Nelson  replied to  Thrawn 31 @8.1    one month ago

"Owning the libs" is far more important than any dumb "principle"... 

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
8.1.2  Texan1211  replied to  Thrawn 31 @8.1    one month ago
What would you think if George Soros started hiring the national guard to do his bidding and a governor went along?

Sorry, I don't waste time on silly scenarios dreamt up by someone, nor do I get all worked up over this stuff.

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
8.1.3  JBB  replied to  Texan1211 @8.1.2    one month ago

Go tell a tourist who has not witnessed your hysterics regarding AOC and Ilhan Omar...

You are constantly worked up about bullshit!

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
8.1.4  Texan1211  replied to  JBB @8.1.3    one month ago

One day, hopefully soon, you will be able to discern the difference between voicing an opinion and being hysterical.

That's okay, I know you are following the sterling example set by one of your faves--AOC--in calling things hysteria when it isn't.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
8.1.5  Tessylo  replied to  Bob Nelson @8.1.1    one month ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
8.1.6  Bob Nelson  replied to  Tessylo @8.1.5    one month ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
8.1.7  Tessylo  replied to  Bob Nelson @8.1.6    one month ago

Same thing. . .

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
8.1.8  Texan1211  replied to  Bob Nelson @8.1.6    one month ago

Who ARE these folks you claim are fascists?

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
8.1.9  Tessylo  replied to  Texan1211 @8.1.8    one month ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
XXJefferson51
Senior Guide
8.2  XXJefferson51  replied to  Texan1211 @8    one month ago

Indeed!  Lol!  

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
9  seeder  JohnRussell    one month ago

Kristi Noem Waiting For Trump To Serve Her Lunch

800

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
9.1  Tessylo  replied to  JohnRussell @9    one month ago

Yup, they're all on their knees for the trumpturd.  Does she have a tramp stamp too?

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
9.1.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Tessylo @9.1    one month ago

I think she's Sarah Palin without the sense of humor. 

 
 
 
XXJefferson51
Senior Guide
9.1.2  XXJefferson51  replied to  JohnRussell @9.1.1    one month ago

She’s been an excellent congress woman for 8 years and now is a great governor.  

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
9.1.3  Tessylo  replied to  XXJefferson51 @9.1.2    one month ago

No she is a loyal trumpturd dick sucker

 
 
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