The term “conflict of interest” has repeatedly come up in connection with Donald Trump’s presidency, often in connection with Republicans being encouraged to hold events in Trump properties. But a different type of Trump-related cronyism is being reported in the Arizona Daily Star: according to the Star’s Curt Prendergast, a company that is helping construct a border wall in Arizona has ties to a Trump-friendly PAC (political action committee).
Prendergast reports that 30-foot steel poles being “erected” in Arizona as part of a southern border wall have the name Atlas Tube on them; Atlas Tube is a Chicago-based division of Zekelman Industries —which is run by Canadian billionaire Barry Zekelman. According to Prendergast, Barry Zekelman led a “wide-ranging effort to urge Trump and other officials to place tariffs and import quotas on steel.”
“That effort included a $1.75 million donation to a pro-Trump super PAC and meeting with Trump and others in April 2018,” Prendergast reports.
“Zekelman’s lobbying effort, detailed last May by the New York Times, included a $1.75 million donation by Wheatland Tube, also a division of Zekelman Industries, to a pro-Trump super PAC in 2018,” Prendergast explains. “Those funds made Wheatland Tube one of the largest donors to the America First Action super PAC in 2018, according to the Federal Election Commission.”
Atlas Tube, according to its website, was founded in 1984 and has steel mills in cities ranging from Chicago to Plymouth, Missouri to Birmingham, Alabama.