Tennessee megadonor behind the demand to deploy South Dakota National Guard to Mexico border
Kristi Noem -- RNC screenshot

The Republican governor of South Dakota appears to have deployed the National Guard at the demand of a Tennessee GOP megadonor who agreed to pay for it.

According to a report by Insider, Kristi Noem made an announcement that she would deploy her state's troops to the Texas border. According to the news release, Noem said that the soldiers "will be paid for by a private donation."

It's drawing questions by folks wondering if it's legal for a private donor to buy American soldiers to use as his own mercenary troops.

Spokesperson Ian Fury told Axios that the donation came from Willis Johnson, who owns an auction company and salvage. They wouldn't say the amount of the donation, but it would have to be a substantial one.

When officials deployed the National Guard to Washington, D.C. after the attack on the Capitol, the price tag was nearly $500 million for two months. It included the cost of their travel, salaries, healthcare and other fees. Presumably, Johnson's contribution is less than that and for far fewer guard troops. Fury said that the donation "was made directly to the state of South Dakota." He went on to say that the governor welcomes any handouts to run their Guard.

South Dakota is closer to the Canadian border than it is to Mexico. Former President Donald Trump deployed National Guard troops to the Mexico border ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. Reports of the work the troops were doing revealed that they were mostly sitting around and doing "busy work."

Civil Rights attorney Andrew C. Laufer said that the Department of Justice would be the one to put a stop to this by seeking an injunction directing the National Guard to withdraw "as its encroaching upon the purview of the Executive branch, national security, etc."



Read the full report by Insider and see questions about it below: