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Donor Pays for State to Send Troops to Border

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem announces National Guard deployment
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 29, 2021 2:50 PM CDT

(Newser) – South Dakota National Guard troops are being sent to Texas to help "secure" the border with Mexico, says Gov. Kristi Noem, the latest GOP governor to announce a border deployment. Florida, Iowa, and Nebraska are sending law enforcement officers, but Noem, a potential 2024 White House contender, says the National Guard is needed. "The border is a national security crisis that requires the kind of sustained response only the National Guard can provide," Noem said Tuesday, per the Hill. "We should not be making our own communities less safe by sending our police or Highway Patrol to fix a long-term problem."

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Noem said the initial deployment of 50 troops for 30 to 60 days will be funded by a private Republican donor. The governor said details of exactly what their mission will involve are still being finalized. Noem's office identified the donor as Willis and Reba Johnson’s Foundation, founded by Tennessee-based billionaire Willis Johnson, a frequent GOP donor. Democratic state Sen. Reynold Nesiba accuses Noem of using a donor as "political cover" and says he is looking into whether it is legal to fund the deployment that way, the AP reports. "This could set a dangerous precedent to allow anonymous political donors to call the governor and dispatch the Guard whenever they want," Nesiba says. (Read more South Dakota stories.)

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