Earlier this month, the Texas Observer reported that a company with ties to the Trump administration won a massive state contract to build parts of a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border.
American Oversight began investigating the Trump administration’s work with the company, Fisher Sand and Gravel, in 2019. The firm is headed by Tommy Fisher, a GOP donor and Trump ally, and was awarded more than $2 billion in federal contracts to help build the former president’s desired border wall. It was also involved in We Build the Wall, the crowdfunding scheme to construct a border wall whose leaders — including former Trump adviser Steve Bannon — were later convicted of fraud.
As the Observer reported, Fisher later hired former Trump administration officials Mark Morgan, who was the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, and Thomas Homan, the former director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, to lobby the state of Texas as Gov. Greg Abbott sought to continue the wall-building effort.
Last year, American Oversight obtained documents from CBP about Fisher and We Build the Wall. The records include a redacted memo from June 20, 2019, titled “We Build the Wall & Fisher Industries.”
Another memo about a July 2019 border wall meeting between acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan and Sen. Kevin Cramer, a North Dakota Republican who had received thousands in campaign contributions from Fisher and his family members, noted that the senator had “suggested that DHS contract directly with private industry” and had helped set up meetings between CBP and Fisher. While Fisher’s initial bid to build the wall was rejected by the Army Corps of Engineers due to a poor track record, including missed deadlines and limited experience, the Trump administration gave Fisher Sand and Gravel a $400 million contract in December 2019.
At least one CBP employee donated to the We Build the Wall GoFundMe, according to the records, which also contain a construction and environmental impact review from the U.S. Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission, which identified numerous instances of missing or insufficient documentation.
Federal prosecutors have argued in court that the wall Fisher constructed in 2019 for We Build the Wall violated an international treaty. That wall, located on the banks of the Rio Grande in Texas, is also at risk of collapsing because of erosion. Despite this, Fisher was awarded the $224 million contract by the Texas Facilities Commission on January 4.
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