Billionaire Donor Paying For SD’s Border Troops Is ‘Bad Precedent,’ AR Guv Says

Screenshot/CNN

Arkansas’ Republican governor broke with his counterpart in South Dakota on Sunday, saying that using a billionaire’s private donations to pay for National Guard troops to go to the U.S.-Mexico border set a “bad precedent.” 

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) accepted a donation from auto scrap billionaire Willis Johnson to send 50 National Guard troops to the border as part of a well-publicized response from multiple Republican governors to the Republican governors of Texas and Arizona — who wrote that “the Biden Administration has proven unwilling or unable to do the job” of securing the border.

Johnson told TPM that he paid for the border deployment because “If our people don’t protect [America], then I don’t know what’s gonna happen.”

But Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) — who’s sent his own, taxpayer funded border force recently — said he disagreed with accepting donations to send troops to the border.

“This is a state function, it is something that we respond to other states in terms of disaster,” Hutchinson told CNN’s Dana Bash Sunday. 

“I would consider that a bad precedent, to have that privately funded.” 

The governor added that his opposition to donor-funded government functions didn’t cover everything: Arkansas and other state governments regularly accept private foundation money for certain government actions. 

“But in this instance,” he said, “I think it’s very appropriate that we have our pay-for by the usual state budget.”

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