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North Dakota contractor Tommy Fisher and his company, Fisher Industries, has received $2 billion in border wall contracts from the Trump administration. 

Over the past nine months, Fisher has become Trump’s go-to builder at the border, The Washington Post reports. Prior to this, however, his company was unsuccessful in repeated attempts to land a border wall contract.

According to the report, for two years, Fisher Industries was often passed over by the Army Corps of Engineers in favor of more qualified firms with experience “in building border walls.”

Fisher’s luck changed when the group We Build the Wall, led by former Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon, contacted him in April 2019 about a project in New Mexico. Fisher accepted and led a group that constructed three miles of now-crumbling border fence along the Rio Grande. Despite sharp criticism over the shoddy work, his partnership with the group, as well as his ties to GOPers close to the president, allowed Fisher to rack up government contracts. In December 2019, he secured a $400 million contract. In May he bagged a $1.3 billion award, and in August he received a $289 million contract. 

Read More: Steve Bannon, Trump’s former White House adviser, arrested in fraud scam

Bannon, meanwhile, was arrested last month on charges that he and three others ripped off donors through We Build The Wall, theGRIO previously reported. 

Federal prosecutors alleged that Bannon and three others “orchestrated a scheme to defraud hundreds of thousands of donors” in connection with an online crowdfunding campaign that raised more than $25 million to build a wall along the southern border of the United States.

According to the indictment, Bannon promised that 100% of the donated money would be used for the project, but the defendants collectively used hundreds of thousands of dollars in a manner inconsistent with the organization’s public representations.

The indictment said they faked invoices and sham “vendor” arrangements, among other ways, to hide what was really happening.

Fisher is not named in the indictment, and he denies being the unnamed “associate 2” who is said to be cooperating with investigators. 

“Absolutely not,” Fisher said in a wide-ranging interview with The Washington Post. “We’ve never been talked to by the government, the FBI or the Justice Department.”

He also claims to not have had any dealings with We Build The Wall since January.

“Everything got cut off, and they didn’t pay any more,” Fisher said of Bannon’s group. “At that point, we pretty much cut ties.”

Fisher said he will continue building the steel barrier at the border unless he’s told to stop, as Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has pledged to halt construction of the wall. 

“I’m just proud to be part of securing the southern border, as an American,” Fisher said.

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U.S. Court Lets House Move Forward With Challenge to Trump's Border Wall

By Jan Wolfe

(Reuters) - A federal appeals court handed a win to the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday, saying the Democratic-led chamber could proceed with a lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump's diversion of funds to pay for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Reversing a lower court judge, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said in a 3-0 decision that the House had legal standing to sue Trump for using money to build the wall that was appropriated by Congress for other purposes.

The case now returns to a lower court, where House Democrats will argue that diverting the funds violated the separation of powers doctrine laid out in the U.S. Constitution.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice, which argued for the administration in the case, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The wall was Trump's signature 2016 campaign promise, and at the time he insisted that Mexico would pay for it. Mexico never agreed to that and has not done so.

The three-judge panel cited an Aug. 7 ruling by the same court that a House panel could sue to enforce a subpoena issued to former White House Counsel Don McGahn. That case was later dismissed on other grounds.

In February 2019, after a protracted political battle and a government shutdown, Congress approved $1.38 billion for construction of “primary pedestrian fencing” along the border in southeastern Texas, well short of Trump’s demands.

To obtain additional funds for the wall, Trump declared a national emergency and his administration said it planned to divert $601 million from a Treasury Department forfeiture fund, $2.5 billion earmarked for Department of Defense counterparties programs and $3.6 billion from military construction projects.

(Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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