The company Trump wants to build his wall admitted to defrauding the government
Trump wants to award a lucrative contract to build his pointless and unpopular border wall to a North Dakota-based company that has been fined more than $1 million for violating environmental and tax laws, and that even admitted to defrauding the federal government, CNN reported Friday.
The company, Fisher Sand & Gravel, has already been selected to build border wall prototypes — which members of Congress such as Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) visited last month, and falsely described the prototype samples as actual segments of Trump's long-promised border wall.
But Trump has been lobbying behind the scenes to award the company what is likely to be a multi-billion dollar contract to build the real thing.
Fisher has aggressively marketed itself to Trump by appearing on Trump's favorite propaganda cable channel Fox News to make its pitch.
Fisher CEO Tommy Fisher has gone on Fox News multiple times to tout the wall and claimthat his company could build hundreds of miles of wall far faster and for much less than the Trump administration projected.
Fisher has also wooed freshman North Dakota Sen. Kevin Cramer by contributing to his campaign, after which Cramer praised Fisher's capabilities. Cramer was one of the GOP lawmakers who went on the ridiculous trip to look at the border wall prototypes that Gaetz pushed off as actual wall segments.
But Fisher has a series of legal problems in its past that would likely disqualify other companies from being awarded such a lucrative deal.
The company has received more than 1,300 air-quality violations in Arizona, where it runs a drilling and blasting company as well as an asphalt company, according to CNN.
Even more, one of the company's former co-owners, Micheal Fisher — brother of current CEO Tommy Fisher — went to prison for tax fraud. He pleaded guilty to "conspiracy to defraud the United States by impeding the [Internal Revenue Service], four counts of aiding in the filing of false federal tax returns for FSG and four counts of filing false individual tax returns," according to a Justice Department release.
Of course, it remains unclear if Trump's border wall will ever get built. A federal judge has blocked Trump's attempt to use a national emergency declaration to steal funds for wall construction that Congress had appropriated to other projects.
"In short, the position that when Congress declines the Executive’s request to appropriate funds, the Executive nonetheless may simply find a way to spend those funds 'without Congress' does not square with fundamental separation of powers principles dating back to the earliest days of our Republic," U.S. District Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. wrote in a May 24 order blocking Trump from going over Congress' head to build the wall.
Whether or not the wall ever gets built, it's disturbing that Trump would push to give a shady company a massive government contract just because its CEO praises him on Fox News.
Published with permission of The American Independent. Attribution: Emily Singer.