Billionaire Timothy Mellon has contributed nearly 98% of the donations to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s $54 million border wall fund, The Texas Tribune reported on Wednesday.
Mellon, who is based in Wyoming and the grandson of banking tycoon and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, donated $53.1 million in stock to Texas in August, according to public records.
Before Mellon’s donation, Abbott’s private fundraising campaign, which started in June, had raised only about $1.25 million in its first two months.
Mellon was a major donor to the reelection campaign of former President Donald Trump and has also in the past contributed money to defend legislation targeting immigrants.
Forbes has estimated that Mellon’s worth is about $1 billion in recent years.
Besides the contribution from Mellon, the fund has received a total of approximately $1.3 million from some 12,100 individuals.
Tax experts said that by donating stock instead of cash, Mellon could receive a significant tax benefit, according to The Texas Tribune.
"It’s common to give stock that’s increased in value because they can get rid of the gains and they can deduct the donations," Notre Dame Law School Prof. Lloyd Mayer explained.
Mellon did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
In addition to Abbott’s border wall fund, the Texas Legislature has approved almost $3 billion over the next two-year budget cycle towards security along the border with Mexico.
This includes some $1 billion going to the governor’s office for grants, of which $750 million was dedicated to construction of a border wall.
Texas and Abbott took these steps after President Joe Biden stopped funding for Trump's border fence upon entering the White House and amid the migrant crisis at the border that erupted after the new administration's change in policies toward those seeking to cross the border.
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