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South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks to attendees at the North Carolina GOP convention on June 5 in Greenville, North Carolina. Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits / Getty Images

A Tennessee billionaire and high-dollar Republican donor is funding the deployment of South Dakota National Guard troops to the U.S. Mexico border.

Driving the news: South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, who's gaining attention as a possible 2024 presidential contender, made a splash on Tuesday with an announcement that she was deploying an unspecified number of National Guard troops to the border in Texas. A news release said the deployment "will be paid for by a private donation."

  • Noem spokesperson Ian Fury told Axios the funds are coming from a foundation run by Willis Johnson, founder of automotive salvage and auction company Copart.
  • Fury did not specify the size of the donation, which he said "was made directly to the state of South Dakota." Fury said that, "Governor Noem welcomes any such donations to help alleviate the cost to South Dakota taxpayers."
  • Johnson's connection was reported first by Insider.

Neither Johnson nor his charitable group, Willis and Reba Johnson's Foundation, could immediately be reached for comment.

  • The foundation had net assets of nearly $29 million at the end of 2018, the most recent filing period for which annual tax records are publicly available.

Between the lines: The Oklahoma-born Johnson is estimated to be worth $2.2 billion, per Forbes.

  • He's used that fortune to bankroll a number of high-profile political campaigns, including former President Trump's 2020 reelection campaign.

Go deeper

Trump says he'd "beat" DeSantis in 2024 presidential race if he ran

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and President Trump in Belleair, Florida, in July 2020. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Trump said he'd "beat" Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in a Republican presidential primary in 2024 were he to enter the race, per an interview with Yahoo Business, published Sunday.

Why it matters: Both Trump and DeSantis have been floated as likely 2024 contenders.

University of Michigan reaches $490M settlement in sex abuse case

Jon Vaughn, a former University of Michigan and NFL football player, speaks at a press conference in Ann Arbor, Mich., in June 2021. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

The University of Michigan on Wednesday reached a $490 million settlement with over a thousand survivors who allege that they were sexually assaulted by a former physician in the school's athletic department.

Driving the news: "It's been a long and challenging journey and these survivors have refused to remain silent," attorney Parker Stinar said Wednesday.

3 hours ago - Technology

3D printing's next act: big metal objects

Chief Scientist Andy Bayramian makes modifications to the laser system on Seurat's 3D metal printer. Photo courtesy of Seurat Technologies.

A new metal 3D printing technology could revolutionize the way large industrial products like planes and cars are made, reducing the cost and carbon footprint of mass manufacturing.

Why it matters: 3D printing — also called additive manufacturing — has been used since the 1980s to make small plastic parts and prototypes. Metal printing is newer, and the challenge has been figuring out how to make things like large car parts faster and cheaper than traditional methods.