Who Is Billionaire Timothy Mellon? Top Border Wall Donor Previously Donated to Trump PACs

Most of the funding for Texas Governor Greg Abbott's border wall project came from 79-year-old billionaire Timothy Mellon, according to a Texas Tribune review of public donation records.

Abbott announced the border project in June, several months after President Joe Biden halted construction of the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico that former President Donald Trump encouraged throughout his presidency. Abbott said his state would "not sit idly by" amid the "humanitarian crisis" he said erupted at the border in the wake of Biden's inauguration, though he identified securing the border as "the federal government's responsibility."

By late September, donations for Texas' border wall project exceeded $54.3 million, according to Abbott's office. Following its review of donations, the Texas Tribune reported Wednesday nearly 98 percent of the funds came from Mellon.

Texas border wall Timothy Mellon
Timothy Mellon was identified Wednesday as one of the top donors to Texas Governor Greg Abbott's border wall project. Above, a portion of the U.S.-Mexico border wall is photographed on January 14, 2019, in Fort Hancock, Texas. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Mellon is the chairman of the New Hampshire-based industrial company Pan AM Systems Inc., according to Bloomberg. He is also the grandson of Andrew Mellon, the banking mogul who served as a secretary for the U.S. Treasury Department during three presidential administrations, from 1921 to 1932.

Months before the 2020 presidential election, The Washington Post identified Wyoming-based Mellon as a political donor who had by June 2020 donated an estimated $30 million to a handful of Republican political action committees (PACs). The Post's report pointed to one $10 million donation that Mellon made in April to America First Action—a super PAC that supports political candidates who align with former President Donald Trump. The PAC raised about $150 million from 2019 through 2020.

Mellon made a second $10 million donation to America First Action in September 2020, according to OpenSecrets. He donated millions more to the Senate Leadership Fund and to the Congressional Leadership Fund, super PACs focused on electing Republicans into the Senate and House of Representatives. Mellon also made smaller donations last year to a handful of candidates who ran in federal races.

Mellon began donating to political campaigns long before Trump's bid for re-election last year, but it wasn't until 2018 that he began donating significant amounts to multiple campaigns, according to the Post. However, Mellon has contributed money to support immigration-related legislation in the past. In 2010, Mellon donated about $1.5 million to support an Arizona law that allowed law enforcement officers to request individuals provide identification if authorities suspected they were in the country illegally, according to The Tucson Sentinel.

Last month, Abbott reiterated his intention to devote state resources to building his proposed border wall and signed a bill that provided nearly $2 billion in funding to improve border security in his state. On Wednesday, he was joined in south Texas by nine other Republican governors who called upon the Biden administration to take action on several border policies they recommended, including continuing construction of the wall.

Newsweek reached out to Abbott's office but did not receive a response in time for publication.