Timothy Mellon, a member of the billionaire family whose wealth Forbes estimated to be worth $11.5 billion, has donated $53.1 million to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s border wall fund, the Texas Tribune reported Wednesday, accounting for almost 98% of private donations the fund has raised.
Mellon, who is based in Wyoming and owns New England railroad company Pan Am Systems, made the donation in stock in August, according to the Texas Tribune that first reported about Mellon’s contribution.
The border wall fund has raised $54.3 million as of September 28, according to Abbott’s office.
Mellon, 79, does not appear to have ties to Texas and has not donated to Abbott, according to the Texas Tribune.
However, he was one of the top donors to former President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, in one instance donating $10 million to the America First Action in April 2020, according to the Federal Election Commission.
Forbes reached out to Pan Am Systems via email for Mellon’s comment, but did not receive a response at the time of publication.
$11.5 billion. Forbes estimated the extended Mellon family was worth $11.5 billion as of December 2020, making the Mellons the 28th wealthiest clan in the U.S. The Mellons’ wealth is traced to Irish immigrant Thomas Mellon who arrived in America in 1818. He invested in real estate and banking with his income earned as a judge. One of Thomas Mellon’s sons, Andrew Mellon, who Forbes described as a “turn-of-the-century venture capitalist” further expanded the family’s wealth by purchasing equity in a company that became Alcoa and profiting from selling Union Steel to J.P. Morgan’s U.S. Steel, according to Forbes. Andrew Mellon served as U.S. Treasury Secretary between 1921 and 1932. Andrew Mellon’s nephew William Larimer Mellon also invested in Gulf Oil that Chevron acquired in 1984.
In May, Abbott used a disaster declaration for 34 counties, citing increased illegal immigration at the border, that allowed him to divert $250 million in state funds as a “down payment” to build the border wall. Abbott is seeking reelection in 2022.
Mellon was a top Republican donor in the 2020 election and supported Trump, who pushed for a border wall. Mellon said Trump “has done things he promised to, or tried to do the things he’s promised to,” according to his interview with Bloomberg last year. Mellon has stayed out of the public spotlight to the point that, the New York Times reported, Republican operatives had to search his name online before accepting his contribution ahead of the midterm elections in 2018. Mellon reportedly spends most of his time on his ranch in Wyoming.
Timothy and Patricia Mellon were named No.10 on a list of top 12 political mega donors, according to a report by Issue One, a nonpartisan center for Responsive Politics, which tracks money in federal elections. Timothy and Patricia Mellon contributed $70 million mostly to Republican candidates and Super PACs between January 2009 and December 2020, the report said. Casino mogul Sheldon and Miriam Adelson were the largest Republican donors with donations totaling $523 million, according to the report.
Billion-Dollar Dynasties: These Are The Richest Families In America (Forbes)