Award-winning television program "60 Minutes" took a look at a story this blog has followed for months: The saga of Dickinson, N.D., contractor Fisher Industries and its efforts to secure billions of dollars in government contracts. The story focused on Fisher's building of a border fence along the Rio Grande River near Mission, Texas.
Fisher Industries and CEO Tommy Fisher have secured about $2 billion in contracts to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, largely by pandering to President Donald Trump and constructing two prototype walls near Mission and Sunland Park, N.M.
It's a complicated tale we've chronicled on this blog. Fisher worked with a non-profit named We Build the Wall, whose top executives like Steve Bannon and Brian Kolfage were recently indicted on federal fraud charges.
Much of the "60 Minutes" piece was a rehash of earlier reporting, much of it done by the Texas Tribune and ProPublica, but it did not paint a positive picture of Fisher Industries, its CEO Tommy FIsher or North Dakota U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer.
Cramer is known to have unapologetically lobbied Trump to give Fisher border wall contracts. There is an inference in the "60 Minutes" story that Cramer provided sensitive information to Fisher to help the company in its bids to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Reported "60 Minutes:"
Sources also told us that Republican Senator Kevin Cramer of North Dakota had been aggressively trying to steer contracts to Fisher Sand and Gravel. They say Senator Cramer demanded sensitive information from the Army Corps of Engineers about competing bids.
Bennie Thompson: "When some of those documents you request gives an individual a potential unfair advantage in the procurement process, then I think that has to be reviewed. We asked the Inspector General to look at it."
Senator Cramer says he was just exercising Congressional oversight and gave Fisher no information. The Department of Defense Inspector General's investigation is ongoing.
You can watch the entire "60 Minutes" story, and read the script, by clicking here:
“It’s not a question of whether it’s going to fail… it already started to fail,” says Texas attorney Javier Pena about a stretch of private border wall on the banks of the Rio Grande where Pena says the ground underneath is literally washing away. https://t.co/jeZYdtGWp9 pic.twitter.com/QvhOrpotw5— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) September 27, 2020
After the Army Corps of Engineers pointed to Fisher Sand and Gravel’s lack of experience building border walls, the company teamed up with WE BUILD THE WALL to start privately building a wall on the Rio Grande. But they failed to secure proper approval. https://t.co/1Ao5F2x8To pic.twitter.com/xVtMz0taqa— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) September 27, 2020
The founder of WE BUILD THE WALL, an organization that raises money to privately build stretches of border wall, launched attacks on anyone who opposed the wall they were building in Mission, Texas. https://t.co/xnLXPm9P9E pic.twitter.com/EAtWLyfUW5— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) September 27, 2020
A recent engineering inspection of the border wall built by Fisher Sand and Gravel on the Rio Grande river revealed deep gashes under the foundation of the wall after summer storms. The wall doesn’t attach to anything on either side. https://t.co/ugU22e7Qh7 pic.twitter.com/gxSGPOJyAr— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) September 27, 2020
The recently retired Station Chief for the Border Patrol in the Rio Grande Valley says about Fisher Sand & Gravel’s border wall, “It should not be placed directly on a river.” https://t.co/NuGV3a1xN1 pic.twitter.com/jzz2wE4z3T— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) September 27, 2020
Three former administration officials tell us President Trump “pressured” government officials to direct wall contracts to Fisher Sand and Gravel. The company has been awarded almost $2 billion in contracts, despite questions about the quality of its work. https://t.co/EOvKj97JeV pic.twitter.com/dqL1TeZ64p— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) September 27, 2020
“What’s the problem with the president advocating for a specific contractor [to build the border wall?]” asks Sharyn Alfonsi.— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) September 27, 2020
“It’s against the procurement regulations of the Federal Government,” says Congressman Bennie Thompson. https://t.co/zE2gR8xp5n pic.twitter.com/fKcw1kYJyg