Knecht Statement on Hobby Lobby Decision

“This decision means your boss has the power to make healthcare decisions for you based on his own personal beliefs. That’s wrong"  

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Hobby Lobby

2014 SDDP State Convention

Democrats from across South Dakota converged on Yankton for the 2014 State Convention! 

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Convention Selfie

Susan Wismer Picks Susy Blake as Running Mate

Blake brings passion, principles, and experience to the Democratic ticket.  

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Wismer Blake

6 same sex couples sue South Dakota for right to marry

It's official. Nancy, Jennie and two other couples filed a lawsuit challenging South Dakota's gay marriage ban. 

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Nancy & Jennie

Latest News & Blog

I’m volunteering today. Will you join me?

Hi friends, Jeff Wilka & George McGovern

I’ve been a volunteer for the South Dakota Democratic Party my whole life. From George McGovern, to Tom Daschle, to Tim Johnson to Rick Weiland, I have been on the front lines, making calls and talking to voters.

A lot has changed during my fifty years of volunteering, but one thing has not—volunteers are still the backbone of our South Dakota Democratic Party.

Join me today in helping to elect great Democrats up and down the ticket. We cannot afford to have anyone sit this cycle out.

Sign up for GOTV or make calls from home to turn out Democrats.

Thank you,

Jeff Wilka
Office Manager

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A Vote is a Terrible Thing to Waste

Fellow Democrats:
Up in Brown County, I’m making a lot of calls for Rick Weiland, but every once and awhile I still run into someone who’s thinking about Pressler.

I’m going to cut to the chase — a vote for Larry Pressler is a vote for Mike Rounds.  

If Democrats waste our vote on Larry Pressler on Tuesday, South Dakotans are going to wake up on Wednesday to read that Mike Rounds is our next US Senator. Why?

Larry Pressler cannot win according to a Survey USA poll conducted 10-21 to 10/26. But Pressler can take enough of Weiland’s votes to elect Rounds. 

In fact, Democrats who plan to vote for Pressler account for Rounds’ entire lead over Democrat Rick Weiland who would be tied with Rounds if Pressler were not on the ballot.
Rounds is counting on Democrats to split our votes between Weiland and Pressler - even though both Pressler and Rounds want to raise the retirement age for Social Security and cut Medicare benefits. That’s not the South Dakota way.
Democrats have to stick together. 
The only way we can defeat Mike Rounds is to vote for Rick Weiland. 
Don’t waste your vote on Pressler to help elect Mike Rounds.  
Dakotafest Rounds Pressler

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What South Dakota Editorial Boards are saying about Mike Rounds…

For Immediate Release: Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

What South Dakota Editorial Boards are saying about Mike Rounds…

Sioux Falls, SD (November 2nd, 2014) — Mike Rounds lacks South Dakota values. Mike Rounds is dishonest. Mike Rounds has a track record for secrecy. Mike Rounds is incompetent or deceptive.

These are just a few of the things South Dakota editorial boards are saying about Mike Rounds in the closing days of the campaign.

There’s a reason why South Dakota’s two largest newspapers refused to endorse Mike Rounds for US Senate:

South Dakotans just can’t trust Mike Rounds to tell the truth.

In case you missed it…

Mobridge Tribune, 10/15/2014:

“Rounds has skirted the EB5 issue as he has always danced around when being pushed in a corner…

“Despite what the commercials are telling us, Mike Rounds does not have the same values as most South Dakotans. Listen to what those sound bites are conveying. Think about the dishonesty of the Rounds campaign…

“Do we really want to send another man to Congress who may just end up coming home to face criminal charges in connection with EB5?”

Argus Leader, 11/1/14:

“Mike Rounds has not articulated a world view. In fact, he hasn’t given us much of a view at all of his priorities and vision for this country…

“Rounds has a track record of secrecy as governor and during his tenure opposed efforts to make government records and activities more accessible to citizens.

“We think he falls short.”

Rapid City Journal, 11/2/14:

“The revelations over his handling of the EB-5 federal immigration/investment program — many uncovered by reporters from this and other South Dakota newspapers — show that either Rounds was incompetent or has been deceptive about what he knew about the problems plaguing the program…

“… it is either incompetence or deception by Rounds when he still claims not to have been told of the lawsuit even though his own brother oversaw legal matters involving the state at the time…

“Finally, we question how much credibility Rounds will take with him to the Senate if further bombshells are dropped, especially since an FBI investigation into the program remains open.”

And sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words…

Yankton County Observer, 10/17/14:


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Get Out The Vote from home

Want to help Get Out The Vote right from home for US Senate candidate Rick Weiland and Democrats up and down the ballot?

Now you can. With the help of Democracy For America, we are using a “predictive dialer” to call Democrats and remind them to vote. The predictive dialer is efficient and easy to use so that you are actually talking to voters instead of just leaving messages all the time.

Instructions are below.

Thank you for being a GOTV volunteer! Now let’s win this thing!


Thank you so much for volunteering to Get Out The Vote on DFA Dialer.

Here’s what you need to know to participate:

TRAINING:  video instructions on how to use DFA Dialer by clicking here.


Rick Weiland (SD – Senate)
Campaign Login ID: 4660
Passcode: 123456
Weiland Talking Points
Campaign available 9am CT – 9pm MT (10am ET-11pm ET)


You can preview the EXACT script for Rick when you login to their HubDialer campaign before you start talking to voters.

PLEASE READ THROUGH THE SCRIPT THAT APPEARS ON THE WEB SITE once you have logged in, use that script when you are placing your calls.

Thank you for stepping up to help get out the vote in these extremely important elections. If you have any questions, please email me at 

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MEMORANDUM: What a Mike Rounds endorsement means

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, October 29, 2014

EB5 Citizenship-for-sale  Kings Joop Bollen & Mike Rounds

EB5 Citizenship-for-sale Kings Joop Bollen & Mike Rounds

What a Mike Rounds endorsement means

Sioux Falls, SD (October 29, 2014) — The South Dakota Democratic Party released a memorandum to South Dakota editorial boards today as they make final considerations about endorsements in the US Senate race.

South Dakota Democratic Party Executive Director Zach Crago released the following statement:

“South Dakota reporters have done an incredible job fulfilling the mission of the fourth estate to protect the public interest, especially as it relates to the Mike Rounds EB5 citizenship-for-sale scandal.

South Dakota reporters have exposed rank corruption, self dealing, and personal enrichment during the Mike Rounds administration that had previously remained in the recesses of the Rounds administration. Thanks to South Dakota reporters, light is shining on public corruption that was hidden in the shadows.

We hope South Dakota’s editorial boards will honor their reporters’ work by taking into serious consideration what a Mike Rounds endorsement would mean for the public interest.

Transparency, accountability, and honesty still matter to South Dakota voters who look to the the press to protect the public interest. We’re certain these values still matter to South Dakota editorial boards too.”

The memorandum is copied below:


To: South Dakota editorial boards
From: South Dakota Democratic Party
Date: Monday, October 27, 2014
CC: South Dakota public

Subject: What a Mike Rounds Endorsement Means

The press has always played an important role in our political process. As guardian of the public interest, the “Fourth Estate” has traditionally served as a watchdog of government, a warrior for accountability, and a protector of the public’s right to access public information.

In this traditional vein, the South Dakota press has played an outsized role investigating important issues defining the race for US Senate, including the so-called “Citizenship-for-sale” EB5 scandal plaguing the Rounds for Senate campaign. Reporters investigating Mike Rounds citizenship-for-sale scheme have exposed rank corruption, self dealing, personal enrichment, and the resulting cover up of key documents at the expense of the public interest.

A Mike Rounds endorsement would dishonor your reporters’ work, impugn your publication’s journalistic integrity, and risk your paper’s reputation. Consider the following facts:

Corruption: Mike Rounds fostered a culture of corruption in the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

  1. Rounds employee Joop Bollen stole $108 million in EB5 fees[1] that belong to the state of South Dakota through an illegal contract with a company he owned.[2]
  2. Joop Bollen dragged South Dakota into a six year lawsuit in which South Dakota’s own attorneys said he was deceptive and repeatedly “violated South Dakota law.”[3]
  3. Mike Rounds didn’t fire Joop Bollen after he learned about Bollen’s self dealing through the EB5 lawsuit. Rounds rewarded him with a no-bid contract that encouraged deeper corruption.[4]
  4. Now, the FBI is investigating the EB5 program in South Dakota.[5] Such is the “black mark” that Mike Rounds’ tolerance of corruption has brought our State.[6]

Accountability: Mike Rounds has repeatedly made assertions about the EB5 scandal, only to have documents contradict his previous statements.

  1. Mike Rounds told a legislative panel that his office was never served legal papers involving an EB5 lawsuit. The Rapid City Journal proved Rounds was served.[7] Lying to an investigative panel is a class 6 felony whose penalty is disqualification from office.[8]
  2. Mike Rounds told Pierre correspondent Bob Mercer that he did not personally recruit immigrant investors, but Mercer discovered a letter he wrote to recruit immigrant investors.[9]
  3. Mike Rounds tried laying all the blame for the EB5 scandal on the Board of Regents,[10] but court documents, court depositions and contracts show that the Governors Office of Economic Development ran the EB5 program.[11]
  4. Even now, Rounds continues to assert to South Dakotans that EB5 created 5,000 jobs, but a Pierre reporter could only identify a few hundred jobs.[12]

Transparency: Mike Rounds and his appointees have refused to disclose key documents about the EB5 scandal.

  1. Rounds appointee Attorney General Marty Jackley refused to release the autopsy report of Rounds cabinet secretary Richard Benda, whose sudden and tragic death first elevated the EB5 scandal into the public eye.
  2. Mike Rounds appointees at the Board of Regents have repeatedly refused to release documents from the EB5 Darley litigation even after South Dakota taxpayers covered nearly $500,000 in litigation fees that were previously undisclosed.[13]
  3. The Board of Regents refused the free the EB5 files even after the Darley litigation came to a close because they “don’t wish to release it right now.”[14]

What would a Mike Rounds endorsement mean? An endorsement of Mike Rounds to represent South Dakota in the United States Senate endorses the view that theft of South Dakota taxpayer-owned assets is acceptable to South Dakotans.

An endorsement of Mike Rounds to represent South Dakota in the United States Senate endorses the view that honesty from South Dakota public officials is no longer a requirement for holding public office.

And lastly, an endorsement of Mike Rounds to represent South Dakota in the United States Senate, at a time when the FBI may likely take action, places your own paper’s reputation at risk as criminal indictments are announced.


[1] Mitchell Daily Republic, “First EB-5 Payday Topped $13 million for Bollen firm.” 10.24.14

[2] Argus Leader, “State EB-5 director signed deal with his own company.” 9.8.14

[3] Government Operations & Audit Committee, “The Lucas Report.” 9.24.14

[4] KELOLAND, “SD got involved with EB-5 via no-bid contract.” 8.18.14

[5] KELOLAND, “FBI confirms ‘active’ investigation of SD EB-5 program.” 10.22.14

[6] Aberdeen American News, “GOP fails on EB-5 scandal.” 8.6.14

[7] Rapid City Journal, “Document contradicts Rounds’ testimony.” 10.2.14

[8] Rapid City Journal, “Democrats: Rounds broke law, can’t hold office.” 10.8.14

[9] Aberdeen American News, “Rounds signed 2005 recruitment letter.” 10.11.14

[10] Argus Leader, “Rounds: Regents oversaw EB-5.” 9.24.14

[11] Darley litigation, John Meyer Deposition. 4.24.14

[12] Mitchell Daily Republic, “Analysis finds EB-5 jobs data used by Rounds is highly elusive. “10.24.14.”

[13] Argus Leader, “EB-5 attorneys cost state $239k this year.” 9.25.14

[14] Rapid City Journal, “Regents won’t release Bollen deposition.” 10.14.14

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