Immediate Release: Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Tyler: Efforts to Expose Truth on EB-5 Being Vindicated
Sioux Falls, SD (October 28, 2015)-
South Dakota Republicans continue to shift the blame regarding the improprieties that prompted a federal agency’s move to end South Dakota EB-5 program. As Republican government officials finally acknowledge the wrongdoing that occurred with EB-5 by pointing their fingers at others, Executive Director of the South Dakota Democratic Party Suzanne Jones Pranger said, “Now that he has been elected to the U.S. Senate, Mike Rounds— who as a candidate defended South Dakota’s EB-5 program— seems to have changed his position on oversight of the program. Rounds is now admitting that government oversight of South Dakota’s EB-5 program is needed, and South Dakotans are left with the realization that earlier efforts to exercise oversight and investigate the program were, in fact, opposed by the Republican majority to protect their own.”
South Dakota Democrats recount previous efforts (that were met by significant Republican opposition) to uncover the indiscretions within the EB-5 program. Kathy Tyler, former Member of the South Dakota House of Representatives (Democrat-District 4), provides an editorial statement about the steps that were taken to investigate EB-5 long before the federal government moved to end South Dakota’s utilization of the program.
“In the summer of 2013, during my first year in the State Legislature, I was approached by a citizen who had spent months researching South Dakota’s EB-5 situation, from the Veblen dairies to the Aberdeen and Huron projects. Following the conversation, I understood we needed to dig deeper into the EB-5 program.
The more I learned about the program, the more questions were raised. Many of those questions went unanswered. While reporters uncovered stirring information, the Legislative Executive Board twice denied requests to investigate EB-5, a forensic audit of the program was rejected by the Legislature, release of an autopsy report was denied, and the Government Operations and Audit Committee’s investigation was farcical. Those trying to find the truth on EB-5 were silenced by the state government. No charges were filed, millions of dollars disappeared, and jobs were lost through the Northern Beef Packers.
But, on the 28th of September, 2015, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) informed South Dakota government officials that they would be pulling the state’s EB-5 program due to irregularities in administration, diversion of funds, and a general lack of oversight. These actions by the USCIS have prompted the State to file a lawsuit against SDRC, Inc. and Joop Bollen, seeking the same information we sought in earlier attempts to investigate the program.
I look back at the demand for an investigation and forensic audit of the EB-5 program and know we fought to do what was right. In the end, our attempts to expose the truth are being vindicated, and this is a win for ethics, honesty, integrity, and the people of South Dakota.”
 “Rounds says he hasn’t seen the notice, but he believes the concerns in the report occurred when the program was run by a private firm or after he left the governor’s office in 2011.” Rounds: Feds right in exercising oversight of EB-5 in SD, KSFY, 10/22/15
“Governor Dennis Daugaard says the focus of the federal complaints are with the management of the South Dakota Regional Center, which handled the federal program” SD Governor Dennis Daugaard: Not Renewing Ties with EB-5, WNAX, 10/23/15
 “South Dakota U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds says the U.S. government is right in exercising its oversight over an investment-for-visa program pioneered in South Dakota when he was governor.” Rounds: Feds right in exercising oversight of EB-5 in SD, KSFY, 10/22/15