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Susan Wismer Picks Susy Blake as Running Mate

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6 same sex couples sue South Dakota for right to marry

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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

MEMORANDUM:
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:

MEMORANDUM

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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MERCER: Mike Rounds wildly overstates EB5 jobs created

For Immediate Release: Saturday, October 25, 2014

MERCER: Mike Rounds wildly overstates EB5 jobs created

Sioux Falls, SD (October 25, 2014) — Has Mike Rounds told the truth about anything in the EB5 citizenship-for-sale scandal?

According to an analysis by Pierre correspondent Bob Mercer, Mike Rounds just flat out made up the number of jobs the EB5 program created in South Dakota.

Rounds says the EB5 investment in Basin Electric created 1455 jobs. Basin Electric says they created 28 jobs.

Rounds still counts 433 jobs created at Northern Beef Packing plant – the shuttered $100 million beef plant at the center of Rounds’ EB5 citizenship-for-sale scandal. The list goes on and on.

“There weren’t ‘over 5,000 jobs created,’” concludes Mercer. “Instead, there might be just hundreds of new jobs, many of them in dairy operations in the I-29 corridor and at the casino complex in Deadwood.”

Analysis finds EB-5 jobs data used by Rounds is highly elusive
Bob Mercer, Pierre Correspondant
Friday, Oct 24, 2014

PIERRE — There was a lot of leeway in a number cited by former-Gov. Mike Rounds during the U.S. Senate campaign debate the other night.

He said one result of the EB-5 program during his administration was “over 5,000 jobs created.”

But many of those EB-5 jobs weren’t in South Dakota, and many now don’t seem to exist…

Mike Rounds

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SDDP demands Daugaard fire Rounds for Senate manager from Board of Economic Development

For Immediate Release: Friday, October 24, 2014

SDDP Chair -
Daugaard: Fire Rounds for Senate campaign manager Rob Skjonsberg from Board of Economic Development

Sioux Falls, SD (October 24, 2014) — South Dakota Democratic Party Chair Deb Knecht demanded that Governor Dennis Daugaard immediately remove Rounds for Senate campaign manager Rob Skjonsberg from the South Dakota Board of Economic Development after an investigative report revealed that Skjonsberg and Mike Rounds profited from state grants Skjonsberg approved as a BED member:

Revealed: A New Ethics Scandal Involving the GOP’s South Dakota Senate Candidate

Documents obtained by The Nation show former Gov. Mike Rounds’ campaign manager may have improperly awarded state economic incentives to firms in which he and the candidate held investments.

Knecht released the following statement in regards to her call to action:

“I have a message for Mike Rounds and Rob Skjonsberg: You don’t have a right to personally profit from the public purse.

I’m sure Governor Dennis Daugaard is just as appalled as I am that someone he trusted to promote economic development used his position to enrich himself and his political patron Mike Rounds.

That’s why I’m calling on Governor Dennis Daugaard to immediately remove Skjonsberg from the Board of Economic Development and clawback any grants or tax incentives provided to companies in which Skjonsberg and Rounds have a financial interest.

I suspect Daugaard will comply. After all, his spokesman Tony Venhuizen has said – and I quote – ‘Certainly for anyone that the Governor has hired or is in his cabinet, [Daugaard] has a very high expectation that we will act in an ethical and moral way.’

It’s clear Skjonsberg and Rounds acted with complete lack of regard for ethics and conflicts of interest.

I look forward to seeing the ‘strong moral leadership‘ that Daugaard takes pride in.”

Knecht demanded Governor Dennis Daugaard immediately take the following actions on behalf of South Dakota taxpayers:

  1. Fire Rob Skjonsberg from the Board of Economic Development
  2. Cancel all state grants to companies in which Rob Skjonsberg and Mike Rounds have a financial interest.
  3. Clawback any grants already distributed to companies in which Rob Skjonsberg and Mike Rounds have a previously undisclosed financial interest.
  4. Release all the documents the Board of Economic Development used in its consideration of the relevant grants.

Mike Rounds

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Zach Crago <zach@sddp.org>
Date: Thu, Oct 23, 2014 at 1:29 PM
Subject: BREAKING – Rounds for Senate campaign manager broke rules to line Mike Rounds’ pockets
To:

For Immediate Release: Thursday, October 23, 2014

BREAKING
Rounds for Senate campaign manager broke rules to line Mike Rounds’ pockets

Revealed: A New Ethics Scandal Involving the GOP’s South Dakota Senate Candidate

Documents obtained by The Nation show former Gov. Mike Rounds’ campaign manager may have improperly awarded state economic incentives to firms in which he and the candidate held investments.

The Nation
Lee Fang
October 23, 2014

Once viewed as a lock for Republicans, the race for the open US Senate seat in South Dakota is now very competitive as corruption allegations plaguing GOP candidate and former Governor Mike Rounds boost the prospects of his challengers, including Democrat Rick Weiland and independent candidates Larry Pressler and Gordon Howie. In particular, Rounds has been dogged by accusations that an EB-5 visa program heavily promoted by his administration violated the law as it provided American visas to wealthy Chinese investors.

Now, records reveal that the same state agency that oversaw the controversial visa program also extended taxpayer assistance to companies in which Rounds and his campaign manager, Rob Skjonsberg, are investors. Governor Dennis Daugaard, Rounds’ successor and former running mate, appointed a number of Rounds allies along with Skjonsberg to the board that made the investment decisions. [Read more here.]

 

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Senator Tim Johnson sets the record straight on Rounds’ Ellsworth Air Force Base ads

For Immediate Release: Thursday, October 23, 2014

Senator Tim Johnson sets the record straight on Rounds’ Ellsworth Air Force Base ads

Sioux Falls, SD (October 23, 2014) — Senator Tim Johnson released the following statement to set the record straight on Rounds’ Ellsworth Air Force Base ads:

“I know from my own personal experience that the paid political advertisement being run by candidate Mike Rounds claiming that Rick Weiland wants to close Ellsworth Air Force Base is false. I worked directly with Rick Weiland and Senator Tom Daschle for over a decade to defend Ellsworth Air Force Base from closure. Rick handled briefing materials for us and worked tirelessly as state director to defend, not to close, Ellsworth Air Force Base. I wish former Governor Bill Janklow were still with us because he too knew of and benefited from Rick Weiland’s work to protect Ellsworth.

I will give Mr. Rounds the benefit of the doubt and assume he was unaware of these facts. But if his campaign continues to air this completely false advertising about Rick Weiland, it will prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that it and Mr. Rounds are more concerned about political gain than about Ellsworth’s future.

Anyone who has ever worked to defend Ellsworth knows that politicizing the discussion of that critical base is the surest way to jeopardize its future, and that is what this kind of irresponsible political advertising does.”

Senator Tim Johnson Official Photo

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FBI confirms ‘active’ investigation into Mike Rounds EB5 citizenship-for-sale scheme

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, October 22, 2014

BREAKING
FBI confirms ‘active’ investigation into
Mike Rounds EB5 citizenship-for-sale scheme

The Mike Rounds citizenship-for-sale scheme is under an ‘active’ investigation by the FBI according to a breaking report from KELO. South Dakota Democratic Party executive director Zach Crago released the following statement:

“Mike Rounds is clearly in trouble. His citizenship-for-sale scheme resulted in high profile bankruptcies, lawsuits, audits, legislative hearings, and now a confirmed ‘active’ investigation by the FBI.

The fact is Mike Rounds ran the EB5 program out of the Governor’s Office, and he’s been covering up his role in the EB5 scandal ever since.

South Dakotans just cant trust Mike Rounds to tell the truth, and the FBI knows it.”

FBI Says EB-5 Investigation Remains ‘Active’
Keloland.com
October 22, 2014, 12:44 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

The FBI says an investigation into the South Dakota Regional Center and the federal EB-5 program is still ‘active.’

South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard announced a year ago that the state economic development office was under investigation by state and federal officials. A spokesman with U.S. Customs and Immigration Services later confirmed last November that the FBI investigation involved the EB-5 program.

South Dakota U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson has refused to confirm or deny an investigation into the federal program as the circumstances surrounding EB-5 have become a heavily-debated issue in the race for South Dakota’s open U.S. Senate seat.

However, on Wednesday Kyle Loven, the media coordinator for the FBI’s regional office in Minneapolis, confirmed to KELOLAND News that the probe into the EB-5 program in South Dakota, ‘remains an active investigation.’ Loven wouldn’t confirm any other details citing that the case is ongoing.

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley said in July that the state has wrapped up its investigation and was ready to indict former South Dakota Secretary of Tourism and State Development Richard Benda shortly before Benda committed suicide last October.

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

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

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