Jackley Stumbles On Government Accountability

Immediate Release: Monday, April 11, 2016

Contact: (605) 271-5405press@sddp.org

Jackley Stumbles On Government Accountability

Sioux Falls, SD (April 11, 2016)-

Democrats responded to Bob Mercer’s report contradicting Attorney General Marty Jackley’s statements to the Argus Leader that he first received information of misconduct at Mid Central Education Cooperative September 17, 2015 when Scott Westerhuis killed himself and family.

“It’s ironic that the Attorney General is touting his government accountability credentials while misstating important information regarding when he first learned of misconduct at Mid-Central. That’s not the transparent, accountable government we need,” said Suzanne Jones Pranger South Dakota Democratic Party Executive Director.

Jackley told the Argus Leader his office should receive information sooner regarding misconduct revealed by audits. “The first I had heard of what was going on in Gear Up was on September 17, [2015] when I had the DCI director call me,” Jackley said. “That’s not a time that the attorney general should be hearing of that.”

But Capital Journal reporter Bob Mercer said this isn’t true, recalling a conversation he had with Jackley May 13, 2015.

He was told in a telephone conversation with this reporter one morning as I drove around Platte looking for the Mid Central board meeting. That call was May 13. The attorney general had phoned me about the South Dakota Supreme Court decision, released that morning. The justices denied my attempt to get the attorney general to release the death investigation records for Richard Benda in the EB-5 scandal. The attorney general told me he wouldn’t ask the court to award costs against me. I asked whether he knew where Mid Central’s board meeting might be. He asked why I was there. I replied audit findings that likely would land “in your lap.” I further explained the auditor general had found specific problems with Mid Central’s administration of the GEAR UP funding.”

Jackley argued against releasing information regarding the investigation of Richard Benda’s death and advised the GOAC committee behind closed door of their limited supeona power during its investigation of EB-5 in 2014.

“The Attorney General seems to be changing his position on government accountability now that it is politically opportune. Several years ago, he offered an extremely narrow opinion to GOAC regarding its authority to investigate EB-5, limiting its ability to find answers. If we are to believe he “doesn’t want the fox guarding the hen house” as he claims, we need to know where he stands on the non-partisan independent ethics commission Democrats have been proposing for years now.” Jones Pranger said.

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