Governor Dennis Daugaard keeps building the wall of separation between himself and the scandal-hobbled EB-5 visa investment program. Check out his answers to Bob Mercer's question on the program.

On Daugard's knowledge of the EB-5 program:

I was generally aware of the EB-5 program as lieutenant governor, to the same degree that any interested observer might have been. I don't remember ever talking with Governor Rounds or any of the Rounds-era Tourism and State Development (TSD) secretaries about EB-5 while I was lieutenant governor. I have not discussed the program with Governor Rounds or any of those TSD secretaries since I took office in 2011 [Governor Dennis Daugaard, interview with Bob Mercer, "Q and A with Gov. Daugaard: GOED Not Marketing, Soliciting EB-5 Projects," Mitchell Daily Republic, 2014.02.20].

On his intentions toward EB-5:

Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED) is not actively marketing or soliciting EB-5 projects or investments. The office provides information on the program to interested projects. That is a result of the leadership change at GOED and my desire to refocus our economic development efforts. EB-5 is a federal program. Now that the SDRC contract is terminated, GOED will be taking an administrative role in regard to EB-5. If a project wants to pursue EB-5 investment, GOED will submit the project to USCIS for approval. GOED will continue to receive reports from existing EB-5 projects, and to make the required reports to USCIS [Daugaard, 2014.02.20].

Governor Daugaard has been distancing himself from EB-5 since before he first announced the federal investigation into financial misconduct in his predecessor's office of economic development last October. One must wonder, though, if Governor Daugaard really wanted to refocus the state's economic development efforts, why he let private contractor Joop Bollen and former state official Richard Benda run EB-5 for two and a half years before finally ending their state contract.