Because Chairman Larry Tidemann and the other Republican members of the Government Operations and Audit Committee treated Rep. Susan Wismer (not to mention the public) with such grave disrespect this morning in Pierre, I yield the balance of my time to the Representative from Britton to explain her call for EB-5 impresario Joop Bollen to answer to the South Dakota taxpayers who kept him employed for two decades:
Rep. Susan Wismer (D-Britton) urged the Government Operations & Audit Committee to obtain additional information about the management and outcome of the EB-5 program during a hearing Tuesday morning.
“After the Government Operations & Audit Committee meeting today, I've come to believe that this committee is not faithfully executing the charge our legislature gave us under HCR 1010. The resolution gives us the right to seek additional information, yet we have sought no information outside the parameters dictated by the Daugaard administration,” said Rep. Wismer.
Rep. Wismer finds the current answers inadequate and believes South Dakotans deserve to know if their tax dollars were mismanaged through this program. Seeking additional information ensures that all aspects of HCR 1010 are fulfilled and state business is conducted transparently and ethically.
“If the Republican legislators on this committee are not interested in looking into EB-5, it sends a message to South Dakotans that honesty and fair dealing in business doesn’t matter, “ said Rep. Wismer.
Wismer made a motion to subpoena Joop Bollen, former director of the EB-5 program in South Dakota, but the motion died for lack of a second. While reiterating the points of HRC 1010, other members of GOAC interrupted Wismer and attempted to move to other items. Wismer responded: “I won’t be bullied for tackling corruption on behalf of the South Dakota taxpayers” [Rep. Susan Wismer, press release, 2014.07.29].
We thank the gentlelady for her comments and encourage to be less gentle.
There are only two solutions for the corruption Rep. Wismer is trying to fight.
First, hope the FBI and U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson can build a criminal case against the EB-5 schemers, since our state lawmakers lack the will to investigate ills for which they or their pals might be blamed.
Second, elect every Democrat you can this fall.
Update 16:20 CDT: In a sign that Republicans are worried that you might do just that, Dick Wadhams and his new boytoy at SDGOP headquarters, Rob Burgess, push the following release attacking Wismer's challenge to the state's stonewalling as just some "bizarre claims." Notice Dick and Rob's scripted parroting of the state's insistence that EB-5 is a federal program... which doesn't explain or excuse stonewalling an investigation of state employee Richard Benda's misappropriation (AG Jackley once called it grand theft) of over half a million state dollars from a state grant.
Today, the South Dakota Republican Party called on Rep. Susan Wismer (D-Britton) to stop playing politics with the investigation into the late Richard Benda and the federal EB-5 program.
At a legislative hearing in March, at which state officials answered numerous questions, Rep. Wismer said the following to a state-retained auditor: "Your report takes up about an inch of this book or more. Could you talk - I didn't read it. Could you talk a little bit about what else takes up the rest of the inch of paper?"
Since that March hearing, Rep. Wismer has gone on to become the Democrat nominee for Governor.
Dick Wadhams, a spokesman for the South Dakota Republican Party, had the following to say:
"As a member of the committee looking into this matter, Susan Wismer didn't even take the time to prepare by reading the auditor's report. It is hard not to wonder if Susan's sudden interest is motivated by her own political ambitions - especially when the South Dakota Democrat Party is live-tweeting scripted partisan attacks as Wismer recites them in the hearing room. If Susan Wismer really cares about this investigation, she must direct her campaign and the state Democrat party to stop playing politics."
Wadhams finished by saying:
"Just today, Attorney General Jackley discussed his plans to file criminal charges as a result of the investigation that Governor Daugaard requested. It is clear that they are doing what they can to get to the bottom of this, despite Susan Wismer's bizarre claims" [SDGOP press release, 2014.07.29].
Gaacck!—hand me some soap. (And someone tell Rob Burgess how to use the em dash—it's not that hard.)