Mike Rounds and the South Dakota Republican Party are having an awful time coming up with answers to the substantive charges of corruption surrounding Mike Rounds's economic development policies. Consider the latest revelations about misconduct under the Governor's Office of Economic Development and the frightened, deceptive responses from the flagging Rounds campaign.

Democratic lawyer Patrick Duffy stepped forward yesterday with a new charge against Rounds's EB-5 investment director Joop Bollen—securities fraud:

“Where was the state securities commissioner in all these LLCs and LLPs that were generating securities (the Bollen set up through the EB-5 program)?” Duffy asked rhetorically. “Most of this falls in our wheel house. It should have been investigated a long time ago.”

Duffy said the limited liability companies and limited liability partnerships that Bollen set up for projects were funded by EB-5 funds and were soliciting for investors. He says they should have been registered with state or federal regulators and prospectuses issued to potential investors [Todd Epp, "With Absentee Voting Starting Friday, South Dakota Senate Race Heats Up," Northern Plains News, 2014.09.18].

You can read my analysis of possible securities violations by Rounds's people in this December 2013 article.

Duffy reiterated the question of accountability that has bubbled to the top of the Rounds-EB-5 scandal. With so many violations of law, policy, and South Dakota common sense, why didn't Mike Rounds fire Joop Bollen?

As usual, the Republicans offer no answer to that question. They do not refute any of the charges of wrongdoing against Bollen. They do not refute that the Rounds Administration knew about Bollen's infractions. They do not refute that they rewarded Bollen after his infractions with a no-bid contract.

Instead, the Republicans blow smoke. Presenting no documents or direct testimony, Dick Wadhams, the out-state spokesman Mike Rounds recruited, shouts "sleazy" and "slimy" (oh, the irony) about an out-state PAC ad summarizing the Rounds-EB-5 scandal. Wadhams accuses Democratic Senate candidate Rick Weiland of campaign collusion with that PAC but offers no hard evidence. And still wishing for the campaign that wasn't, Wadhams tries again to drag Brendan Johnson into the Senate campaign, contending, not just without evidence but contrary to evidence, that there is no federal investigation of South Dakota's EB-5 activities. Knowing full well that a U.S. Attorney would violate the integrity of the criminal justice process by commenting on an ongoing investigation, Wadhams shouts that U.S. Attorney Johnson should comment on an ongoing investigation.

Noodling just a little closer to real issues at hand, SDGOP communications director Rob Burgess offers this helpless sputter:

Through it all Mike Rounds has been found innocent of any wrongdoing. Democrats are raising this issue because it’s quite simply the only thing that they have [Rob Burgess, quoted in Ben Dunsmoor, "SD Dems Want to Know Why Joop Bollen Wasn't Fired," KELOLand.com, 2014.09.18].

Burgess's bleat is non-responsiveness par failure-ance. "Found innocent"? In what trial? In what investigation? Democrats have laid out pretty specific evidence that Joop Bollen broke rules in carrying out Rounds's economic development policies, that the Rounds Administration knew about that rule-breaking, and that the Rounds Administration then rewarded the rule-breaker. Burgess answers none of those charges.

Burgess resorts to the "Democrats are saying it, so it ain't so" fallacy. Suppose Mike Rounds's enabling of Joop Bollen's corruption was all that Demcorats talked about for the rest of the campaign. That fact alone does not make what they are saying about Rounds and Bollen false.

Republicans need voters to believe that Democrats are playing from a light bag of tricks. But Democrats are presenting document after document, policy after policy, law after law, showing that something went very wrong in Mike Rounds's administration of economic development policies. The diversionary responses from Wadhams, Burgess, et al. make it look like it's Republicans who have no good answers in their bag.