South Dakota Republicans continue to respond to charges of crony capitalism in Mike Rounds's EB-5 program by attacking the press with cries of Defamation!

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee this week pointed out that as governor, Mike Rounds "gave special tax breaks to a shady, offshore corporation" to keep his failing Northern Beef Packers project afloat. The DSCC made that statement in this broadcast ad:

The SDGOP sics Woods Fuller Shultz & Smith PC on KEVN and other TV stations that have broadcast the ad:

The "shady off-shore corporation", Epoch Star Limited, represented by a prominent Sioux Falls lawyer, petitioned the State Banking Commission to determine if it was subject to South Dakota laws regulating loan companies and mortgage lenders. The State Banking Commission, acting independently as required by South Dakota law, reviewed evidence presented to it and ruled Epoch's proposed loan to Northern Beef Packers did not subject it to the money lender or mortgage lender/broker statutes. The decision in effect meant that Epoch was not subject to the income tax South Dakota imposes on financial institution profits [William Taylor, attorney for South Dakota Republican Party, letter to KEVN, 2014.10.15].

First, the Woods Fuller lawyers and the SDGOP should get their candidate back on the script. He was bleating counterfactually to Denise Ross Wednesday that Epoch Star, "just like any other institution," had to "get licensed." (Someone on Team Rounds is trying to work up the guts to say, "Mike, do your homework, or shut up!")

Second, the fact that a "prominent Sioux Falls lawyer," Steven Sanford, represented Epoch Star does not render false the DSCC's statement. Epoch Star is shady—we have no idea who they are. Epoch Star is an offshore corporation, a shell inside a shell inside a foreign company.

Third, Mike Rounds did give Epoch Star a special tax break in 2010. Rounds appointed Roger Novotny banking director in 2004. Banking commissioners serve three-year terms, so Mike Rounds would appear to have appointed every member of the Banking Commission, which approved the Epoch Star tax break at the end of June 2010. And Rounds's own economic development chief, cabinet member Richard Benda, represented the Rounds administration before the Banking Commission to urge approval of the tax break to revive the Governor's stalled legacy project. The Rounds Administration made Epoch Star's tax break possible.

And in the common vernacular synecdoche in which we refer to an organization by its head, "Mike Rounds gave special tax breaks to a shady offshore corporation."

The South Dakota Republican Party launched a similar specious attack on the free press last week with its bogus assertion that auction is a fighting word. It's remarkable how whiny South Dakota Republicans get when faced with the ugly facts about their crony capitalism and corruption.

KEVN, other broadcasters, don't let Rounds and the SDGOP bully you. You are much better suited to recognizing and publishing the truth than they are.

I think we need to be grateful we live in a state where we can get this kind of thing done with dispatch.
—Steven Sanford, lawyer for Epoch Star, South Dakota Banking Commission hearing, 2010.06.29.