Hmm... did Annette Bosworth get a job writing fundraising letters for St. Joseph Indian School?

Dr. Bosworth is now marketing example #1 that Base Connect uses to tout its political fundraising potential. On a webpage titled "Nuts & Bolts" (you had her at "Nuts," boys), the Washington D.C. direct-mail firm cites Bosworth as an example of how they can raise millions of dollars on an entirely fake candidate.

Now CNN finds that St. Joseph's in Chamberlain is raking in cash with stories of abused Indian children who don't exist:

According to its financial statements, St. Joseph's Indian School raised more than $51 million last year from millions of Americans who donated because of those mailings.

CNN began receiving complaints about mailings like this more than two years ago. When asked about Josh Little Bear's letter, Kory Christianson, the director of development, wrote us that there was no such student.

"The name 'Josh Little Bear' is fictitious," he wrote, "but unfortunately, his story is not" [David Fitzpatrick and Drew Griffin, "U.S. Indian School's Fundraising Letters Sent to Millions Signed by Fictitious Kids," CNN.com, 2014.11.17].

CNN sees no sign that St. Joseph's is misusing the millions it makes on what one critic calls "poverty porn." However, making up stories to convince people to give money is something we expect of Annette Bosworth and Mike Rounds, not folks trying to do real good for South Dakotans.

CNN almost got the school's president to discuss the proper boundaries of truth in marketing, but his marketing director cut off the conversation:

We tried unsuccessfully to interview the leadership of St. Joseph's. The communications director, Jona Ohm, first invited us to meet the school president at the small museum operated by the school.

The president, Mike Tyrell, acknowledged that the mailings "push the edge" of marketing and asking about them "is a legitimate question." But Ohm told us to stop.

"You don't have permission to record in any way, shape or form," she said [Fitzpatrick and Griffin, 2014.11.17].

I have no doubt that St. Jospeh's Indian School is doing good work that merits its donors' support. I also have no doubt they can earn that support with simple fact, not fiction.

17 comments

On Friday, U.S. Judge Karen Schreier rejected the bulk of the State of South Dakota's arguments for dismissing the challenge to its same-sex marriage ban. Judge Schreier's ruling says the two main cases on which the state leans to call for dismissal are not binding. The ruling says the six South Dakota couples suing have a "plausible equal protection claim" based on a fundamental right to marry and gender discrimination. The ruling says the defendants—our Governor, our Attorney General, the Secretary of Health, our Secretary of Public Safety, and the Brown County Register of Deeds—"have articulated no potential legitimate purpose" for South Dakota's discrimination against married homosexuals.

The ruling dismisses the plaintiffs' argument that South Dakota's same-sex marriage ban infringes on their right to travel. Judge Schreier says that a key component of the right to travel is that individuals who take up residence in a new state enjoy "the right to be treated like other citizens of that State." Judge Schreier says South Dakota's refusal to recognize same-sex marriages "appl[ies] equally to new citizens and existing citizens of South Dakota." That's tricky reading—our same-sex marriage ban still discriminates, according to everything before the judge so far, but since we're discriminating against all homosexuals and not just those durned furriners from Minnesota and California, the plaintiffs can't challenge the ban on right to travel.

The primary import of Judge Schreier's ruling is that the state loses its bid for dismissal, the case moves forward, and the state appears to have no good arguments on the flow.

Dealt a hard defeat, Attorney General Marty Jackley plays the kid who failed his spelling test, got in trouble for mouthing off at the teacher, but leads his answer to Mom's question about how school was today by telling her they got apple crisp for lunch. "Federal Court Grants in Part State’s Motion to Dismiss Same-Sex Marriage Case," he headlines his Friday press release. Yet not one media outlet in South Dakota has shared Jackley's assessment:

  1. "Late yesterday afternoon, Federal Judge Karen Schrier denied the state's motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging South Dakota's ban on same-sex marriage."
  2. "Judge Rejects Motion to Dismiss SD Gay Marriage Case"
  3. "Judge Rejects Motion to Dismiss Gay Marriage Case"
  4. "Gay Marriage Case in SD to Proceed"

Come on, Marty: Judge Schreier ate your garlic bread but threw out your spaghetti and sauce. The plaintiffs can walk into court with the same arguments they've offered so far and win, while you have to boil up a whole new pot of noodles to throw against the wall to preserve the false right of the majority to discriminate against the minority.

43 comments

Rep. Kristi Noem and the U.S. House approve Keystone XL? Them's fightin' words, says the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. Literally:

“The House has now signed our death warrants and the death warrants of our children and grandchildren. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe will not allow this pipeline through our lands,” said President Scott of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. “We are outraged at the lack of intergovernmental cooperation. We are a sovereign nation and we are not being treated as such. We will close our reservation borders to Keystone XL. Authorizing Keystone XL is an act of war against our people” [Aldo Seoane, "House Vote in Favor of the Keystone XL Pipeline an Act of War," Lakota Voice, 2014.11.14].

I am glad somebody in South Dakota is standing up to TransCanada. The term act of war is apt: a foreign entity is seizing rights from our own landowners, using our own courts and quisling politicians against us. The tribes have done fine work rousing their people and gathering allies to fight this encroachment on our sovereignty, not to mention this threat to our environmental and economic security.

But closing the reservation borders will have no impact on building Keystone XL. TransCanada drew its pipeline route to skirt all reservation borders. Rosebud Homeland Security will have to set up checkpoints and artillery on the 1868 borders.

Related: Rep. Noem and the House need to remember that Keystone XL still needs to go through the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission and the Nebraska Supreme Court. Lots of battlegrounds, Rosebud neighbors!

34 comments

In small potatoes, Pat Powers farmer-blows his nose on my analysis of the real reasons South Dakota Democrats lost this week and summarizes the Republican effort to brand Democrats in one telling sentence:

I had to chuckle this noon hour as Cory Heidelberger lifted his head from crying in his GMO free corn flakes to offer a sniveling retort to the reality of election 2014, known by Democrats as “Ragnarok” [Pat Powers, "Retort to My Analysis of the Races Forgets a Couple of Things," Dakota War College, 2014.11.07].

GMO-free corn flakes. The proper, immediate, and sufficient response to any comment about my diet is what's it to ya?

I'm going to run down this rabbit hole, because I think Pat makes an important point here about how South Dakota Republicans operate. For the record:

  1. Pat Powers has never had breakfast with me.
  2. I have not eaten corn flakes for months.
  3. Both of the cereals I ate yesterday came from Wal-mart.
  4. I ate a big cheeseburger and onion rings for supper yesterday.
  5. I have never checked any of my breakfasts, lunches, or suppers for GMO content.
  6. Whether one bothers to check one's food for GMOs is as much someone else's business as your choice of boxers, briefs, or commando.
  7. Whether one eschews GMOs tells us nothing about a person's ability to intelligently analyze and comment on South Dakota politics.

Without any evidence or basis in knowledge or fact, Republican Pat is ascribing to Democrat me a food-protest elitism that he and his ilk like to think of as effete and risible. Pat doesn't want you to look at what I'm actually saying about the issue at hand. He wants to hang a fabricated label on me, make it mean what he wants, and use that double falsehood to dismiss my arguments without reading them.

I hear an echo here of how certain opponents attack President Barack Obama by calling him a Muslim. Never mind that public facts demonstrate that President Obama is at least as Christian as anyone in South Dakota. Never mind that there's nothing inherently wrong with being Muslim. People who hate the President grab a label—Muslim—invest that label with a negative connotation, and then hang it on the President to dismiss him, contrary to fact, without looking at what the President really says and does religiously, not to mention politically.

Now zoom out to how South Dakota Republicans use Obama and liberal against South Dakota Democrats. Republicans, even those of often good conscience, hung the Obama label on Democrats (even Dems running for Legislature, where President Obama's policies are far less relevant) and told South Dakotans, "Don't vote for Obama!" GOP vilification of the President was so damning that Democrats themselves ran away from a President with a steady job restoration record and a big basket of other great policy achievements.

Likewise liberal. I can't even tell (and I'll bet most South Dakotans can't either) what liberal means in the contemporary political vernacular. Is it handing out government money? Is it increasing government control? Is it running a budget deficit? Is it simply passing new laws instead of sticking with the status quo? But the South Dakota Republicans who do all of those things plow forth unabashed, shouting Liberal! at South Dakota Democrats, who run for their lives from a word turned meaning-free insult.

Never mind what I eat. I'm a liberal. I believe in maximizing liberty for every citizen. I believe in using the power we have as a community to solve problems.

And I believe in using words to educate and enlighten citizens, not to insult others and avoid unpleasant truths.

72 comments

I wasted a few minutes of my life last night listening to angry little Chad Haber insult about our soon-to-be-reëlected Attorney General Marty Jackley. In his recorded interview with SDPB, the Libertarian poseur defined irony by fretting that the purpose of the law is to "catch fraudulent snake-oil salesmen." Our neighbors who had to get the Attorney General to help them get refunds on fake raffle tickets that Haber sold them could tell us a bit about the snake oil Chad Haber sells.

Haber also made this galling statement: "Marty Jackley is a terrorist.... Stop the terrorism: vote for me."

Terrorist... as in using intimidation tactics to get what one wants? Is that like getting nose-to-nose with someone, pretending to know some deep dark secret about one's childhood, and then delivering an f-bomb laced threat?

Is that like using Senate campaign funds to create a video attacking a blogger who investigates your antics and issues a legal challenge of nominating petitions on which you and your wife Annette Bosworth committed perjury?

Is that like coaxing a $200K loan from a friend, then lawyering up to make it too costly for her to fight for her rightful repayment?

Or is that like this picture:

Chad Haber and Oscar Batiz, fall 2014

Chad Haber and Oscar Batiz, fall 2014

That's Chad Haber with local musician Oscar Batiz. Oscar is the former husband of LeAnn Batiz, one of the former employees whom Haber and Bosworth stiffed and attacked in the media. LeAnn divorced Oscar. LeAnn tells me Oscar isn't pleased with being divorced.

LeAnn tells me the truck in the photo is hers. She took it in for repairs last month. Oscar dropped by the shop before she returned and took the truck. Oscar sent LeAnn this grinning photo with the following caption:

Turns out you may be Getting reaquainted [sic] With an old friend since you will be spending time in the same place. wanna know more? call... [Oscar Batiz, text to LeAnn Batiz, fall 2014].

Unlike Chad Haber, I prefer not to get involved in divorces. I will only look at the photo and the text presented and suggest that the threatening, intimidating tone is pretty clear.

Unlike Chad Haber, I don't view words as mere tools that I can make to mean whatever I want to serve my immediate desires. Terrorist overstates Chad's manic attempts to bully others, just as it overstates any of AG Jackley's various sins in office.

But while Chad wheezes "Terrorist!" at the South Dakota Attorney General, he uses his own cheap intimidation tactics against anyone he sees fit. One can only imagine what Haber would do with the power the Attorney General if South Dakotans were foolish enough to vote him into that office.

Related: Chad Haber stands in violation of campaign finance law. As of close of business Thursday, the Secretary of State's office still had no pre-general campaign finance report on file for Haber's AG campaign. Pre-generals were due in Secretary Gant's office last Friday, October 24. Haber faces a Class 1 misdemeanor and $50-per-day late penalty. No wonder Haber lives in terror: he keeps doing dumb things could land him in jail (Class 1 misdemeanor can draw a year in the county jail and a $2,000 fine.)

71 comments

An eager reader goes hunting for information about Mike Rounds's now notorious EB-5 visa investment program and finds a press release on a Chinese forum, issued exactly four years ago today:

世贸通:美国南州电厂项目四大优势强力保证
2010年10月13日 07:14美通社【大 中 小】 【打印】 共有评论0条
北京2010年10月13日电 /美通社亚洲/ -- 继顺利发布美国投资移民“爱达荷州金矿项目”后,为庆祝世贸通荣获南达科他州区域中心中国首席代理资格,并在中国首发美国南州电厂项目,世贸通隆重推出优惠月活动,并将召开“世贸通南州电厂项目中国首发会”,敬请莅临!世贸通南州电厂项目中国首发会预定电话:010-5979 9665400-700-3979

时间地点:

北京:2010年10月16日 下午2点半 国贸饭店一层B厅(国贸桥西北角),

深圳:2010年10月17日 下午2点半 圣廷苑酒店二楼多功能3厅(华强北路)。

演讲嘉宾:

Joop Bollen,南达科他州区域中心主席。

Maurice Berez,前美国移民局EB-5办公室主任、南达科他州区域中心首席顾问。

JaMEs Park,美国专业移民律师、南达科他州指定首席律师事务所。

Joe Jin,南达科他州区域中心亚太总裁。

项目简介:建设位于美国南达科他州布法罗岭的风力发电厂项目。

享受福利:全家绿卡,父母享美国福利,子女就读世界名校。

美国南达科他州电厂项目

美国南州西班牙电厂项目用以建设和经营位于美国南达科他州的布法罗岭风力发电项目,以满足美国对可再生能源不断增长的需求。2009年,奥巴马总统在爱荷华州牛顿市演讲时表示,至2030年,风力发电将占美国电力产量的20%,这对于环境和经济,都有巨大好处。美国政府将采取激励措施,3年内使美国的可再生能源产量翻一番。在此背景下,为了满足其成员负载增长的需求,并且满足国家可再生能源投资组合标准(RPS)的要求,必须增加可再生能源的发电产能。

项目四大优势强力保证

优势一:政府优势

南达科他州区域中心是属于政府机构,而非私人机构,隶属于南达科他州政府,由州经济发展部直接管理。依托政府优势,保障项目的正常运行。

优势二:就业优势

布法罗岭电力项目采用第三代就业方式,无需考虑直接就业人数,美国移民局批准南达科他州区域中心采用RIMS-Ⅱ就业计算模式,依据投资额来计算EB-5就业人数,每100万美元投资额可创造5.4309个间接就业机会,则该项目可创造2199个就业机会,但该项仅招募200人,2年后条件有保障。

优势三:投资优势

该项目直接贷款给具有107年历史,世界最大的再生能源的跨国集团,该集团是拥有1100亿美元资产的伦敦上市公司,这是美国EB-5法案立法以来,最具还款实力的项目,保障投资款五年后全返。

优势四:审批优势

南达科他州电厂项目是一个成熟的项目,审批速度快。2009年世贸通与南达科他州区域中心联合推出的北新电厂项目招募的219个申请人,全部审批通过,该洲超过600个以上成功的I-526(投资移民)申请,没有一个被驳回,成功率高达100%。负责布法罗岭电力项目的南州区域中心首席顾问Maurice是美国移民局EB-5办公室前主任,该项目将由Maurice亲自为客户审批申请资料,确保申请100%通过。

美移民史上还款能力最强的项目

由评级为 A 级的母公司,即西班牙伊维尔德罗拉集团出具的本票作为五年还款担保。担保形式为企业本票。西班牙伊维尔德罗拉集团的总资产达到1100亿美元,是伦敦证券交易所上市公司,交易代码为 ORD-SHS。伊维尔德罗拉集团的经营状况良好,国际三大信贷评级机构都给予了极高的信用评级,证明了该公司良好的经营状况和还款能力。

Don't get excited: "ORD-SHS" was the Iberdrola Group's symbol on the London Stock Exchange.

According to Google Translate and a reader-vouched Chinese speaker, the press release comes from a Chinese company calling itself World Trade Tong (tong here means expert). WTT announces two conferences being held by South Dakota Regional Center representatives Joop Bollen, Maurice Berez, and James Park to seek investors for Iberdrola's Buffalo Ridge II wind farm. Iberdrola completed that project in December 2010, but the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service put the kabosh on EB-5 investment in the project because the $100 million Bollen and friends raised would only have paid off money Iberdrola had already spent, thus not directly creating any jobs.

The paragraph I find interesting is the first of four "advantage" paragraphs, bolded above. Here's the sloppy Google Translate version:

One advantage: Government advantages

South Dakota Regional Center is a government agency, rather than the private sector, under the South Dakota state government, directly managed by the Ministry of Economic Development states. Relying on the advantages of the government to ensure the normal operation of the project.

And here's a human translation:

Advantage Number 1: Government

SDRC is a government agency, not a private business. It is part of the South Dakota State Government, under the Department of Business Development. The advantage of this is that the program’s operation is “protected” (under a government authority).

Hmm... both machine and human say that the press release mischaracterized the nature of South Dakota's EB-5 program in 2010. The South Dakota Regional Center was technically assigned to the South Dakota International Business Institute, an entity running at that time under the Board of Regents without an executive director. However, from January 2008 to December 2009, the program's director, Joop Bollen, privatized his EB-5 operations into his own corporation, SDRC Inc. By 2010, the program was operating fully as a private business, under contract with the Department of Tourism and State Development.

This all gets confusing, since SDRC and SDRC Inc. are indeed two very different entities. But one can understand how Chinese investors could have been confused by the claim that SDRC was a state agency even though the wheeler-dealers making the pitch in October 2010 were private profiteers.

15 comments

As if we haven't had enough fun today, I finally get a copy of the written threat the South Dakota Republican Party issued to local media: stop running an anti-Mike Rounds ad, or we'll sue!

William Taylor, attorney, on behalf of South Dakota Republican Party, letter to South Dakota television stations, 2014.10.08.

William Taylor, attorney, on behalf of South Dakota Republican Party, letter to South Dakota television stations, 2014.10.08. (Click to embiggen!)

We have been contacted by the South Dakota Republican Party about the recent advertisement that your station is running for Every Voice Action. The ad is dated October 2, 2014, and is ironically entitled "Responsibility." In the ad, the narrator states that "Mike Rounds gave his friend a no-bid contract to auction off EB-5 green cards to the highest bidder." This statement is false. The EB-5 program was never an auction, as Argus Leader reporter David Montgomery, who knows something about EB-5, had written. On October 2, he wrote that the reference to an "auction" was "simply not true" and a "core inaccuracy."

Montgomery is right. The ad is false and therefore defamatory. It is made with actual malice, meaning with knowledge that it is false or with a reckless disregard as to whether it is false. Given no evidence that Mike Rounds sold green cards to "the highest bidder," the ad's statement that Rounds was a party to a contract resulting in an auction is false.

This letter constitutes notice that your station is engaged in broadcasting a defamatory statement made with actual malice. If your station does not stop broadcasting the ad within 24 hours of receipt of this letter, we will take legal action to stop the ad, and to hold your station responsible for its broadcast [William Taylor, Woods Fuller Shultz & Smith PC, on behalf of South Dakota Republican Party, letter to South Dakota television stations, 2014.10.08].

Look at the laughably narrow grounds on which the SDGOP argues defamation. Look at the text of EVA's ad, line by line, and think about which ones strike you as the hardest swings at Mike Rounds:

  1. It's the Mike Rounds citizenship-for-sale scheme
  2. and it's getting worse.
  3. Now the Republican Legislature is investigating.
  4. Mike Rounds says [enter mocking high-pitched voice] "EB-5 doesn't sell citizenship."
  5. But Mike Rounds gave his friend
  6. a no-bid contract
  7. to auction off EB-5 green cards to the highest bidder.
  8. That is selling citizenship
  9. and Mike Rounds knows it.
  10. His cronies profit.
  11. Taxpayers have millions in liability.
  12. And Mike Rounds still refuses to take responsibility.

#5 implies Mike Rounds and EB-5 czar Joop Bollen are friends. #6 refers to a bad fiscal practice. #10 and #11 suggest full-tilt malfeasance. #12 is a direct insult. Heck, #4 even makes fun of Rounds's voice. A good lawyer ought to be able to shoot a half dozen defamation ducks in this barrel!

But the SDGOP's legal eagles ignore those targets and focus on auction, the technically inaccurate but least provocative term in the ad aside from the prepositions. The SDGOP filed no defamation suit against Rick Weiland when he ran his "Auction" ad last month. You could even argue that the error makes the EB-5 program sound more honest than it really is.

The Republicans have tried to dismiss Democratic lawyer Patrick Duffy's charge that Rounds committed felony production of false evidence as a "new low", but hey, Duffy at least has Rounds's exact words and specific statute to back him up. Either Craig Lawrence is as bad at hiring lawyers as Rounds is at hiring campaign staff, or the Republicans really don't have any response to the substantive charges of corruption in Mike Rounds's EB-5 program.

The SDGOP threat is moot, of course, because Every Voice Action has released a new ad that hits Rounds even harder... and it doesn't say the word "auction."

Mike and the SDGOP just have to get used to the facts. Rounds oversaw a corrupt program. Rounds is offering a story that keeps sprouting holes. And South Dakotans aren't buying his story.

48 comments

Yesterday SDGOP chairman Craig Lawrence accused Every Voice Action of "defamation" and called them "cowards." I don't think Lawrence understands the definition of either word.

Lawrence asserted at a "thunderous" press conference (yeah, and my daughter and I use thunder as a another word for farting) that the PAC's ads against Mike Rounds are defamatory and threatened to sue any TV station that ran them. What Lawrence and Rounds call defamation is really just criticism backed with evidence that Rounds can't answer. Give Mike Rounds anything less than the kingly deference to which he thinks he's entitled, and he'll sue you.

Lawrence then calls Every Voice Action (and, I assume by extension, all of us who criticize Mike Rounds) "cowards" for "defaming Mike Rounds without a shred of evidence linking him to wrongdoing.”

While I will continue to untremblingly post all the evidence, including Mike Rounds's own words, that shows Mike Rounds let corruption run unchecked in his EB-5 program, I challenge Lawrence's insult to Every Voice Action. They are not cowards. They have actually shown the courage to end the run of their latest ad, not because they are afraid of Lawrence's paper threat, but because they are committed to telling the truth. Their latest ad had said South Dakota taxpayers faced millions in legal liability for the corruption in Mike Rounds's EB-5 program. The Darley v. SDIBI ruling this week decided that South Dakota will escape such liability in one limited legal action arising from Mike Rounds's EB-5 program. While the threat remains that other parties may sue South Dakota over Mike Rounds's EB-5 program, Every Voice Action choosing to pull that particular ad. They are admitting that one of the arguments they made against Mike Rounds holds less water now than it did when they launched the ad. I tell debaters that ceding an argument takes guts. Every Voice Action is showing guts and honesty, not cowardice.

But they'll be back, with friends. Lawrence can shout "Defamation!" and "Cowards!" all he wants, but Mike Rounds sounds much more like the frightened man making things up.

66 comments

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