Along with a pair of nifty ads, U.S. Senate candidate Rick Weiland also released a poll which celebrates the fact that he's five points behind Undecided and ten points behind Mike Rounds.

Go ahead, Republican readers, laugh it up. I'll wait....

Clarity Campaign Labs says it conducted this poll "on behalf of the South Dakota Democratic Party." The Democratic pollsters called 3,837 voters from July 16 to July 23. The margin of error is ±1.44%. The numbers:

  • Mike Rounds: 34%
  • Rick Weiland: 24%
  • Larry Pressler: 10%
  • Gordon Howie: 3%
  • Undecided: 29%

These numbers don't invite cigars. To win, Weiland would have to get the undecideds to (a) break better than two to one for him over Rounds and (b) not fall for Pressler or Howie. Alternatively, he's going to have to peel a few casual Rounds voters away, then hope that Rounds's propaganda about Pressler voters leaning Democrat is right and that a big chunk of them come to their senses before November.

Just who are those Pressler voters? Clarity Campaign Labs says 46% of the Pressler pickers in its pool said they are Independents. The rest split evenly between Republicans and Democrats, each comprising 27% of Pressler voters. Stir all those percentages together, and you find that in this sample, Pressler is winning about 6% of Republicans, 7% of Democrats,  and 35% of Independents.

Looking Pressler's predominantly Indy appeal, here's one small optimism bone we can throw Larry's way. Clarity Campaign Labs says its full sample was 49% Republican, 38% Democrat, and 13% Independent. Compare that to statewide voter registration numbers as of July 1, and you find both parties slightly overrepresented and Indies somewhat more underrepresented. Squeeze Clarity's figures into actual party proportions, and the party leaders drop a point or two while Pressler climbs as much as five points.

Pressler continues to campaign as if his most fertile field is Weiland's voters. On Monday, Pressler sent out a press release pledging to support Senator Tom Udall's (D-NM) proposed Constitutional amendment to reverse Buckley and Citizens United and limit political campaign contributions. Pressler also praised Harvard prof Lawrence Lessig's proposal to give voters $200 vouchers for campaign contributions. Pressler appears to be angling for some sugar from Lessig's new Mayday PAC, which this blog has said would be a perfect fit for Rick Weiland's anti-big-money campaign. Pressler may mean every word he says, but cynics in the audience have leeway to read Pressler banking on Weiland voters being easier pickings than Rounds voters.

Even Weiland's numbers show Rounds still ahead and a hard hill to climb for Democratic victory. But this poll shows Rounds far from a runaway and Pressler far from the overwhelming threat to Dem hopes that Rounds wants us to believe.

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Kevin Woster thinks Rick Weiland's new 15-second ads hit the mark. "In 15 seconds, Rick Weiland engages in ways that many much-longer political ads don’t," says Woster. "He’s having fun. Getting his message acrosss. Quickly."

Weiland takes an apt swipe at Mike Rounds's big-money beholdenness:

"The bad part about not having huge corporate donors is that I can only afford this fifteen-second commercial for U.S. Senate. The good part, unlike my opponent, I won't be working for them when I get there." Heck yeah!

Rick then peels off for more of his ongoing tour of the state:

Big campaign money is a great advantage; Weiland is doing his best to turn cash into a liability for Rounds.

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Republican John Tsitrian digs America's two-party system. He thinks three or more parties make a paralyzing muddle, but he thinks one-party rule is even worse.

Tsitrian thinks South Dakota labors under harmful one-party rule. He blames, in part, the abdicant leaders of our Democratic Party:

Where, for example, is Tom Daschle these days?  South Dakotans made him who he is, but Daschle's blow-off of the state and his party's need for some leadership is regrettable and classless....

Corinna Robinson's Congressional campaign is starving for money.  Meantime, U.S. Senate candidate Rick Weiland looks to be running himself ragged going around the state on a shoestring of a budget against the lavishly-financed Mike Rounds.   Why should South Dakota's Democrats be excited about these candidates when you, Senator Tom Daschle, appear to be indifferent and apathetic?

I pose the same question to Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, bearer of one of South Dakota's legendary political names and a former South Dakota Representative to Congress.  Do you even care, Ms. Sandlin about how your party's fortunes are faring in South Dakota state races, the same South Dakota that your dad served as a state legislator and your grand-dad once governed?  Sheesh.  Come out here and show your face once in a while.

Even that great old liberal warhorse former Senator Jim Abourezk (a fantastic individual who once made it possible for me to visit Syria) could be out there helping out the party, if only within the confines of Sioux Falls as a concession to his age [John Tsitrian, "Memo To South Dakota's Democratic Elder Statesmen: Where Aaaaare Youuuuuu?" The Constant Commoner, 2014.07.30].

For what it's worth, I did just get a letter from Tom Daschle encouraging me to contribute to the SDDP's YELL Fellows program. Tom, Linda, and Nathan Daschle have put $4,009 into Weiland's campaign so far. Herseth Sandlin has put $1,000 into Robinson's campaign.

But whatever letters and money they are contributing, is Tsitrian justified in saying that Daschle, Herseth Sandlin, and Abourezk are derelict in some duty to the South Dakota Democratic Party? What do past office holders owe their party? Sure, parties help candidates get elected, but candidates reciprocate by busting their chops to get elected, by sacrificing privacy, family time, and job opportunities to serve the public. What do Tom and Stephanie still owe the SDDP? For that matter, what do Larry Pressler, Walter Dale Miller, or Clint Roberts owe the SDGOP? What will Kristi Noem and John Thune owe the Republicans when we retire them?

Tsitrian's complaint raises another question: who are the leaders of the South Dakota Democratic Party? Yes, yes, Deb Knecht is the party chair, Zach Crago is our able exec. But who really leads the Democratic Party? Who are the SDDP's William Wallaces, the folks who can paint their faces, shout "Freedom!", and rally Democrats to action? Who tells South Dakota Democrats whom, what, and when to fight? Who can walk into a room of donors and make it rain?

Do Daschle, Herseth Sandlin, or Abourezk wield any power like that? Do our current statewide candidates? Does Bernie Hunhoff? Jason Frerichs? Angie Buhl O'Donnell?

Who's the boss... and who if anyone has an obligation to keep being the boss?

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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.)

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Before being ruled out of order for asking questions Republicans don't want asked, Rep. Susan Wismer (D-1/Britton) told the Government Operations and Audit Committee that she had just read an article raising grave concerns about the EB-5 visa investment program.

She couldn't remember the title (she does have a lot on her mind—Republican stonewalling and corruption, her own campaign for Governor), but I think she was referring to this Fortune article from last week:

From the law’s inception in 1990, selling potential citizenship to the rich struck many as a corruption of American ideals. “Have we no self-respect as a nation?” asked Texas congressman John Bryant on the House floor that year. “Are we so broke we have to sell our birthright?”

But that powerful objection was overcome with an even more potent counterforce: The program would generate jobs where they’re needed most. Immigrants seeking EB-5 visas must invest their half-a-million dollars in a new business that creates 10 full-time U.S. jobs in a high-unemployment or rural district [Peter Elkind, "The Dark, Disturbing World of the Visa-for-Sale Program," Fortune, 2014.07.24].

The article notes that EB-5 enjoys bipartisan support, a fact alluded to by GOED boss Pat Costello in his testimony before GOAC today. Tycoons Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Sheldon Adelson support a reformed and expanded version of EB-5 and are worried that Congressional gridlock will result in the expiration of EB-5 on October 1 (what? Wait a minute—suddenly, I like gridlock).

But the Fortune article sees fraud and abuse in EB-5, just as we've seen (but which GOAC and the South Dakota Republican Party refuse to see) in South Dakota:

But because the EB-5 industry is virtually unregulated, it has become a magnet for amateurs, pipe-dreamers, and charlatans, who see it as an easy way to score funding for ventures that banks would never touch. They’ve been encouraged and enabled by an array of dodgy middlemen, eager to cash in on the gold rush. Meanwhile, perhaps because wealthy foreigners are the main potential victims, U.S. authorities have seemed inattentive to abuses [Elkind, 2014.07.24].

Lack of regulation, dodgy middlemen... sound familiar?

Rep. Wismer tried to get a straight answer from GOED chief Costello on how much economic impact the EB-5 program has had in South Dakota. Costello said South Dakota doesn't have such data.

Rep. Wismer should have read Costello and the committee this part of the Fortune article, which says Uncle Sam can't show any reliable economic impact from EB-5, either:

Others who have examined the program view it very differently. They question whether it generates many jobs—especially in needy areas. A December 2013 study by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general [also reported in the Madville Times, 2013.12.13] found that the government “cannot demonstrate that the program is improving the U.S. economy and creating jobs for U.S. citizens.” A February 2014 paper by the Brookings-Rockefeller Project on State and Metropolitan Innovation concluded that “knowledge of the program’s true economic impact is elusive at best.”

There are two reasons for that. First, the government is exceedingly generous in its employment tally. It gives EB-5 investors credit for all the jobs theoretically spawned by a project even when EB-5 money represents only a sliver of its financing. Second, for many mainstream ventures, EB-5 money isn’t really creating jobs—it’s merely saving developers money for projects that would be financed anyway. (Indeed, those big companies are actually “hijacking” money from worthy smaller investments in hard-hit areas, argues Michael Gibson, a financial adviser who vets EB-5 investments.) [Elkind, 2014.07.14].

In other words, EB-5 is a poorly regulated, easily abused program with no reliably demonstrable economic benefits. But given the bullying and stonewalling the Republicans on the Government Operations and Audit Committee displayed today, you won't hear about that.

Why bother having legislative hearings on EB-5? Rep. Wismer, just read us that Fortune article... and start handing out copies on the campaign trail.

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In November 2013, South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley staked out the public position that there was no prosecutable violation of state law that justified his taking action against Northern Beef Packers, SDRC Inc., Joop Bollen, or anyone else to recover $550,000 diverted from Future Fund Grant #1434. Last January, Governor Dennis Daugaard upheld that position in an interview on SDPB Radio.

But in October 2013, Attorney General Jackley prepared an arrest warrant for Richard Benda for his diversion of that grant money. The state of South Dakota was prepared to arrest the former state economic development chief for aggravated grand theft for his misappropriation of that big chunk of Future Fund Grant #1434. Here's the relevant text:

COUNT 1A

AGGRAVATED GRAND THEFT BY EMBEZZLEMENT, in violation of SDCL 22-30A-2, 22-30A-10, and 22-30A-17.1, a Class 3 felony, in that, with intent to defraud, he appropriated money belonging to the State of South Dakota entrusted to him to a use and purpose not in the due and lawful execution of his trust, to wit: Richard L. Benda obtained $550,000 in state funds by diverting economic development grant funds intended for the benefit of Northern Beef Packers, LP to his own use and purpose; or in the alternative

COUNT 1B

AGGRAVATED THEFT BY DECEPTION, in violation of 22-20A-3(1) and 22-30A-17.1, a class 3 felony, in that, with the intent to defraud, he obtained the property of another by deception by creating or reinforcing a false impression, to wit: Richard L. Benda obtained $550,000 from Northern Beef Packers, LP by creating the false impression that he had the authority to withhold $1,000,000 in grant funds due to Northern Beef Packers, LP unless $550,000 of those funds were paid to Richard L. Benda through South Dakota Regional Center, Inc. for loan monitoring services not yet rendered; or in the alternative

COUNT 1C

AGGRAVATED GRAND THEFT BY THREAT in violation of SDCL 22-30A-2, 22-30A-4(4), and 22-30A-17.1, a Class 3 felony, in that he did obtain property of another by threatening to take or withhold action as an official, or cause an official to take or withhold action, to wit: between December 28, 2010, and Janaury 26, 2011, Richard L. Benda, while holding himself out as an official or as a person who could cause an official to take or withhold action, did obtain $550,000 from Northern Beef Packers, LP by threatening to cause harm to Northern Beef Packers, LP by withholding $1,000,000 in grant funds from Northern Beef Packers, LP unless $550,000 of those funds were paid to him through South Dakota Regional Center, Inc. for loan monitoring services not yet rendered;

COUNT 2

GRAND THEFT in violation of SDCL 22-30A-2 and 22-30A-17(1), a Class 3 felony, in that, with the intent to benefit himself, he transfered [sic] property of the State of South Dakota to himself, though he was not entitled thereto, to wit: Richard L. Benda, between December 14, 2009, and on or about April 16, 2010, did obtain from the State of South Dakota the sums of $982.90, $3,740.60, and $836.30 to which he was not entitled by preparing and filing duplicate vouchers for reimbursement for these travel expenses despite having earlier received reimbursement for these same expenses from the State of South Dakota;

All contrary to the statutes in such case made and provided against the peace and dignity of the State of South Dakota [Attorney General Marty Jackley, arrest warrant for Richard L. Benda, prepared October 2013 but never served, released to Government Operations and Audit Committee, South Dakota Legislature, 2014.07.29].

Class 3 felony—that's up to 15 years in the pen and a $30,000 fine.

Attorney General Jackley released this draft arrest warrant this morning. Bob Mercer reports Jackley prepared these charges on October 8. On October 11, the attorney general scheduled a grand jury to convene on October 28 to hear evidence on Benda's activities.  Benda died October 20; an in-law discovered Benda's body and reported it to authorities on October 22. The arrest warrant was never served, the grand jury never convened, and Jackley ruled Benda's death suicide on November 22.

The second count relates to travel vouchers that Benda double-billed to the state. State officials have relatively consistently stated that violation mattered and that the state ought to get that money back.

But sometime between October and November, the state shifted its thinking on Benda's much larger money grab. Instead of looking for a way to return Benda's ill-gotten gains to state coffers, the state decided to wave its hands, mutter something about EB-5 being a federal program, and close the investigation.

Related: Following Jackley's disclosure of the draft Benda warrant to the Government Operations and Audit Committee and a closed-door discussion of legal matters, Rep. Susan Wismer (D-1/Britton) moved to subpoena Joop Bollen, who ran SDRC, Inc., the private company mentioned in the draft warrant. One might think that Bollen could shed some light on what his loan monitor Benda did with the money that the state thought, if briefly, had been stolen. Not wanting to shed such light, no one on the committee seconded Wismer's motion.

Odd: AG Jackley says he never interviewed Benda during the 2013 investigation, but he told GOAC today that his office did question Bollen. The attorney general thought Bollen was worth talking to, but the Republicans on GOAC do not.

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Libertarian Kurt Evans confirms tonight that he has changed his mind. The Wessington Springs man is suspending his bid to become Commissioner of School and Public Lands and now seeks the South Dakota Libertarian Party's nomination for attorney general.

Evans is not an attorney. He says that there remain at least two licensed lawyers who may throw their hats into the Libertarian ring for the AG's nomination. In the event a lawyer does enter the race, Evans says it is "possible but unlikely" that he will withdraw from the race.

Evans is one of a handful of Libertarians who have publicly expressed opposition to the AG candidacy of Chad Haber, a Republican with no law degree who announced his desire for the SDLP nomination in early July.

Evans notes with some amusement that he is making history by announcing his candidacy on an opponent's blog. I have indeed stated that, if the Libertarians have no suitable alternative, I would offer my services to their party as a nominee against Haber. However, I have stated that I would happily defer to a lawyer, a Libertarian, or even "none of the above" as ably recommended by Libertarian Ken Santema. Kurt Evans is an authentic Libertarian with statewide campaign experience. Evans is thus eminently more qualified for the SDLP nomination than this liberal Democrat or that other guy, whatever he is. Evans and I may oppose each other on various issues, but to his candidacy for the Libertarian nomination for attorney general, I offer no opposition.

The South Dakota Libertarian Party holds its convention on Saturday, August 9, 10:00 a.m., at the Sioux Falls downtown library.

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Now that Chad Haber is finally talking to the media about his purported desire to be attorney general, he's confirming what I've known would happen: get Chad talking, and he'll sink his own life raft without any help from me.

The aspiring Libertarian nominee spoke with Rick Knobe on KSOO's Viewpoint University last week. Haber is angling for the South Dakota Libertarian Party's nod with one main promise: money. He told Knobe that his entrepreneurial skills guarantee that he can raise campaign money, and he promised that every Libertarian candidate "will be propped up" with radio and TV ads, implying that Haber plans to bankroll the entire SDLP ticket.

Knobe asked Haber to give examples of his entrepreneurial activities. Following is the lengthy transcript of that exchange:

Rick Knobe: I want to learn a bit more about you. I went back and read some of the news stories and one of the things you list is you're an entrepreneur. Tell me what you've done that qualifies you to be an entrepreneur.

Chad Haber: That's a great question. So, I have owned several companies ranging from trucking to dealerships to manufacturing, and, yeah, it's good. I like doing startups. I like taking a small team that people think you can't do that and then proving them wrong. Annette's campaign was a great example. It was fun to do that, it was basically a startup.

Knobe: So the companies that you started up, how long ago did you do that?

Haber: So, five years ago when Annette's battle with Marty started, and they started throwing around the f-word—fraud—and, you know, when the attorney general makes a claim, the first assumption is that there's something hehind it. And the good thing is, in South Dakota, we are the most corrupt state in the country according to some sites, and Marty Jackley has had a scandal-ridden career. And so in South Dakota, he doesn't need to have an excuse, sometimes he just does it. You look at Brandon Taliaferro, you know, $250,000 to defend himself against trumped-up charges in the Mette rape scandal, the child rape scandal. He was the attorney that pointed out children were being molested, and then Marty tried to prosecute him for pointing out that children were being molested. 250 grand it cost him to defend that. That's economic terrorism. I think I got out about 2013, where I could just see that they were never going to stop attacking her, and every time they would attack—

Knobe: When they say attacking her, you're talking about—

Haber: —Annette—

Knobe: —Your Annette, your wife.

Haber: —and the headlines are always horrible, right? So now she's currently facing 24 years in jail. Not why I'm running. For the record, I love my wife, o.k., but—she's facing 24 years in jail basically because she learned how to raise money. So if you'd have looked at my businesses, you know, I had a lot of people dependent on me, and you don't do things like that for the money, you don't start businesses for the money, you start them because you have a dream and a passion, and so I sold out, and most of that money has now gone into medicines for kids and it's gone into legal defenses, and, you know, yeah, it's gone.

Knobe: So, o.k.—

Haber: So I was very rich. We should have been untouchable.

Knobe: O.K., so, go back, I want to get to—o.k., I understand what you've said about you've started businesses, you've run them, and you were very successful. Give me some names, 'cuz I'm trying to, I want to be able to put some names with some companies you've started that I would say, "Oh yeah, I know that one. Oh yeah, I know that one." Help me.

Haber: So the reason I got out is to protect the companies. By naming the companies now on the air, I'm making them a target.

Knobe: Why would you make them a target? Why would that be a target?

Haber: It's just what's happened. You know, five years of living through this, it's what happens. And so you know as you get to know me, you'll start saying, "Oh, that's that." I am afraid, o.k.? I'm very afraid of Marty and his retaliation... [transcription by CAH; Rick Knobe interviewing Chad Haber, KSOO Radio, 2014.07.24].

Let's unpack.

1. The Entrepreneurship Lie

The only specific example Haber offers of his fundraising skills is the Bosworth for Senate campaign. Haber talks revenue but neglects cost. He spent (and since Haber is claiming Bosworth for Senate as one of his entrepreneurial skills, let's assign him responsibility for spending decisions) more than six times as much per vote as big-money candidate Mike Rounds yet delivered less than a tenth of Rounds's primary-winning vote total. According to the total expenditures reported by Bosworth for Senate to the Federal Election Commission as of June 30, Haber spent $440 for every primary vote his wife got.

"Entrepreneurship" isn't throwing lots of other people's money around; it's producing return on investment. If South Dakota Libertarians are nominating an attorney general candidate based on the ability to deliver return on investment of campaign funds, they should dismiss Haber and nominate Larry Rhoden, who spent $9.39 per vote in the GOP Senate primary. Or nominate Stace Nelson, who spent $10.23 per vote and would bring criminal investigative experience to the office. Or nominate Jason Ravnsborg, who spent $27.38 per primary vote and has a law degree.

(I think I spent $60 on a newspaper ad when I ran for school board in 2011. I got 448 votes.  That's a bit more than 13 cents per vote. I'm an entrepreneur! Vote for me!)

2. The Business Dodge

Haber claims to have started and successfully operated a number of business that made him "very rich." He says he sold them all and now declines to name them for fear that they will become targets.

A review of public corporation records reveals that Chad Haber has indeed incorporated a number of entities. However, not one appears to be operational or to have made any discernible contribution to the economy. I have documented several business entities that Chad Haber has incorporated in Utah and South Dakota, the most prominent of which is 100X, a Utah entity that under Haber's presidency and directorship appears to have engaged in a mortgage-flipping scheme that sent six people to federal prison. Haber's other businesses include the following:

I see no evidence that Chad Haber has ever run a successful startup company. I see no evidence that Chad Haber has ever sold a startup company to anyone else and that said sold company is still in operation. Haber might as well be telling Libertarians that he knocked down trees in the woods where no one could hear them.

3. The Fear Fudge

Haber claims to be acting on "twenty seconds of insane courage," a line that Haber and eHarmony borrow from We Bought a Zoo. Twenty seconds must be all the courage Haber has in him. Pressed by Knobe to name his companies, Haber says he is "very afraid" of Marty Jackley.

What's there to be afraid of? Haber tried to defraud raffle ticket buyers, and the attorney general has yet to file any charges, settling instead for squeezing some refunds out of PHS. The state says Haber's wife broke Medicaid rules, and the attorney general settled for a relatively small financial repayment. AG Jackley has let slip away opportunities to bag Haber and Bosworth on evidence of real business misconduct; his record suggests he is unlikely to aggress any harder on trumped-up charges.

What's there to be afraid of? I bust AG Jackley's chops on a regular basis on this blog. I'm not afraid of him. What's he going to do to me? He can't take away my teaching certificate, which the state just renewed for another five years—ha!

If Haber's startups still exist, and if he sold them, what harm could the attorney general do to Haber through those businesses? If Haber still owns any legitimate businesses, how does not telling the press the names of those businesses prevent a vindictive attorney general from reviewing public business records, finding the names of Haber's businesses, and ordering all manner of audits and investigations? On KSOO last week, Haber wasn't as afraid of Marty Jackley as he was of Rick Knobe and his one simple question: Give me some names. Give us evidence that what you're saying is true.

4. The Courtroom Shield

Recall Haber's odd comment about his flown wealth: "...I was very rich. We should have been untouchable."

Untouchable. When I dream of getting rich (hey, did you ring that tip jar yet? ;-) ), untouchable is not the first adjective that jumps to my mind. It suggests that Haber views wealth as a way to avoid legal prosecution.

And if wealth isn't available, candidacy for public office is:

Knobe: ...this all could be for naught if you can't get on the ballot

Haber: Absolutely, and then I will be targeted. Being on the ballot—

Knobe: Well, no, I don't know if you're going to be—

Haber: —being on the ballot gives you some protection. It does. We saw a very peaceful year when Annette was a candidate for public office. O.K., it was a very peaceful year. Nobody messed with her until April, o.k.? That was the firs peaceful moment of breahting room we've had since—for five years.

Knobe: So are you running then because you think that if you get on the ballot that'll buy you more time for whatever—

Haber: No, no, no—

Knobe: —I want to make sure I understand

Haber: No, So I'm running because South Dakota has some clear problems, some of which I've experienced personally, and this is the most effective way to cause change, to create change [Knobe–Haber interview, 2014.07.24].

Haber slips and tries to recover, but his talk of protection belies his boilerplate. Haber's slip  supports the statement I made when he announced his candidacy three weeks ago: he is running for office to buy himself a few months of immunity from criminal prosecution.

Just like his wife, Chad Haber is his own worst enemy. The more he talks, the more he'll expose his own unfitness for public trust.

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