Annette Bosworth admits she misspoke yesterday... about something that she really should have done before submitting her illegitimate nominating petition. In her appearance on KELO-AM radio yesterday, the fake GOP Senate candidate told host Greg Belfrage that she had recognized mistakes on her petitions and asked her lawyer if she should recirculate them. She said (to the extent that she said anything clearly) that her lawyer said no, her petitions would get by just fine. Now (under orders, I suspect, from a very upset Joel Arends, her attorney), Bosworth recants:

Bosworth Clarification of KELO Radio Interview

(Sioux Falls, South Dakota) – Statement by Dr. Annette Bosworth regarding yesterday's radio interview with KELO Radio's Greg Belfrage.  "Yesterday while appearing on the Greg Belfrage show, I incorrectly and inarfully [sic] suggested that I was advised by legal counsel prior to submitting my petitions to the South Dakota Secretary of State's office.  This was an incorrect suggestion on my part, as I did not direct or ask my legal counsel to review the petitions or process before they were submitted.  Any suggestion that counsel reviewed the petitions, the process or offered advice beforehand is incorrect and I regret suggesting otherwise" [Annette Bosworth for U.S. Senate, press release, 2014.04.18].

Inarfully... that means failing to bark properly?

Not recanted from Bosworth's Thursday KELO-AM interview:

  • Bosworth's apparent contention that my being a "self-proclaimed communist, atheist blogger who lives out of state" has any bearing on the facts of her petition violations.
  • Bosworth's statement that her fundraising is a miracle worked by God Almighty.
  • Bosworth's statement that her invalid signatures aren't "dead Indians under the ground."
  • Bosworth's accusation that I have paid people to say negative things under oath about her.
  • Bosworth's attack on the character and credibility of Ethan Crisp, the campaign staffer whom she used and still hasn't paid.
  • Bosworth's absurd allegation that the mysterious and nameless "entrenched powers" tried to stop her raffles.
  • Bosworth's false accusation that people on her team weren't "faithful," let stress get t them, got greedy, and stole raffle money and papers from her.
  • Bosworth's declaration that Steve Hickey and I and other citizens have no right to raise legal questions about her campaign without first forming a personal relationship with her.
  • Bosworth's implication, repeated from her Tuesday train-wreck video, that I am really some big-money political mastermind trying to shut her down. (Let me just say that I didn't even get a refund from the IRS this year, while Bosworth is reporting $900,000 in campaign contributions.)

Of all the misstatements and outright lies Bosworth told on the radio yesterday, her misstatement about the advice she got from Joel Arends is the least of her errors. And this admission only strengthens the case that she is wholly responsible for willfully submitting a petition that she herself recognized had problems that could invalidate it.

Related: Greg Belfrage graciously invited me onto his program for the first time this morning. We talked briefly about Bosworth's irrelevant (his word) attacks on my character, then focused on the questions of fact and law surrounding Bosworth's illegitimate petition. The podcast is now available on KELO.com.

And yes, even on the radio, I did wave my arms a lot. Enjoy!

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...Contractor Still Out $2.1 Million; Workers Unpaid

I have frequently cited Scott Waltman's July 2013 summary of the costs of building Northern Beef Packers to discuss how much money that failed EB-5 project made disappear. Dirk Lammers now offers updated figures showing the state lost more than I was saying. His breakdown of the $4.3 million we handed to the now bankrupt and fire-saled plant includes the $2.1 million that then-Governor Mike Rounds hurriedly shoveled toward NBP in his final days as Governor.

  1. $67,600: Future Fund grant to Mentor Group in November 2010 for plant appraisal;
  2. $150,000: Future Fund grant to Aberdeen Development Corporation in December 2010 for economic impact study and marketing;
  3. $1 million: Future Fund grant to Northern Beef Packers in December 2010 for construction costs (actually to fill Richard Benda's golden parachute);
  4. $200,000: Future Fund grant to Brown County in December 2010 for road construction;
  5. $582,000: portion of $843,000 Future Fund grant in January 2011 for workforce training;
  6. $300,000: grant to South Dakota Department of Agriculture in January 2011 for the South Dakota Certified Beef Program (another Rounds failure);
  7. $1.2 million: grant in June 2010 "to provide a conditional loan to Northern Beef Packers for construction costs and employment recruiting";
  8. $845,000: state construction tax refunds.

Lammers's total: $4,344.600.

Now that's a small portion of the $167 million in total investment that Northern Beef Packers made go poof. Neither figure is the $80 million that Senate challenger Jason Ravnsborg offhandedly said during last Saturday's debate that we had lost. Senate candidate Mike Rounds tells Lammers that the state loss figure is actually zero, because NBP generated tax dollars and will generate more tax dollars in the future.

The Governor's Office of Economic Development estimates that Northern Beef would account for at least $3 million in sales and use taxes and contractors excise taxes paid to the state, based on filings made during the bankruptcy proceedings.

Rounds added that he expects that the plant will eventually be processing cattle.

"In essence, the taxpayers of South Dakota did not lose any taxpayer money on the bankruptcy of the Northern Beef plant," Rounds said. "And we still have the plant. It has been built, and it will be operational" [Dirk Lammers, "South Dakota's Help for Northern Beef was About $4.3M," AP via AgWeb, 2014.04.17].

Evidently did not means will not, and balancing a Mike Rounds budget requires a time machine.

Rounds also does not account for the losses suffered by Scott Olson Digging, which is still suing to get the $2.11 million it says NBP (now bankruptcy raiders White Oak/New Angus) owes it for work done in 2007. Rounds does not account for the paychecks that hundreds of NBP workers did not get last year.

Rounds of course is playing word games, as seems his wont. He forgets (check that; he wants us to forget) that had we not poured money into the NBP money pit, we could have invested in other projects that might still be operating and employing hundreds of South Dakotans. Instead, he wasted money on an unsustainable business plan that satisfied his dreams of a legacy on which to run for Senate in 2014.

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Denise Ross doesn't go quite as far as other observers who declared Stace Nelson the winner of last weekend's SDNA-sponsored GOP Senate candidates debate, but she sees signs in Rounds's debate performance and ad campaign that signal trouble in Rounds-land. She calls Rounds's attack on Stace Nelson "a move uncharacteristic of him during his time as governor and a potential violation of the unwritten rule that a candidate far ahead in the polls ignores the other candidates." 

She also sees Rounds's attack as the first clear sign of the influence of Rounds consultant Dick Wadhams:

Dick Wadhams can be remembered as the guide who shepherded John Thune to a seemingly impossible victory over Tom Daschle in 2004, serving as Yoda to Thune's Luke Skywalker. A decade later, Wadhams is working for Mike Rounds.

I covered that 2004 race and am confident very little, if anything, from the Thune camp was unscripted or unprepared for, even an infamous barnyard expletive uttered by Wadhams to a Daschle campaign aide. I learned years later that utterance was meant to distract the press from another issue, and it worked.

All of which is to say Rounds' retort to Nelson Saturday surely was planned and rehearsed during debate prep with Wadhams [Denise Ross, "Could Rounds Be in Trouble?" Mitchell Daily Republic, 2014.04.17].

One would think Wadhams would counsel Rounds not to expend any more effort than he has to. If Rounds is attacking Nelson, he must have to. Just how close could Nelson be to Rounds?

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Sioux Falls will be popping with provocative political discourse tomorrow. Greg Belfrage has invited me converse with him on KELO-AM Friday morning at 8:20 a.m. about petition law, public discourse, and South Dakota's Senate campaign. Sioux Falls commuters, watch out for drivers distracted by a "self-proclaimed communist atheist blogger who lives out of state" speaking on conservative South Dakota talk radio.

If that interview doesn't burn the city down, the Sioux Falls Democratic Forum (brave sponsors of this blog!) will host their Friday Forum at the Sioux Falls VFW. In more cross-partisan craziness, these Dems have invited Republican turned Independent Larry Pressler to speak to them. That program starts at noon.

Pressler may get questions about an anonymous website set up to attack his record. Pressler's real website, LarryPressler.com, is somewhat sparse on issues, so someone has poached and redirected LarryPressler2014.com to throw up details on Pressler's record. The latter site attacks Pressler as a big-spending, self-serving Washington insider beholden to PAC money.

It's hard to tell who's behind that website. Its derogatory tone smells like the work of Mike Rounds's man Dick Wadhams. But the Pressler attacks, based as they are on reminding people of Pressler's record, could be coming from Democrats concerned that nostalgia might lure potential Weiland voters to Pressler's professed moderation.

Pressler knows he's in for hard questions; nobody gets off easy at Democratic Forum!

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The South Dakota Legislature's Government Operations and Audit Committee is evidently so distracted by the GOP primary circus (or perhaps so beholden its frontrunner?) that it forgot that it was supposed to be reviewing the Governor's Office of Economic Development and the EB-5 visa investment program. Here's a draft agenda of GOAC's next interim meeting, May 7, 2014:

Government Operations and Audit Committee draft agenda, received 2014.04.16 (click to enlarge)

Government Operations and Audit Committee draft agenda, received 2014.04.16 (click to enlarge)

Corrections, Governor's office (maybe?), Department of Agriculture... hmm... no explicit mention of EB-5 and Northern Beef Packers. No subpoenaed testimony from Joop Bollen or Jeff Sveen. No apparent fuflillment of House Concurrent Resolution 1010, which the Legislative leadership used to defuse pressure for immediate legislative action on improprieties in the Governor's Office of Economic Development by promising that GOAC would "conduct hearings" (plural!) "on issues related to the Governor's Office of Economic Development, beginning this 89th Legislative Session upon receipt of three independent audits." HCR 1010 authorized GOAC's GOED hearings to "include a review of all available audits and other information, ordering of additional audits, questioning of persons involved in related economic development projects, and opportunities for public testimony."

GOAC held one hearing on GOED on March 7. The May 7 hearing appears not to advance the stated goals of HCR 1010. GOAC currently has no other meeting scheduled before the primary. And if EB-5 promoter Mike Rounds wins the primary, we may not hear another peep from GOAC on the topic.

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I don't care how much money you make: you will not buy a better campaign video than Rick Weiland's newest submission, a full-length music video, recorded entirely in South Dakota, with the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate himself strumming and singing. No auto-tune needed:

Original lyrics, authentic images: That's the kind of message and footage a tour of every town in the state buys you. Marvelous!

And give Rick bonus points for the metaphorical weight of pitching his merits by co-opting a song by a man named Cash.

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What spell has Annette Bosworth cast over Pat Powers? This morning, Greg Belfrage refused to allow the illegitimate U.S. Senate candidate to barge unannounced into his studio and take over an interview with Rep. Steve Hickey. Belfrage says a politician has never before tried to do such a thing on his program. Belfrage actually did Bosworth two favors, offering her air time on tomorrow's program and giving her 24 hours to cool off and think about how she should respond.

Yet Powers finds fault not with Bosworth's impulsive defensiveness but with Belfrage's editorial management of his program:

Aside from blowing a chance for what would have been classic unscripted radio, why wouldn’t Belfrage give her the chance – on the spot – to explain why she’s not in the wrong?

Yes, tomorrow, people will get to hear something sterile, controlled with scripted questions for Dr. Bosworth. It’s just too bad the host has steered it towards something inauthentic [Pat Powers, "Belfrage Refuses Bosworth's Instant Rebuttal to Hickey Commentary," Dakota War College, 2014.04.16].

Here is the instant rebuttal I offered to the Powers commentary, a comment that Powers refused to publish instantly:

Hmm, let’s see: I come to your blog uninvited and ask to offer immediate, unscripted, uncontrolled responses to you and your guests, and you generally refuse me that privilege entirely. How is your editorial control of your blog any different from what you criticize Belfrage for doing this morning in controlling his program?

I'm not sure how a talk show host acts improperly by inviting a guest (Rep. Hickey) to take time out of his day to speak on the radio, granting that guest the time promised to air his views, and telling a person who tries to interrupt and claim some of that time for herself that she can come back the very next day and have time to respond herself.

Suppose Belfrage has Mike Rounds on his program. Suppose Stace Nelson happens to be in town, drives over to the studio, and demands that Belfrage interrupt Rounds and allow Nelson to say a few words. Or suppose I called and demanded Belfrage yield the microphone to let me interrogate Rounds about GOED, EB-5, and Richard Benda. I think Nelson vs. Rounds live and unannounced would be great radio. I think me vs. Rounds would be pretty good, too.

But if I were Mike Rounds, I'd be torqued that I took time out of my busy campaign day to have an interviewer break his promise to me as to how we'd use our time. And if I were Greg Belfrage, I'd say, "This is my radio program, and I'll talk to whom I want when I want according to the promises I make."

Belfrage is at least as free to schedule guests as Powers is to moderate comments. And in devoting an entire segment of his program to Annette Bosworth on short notice (not to mention staving off a likely ill-advised, self-damaging, heat-of-the-moment reaction), Belfrage is showing Bosworth more consideration than Powers shows to citizens who wish to share their opposing views on his proprietary public forum.

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Dr. Annette Bosworth flaunts her Che Guevara t-shirt, Facebook, October 16, 2012.

Dr. Annette Bosworth flaunts her Che Guevara t-shirt, Facebook, October 16, 2012.

Illegitimate U.S. Senate candidate Annette Bosworth is now taking heavy fire from the South Dakota's right flank.

Rep. Rev. Steve Hickey (R-9/Sioux Falls) and KELO-AM conservative talker Greg Belfrage just unloaded a drive-time bombing on the fake campaign. Belfrage invited Rep. Hickey on air during the eight-o'clock hour this morning to discuss the lawsuit he withdrew Monday against the Secretary of State's certification of Bosworth's nominating petition. Hickey reiterated the statement he released to this blog Monday, saying Bosworth's "unscrupulous, scandalous, unChristlike" compelled him to speak out against her abuse of the electoral process.

His comments on air this morning were no less blunt. Rep. Hickey said every press release from Team Bosworth on the petition challenge has been false. Rep. Hickey (who, remember, is also a conservative pastor) said it drives him nuts to see candidate claim to be Christian and Republican and post devotions online yet brag about astroturf Facebook Likes ("we all know those aren't real") and raise money out of state with spurious fundraising companies. "Grandma in Florida is writing checks expecting that what she's reading on that mailing is the truth," said Hickey, and instead, Grandma is getting "duplicitousness" from Bosworth.

"Character matters more than Republican talking points," said Rep. Hickey. He sees a lack of character in her false petition circulating oath and in her ever-shifting story about the Che Guevara t-shirt she flaunted on Facebook.

Anticipating a Bosworthian response (and Bosworth was apparently banging at the studio door, demanding to be allowed a response on air this morning), Belfrage asked Rep. Hickey how he'll respond to charges that he has some ax to grind. Rep. Hickey responded that he has endorsed no candidate but that Bosworth simply won't answer questions, resorting instead to "backtrack and avoidance" and "major spin." Rep. Hickey said he spoke up in part because of Bosworth's attack on me. Rep. hickey said he sees Bosworth waging an "unChristlike" attack on a citizen activist who challenges politicians in an honest way. Rep. Hickey said an attack video on Bosworth would be ten times worse than he poking at me for once losing a job.

After soothing Bosworth's off-air temper by promising to have her on for an interview tomorrow, Belfrage said he essentially agrees with Rep. Hickey: Bosworth is an illegitimate Republican candidate. Belfrage said that he initially gave the challenge no thought when it was coming from "just a liberal blogger." He said he was skeptical of reports like those I've published on Bosworth's raffle scams and unpaid employees; such stories come out in political campaigns all the time, driven by disgruntled folks with axes to grind.

But Belfrage said he now wishes he had paid attention to criticisms of Bosworth sooner. He said my argument that Bosworth submitted a fraudulent petition is a "pretty compelling case, a fairly damning case." But it took Rep. Hickey speaking up to really get Belfrage to take note.

Belfrage wrote his own damning blog post yesterday, and he reiterated that commentary for his drive-time listeners today, likening Annette Bosworth to Bill Clinton:

This is yet another mess for Bosworth, whose campaign has been plagued by allegations of scandal and wrongdoing.

I've been reflecting a great deal on this situation since it first unfolded. I've been guided by a very simple belief. Oaths matter.

Many people made excuses for former president Bill Clinton when he lied to a federal grand jury about his involvement with Monica Lewinsky.

However, I said, "Oaths matter."

I'll say the very same thing now. Oaths matter.

If you took an oath swearing that people signed petitions in your presence, but you were out of the country at the time...you lied. It's just that simple [Greg Belfrage, "Bosworth Escapes Court Challenge," KELO-AM: The Daily Dose, 2014.04.15].

Belfrage then brought the Jesus:

As I've been contemplating Bosworth's petition troubles, I've been recalling the words of Jesus in Luke 16:10.

"The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones" [Belfrage, 2014.04.15].

Belfrage finds the other stories of Bosworth's wrongdoing hard to sort out, but he says breaking an oath is a dealbreaker.

To frost the cake, real U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Stace Nelson (R-9/Fulton) appears to be taking the same position. At yesterday's GOP Senate candidates' forum held by the Siouxland Republican Women, someone asked Bosworth about the challenges to her petition. Bosworth evaded, saying she's facing attacks because she has lots of grassroots support. Rep. Nelson stuck his neck out and said that he's read the arguments made against Bosworth's petition and agrees there are legitimate concerns about whether she should be on the ballot.

Donors, pay attention: it is not just one liberal blogger or a reporter in Pierre questioning Annette Bosworth's credentials as a Republican candidate. It is a conservative, pro-life pastor. It is the most prominent conservative talk radio host in South Dakota. It is a genuine grassroots conservative Senate candidate. It is Republicans.

Update 10:10 CDT: Belfrage tweets that he has had politicians surprise him with phone calls, but he has never had one just show up at the studio. Scott Hudson tweets that Belfrage should have let her in: "It could have been a legendary moment in South Dakota political radio. Pat Powers agrees. I say Belfrage did Bosworth a favor by giving her 24 hours to think about what word salad she wants to serve in response.

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