Bob Mercer reports that the Daugaard Administration has approved at least four projects funded by EB-5 visa investors since 2012:
The Daugaard administration approved four projects in the past two years for a recruiter to seek foreign EB-5 investors. The approval letters were released Monday. The most recent was dated July 23.
...The NextEra, Iberdrola and the latest version of Dakota Provisions projects were approved in 2012 for recruitment of EB-5 investors. Dakota Provisions also received EB-5 investments during the Rounds administration.
The latest project to receive state approval was Dakota Natural Meats, a proposed pork-processing plant. Its location hasn’t been announced. Incorporation papers show its organizers are three men from Flushing, N.Y. [Bob Mercer, "Governors Approve EB-5 Programs," Aberdeen American News, 2013.11.04].
That's funny: in Sunday's paper, the Daugaard Administration was working pretty hard to distance itself from the EB-5 program that Governor Mike Rounds and his economic development chief Richard Benda so eagerly promoted:
“Rich spent a huge amount of time, I think, promoting participation in EB-5 programs,” said Tony Venhuizen, a senior adviser to Gov. Dennis Daugaard. “That wasn’t because of a state program. EB-5 isn’t a state program. It’s just because in his view, his general portfolio, he saw that as a way to promote economic development.”
...Benda’s successor, Commissioner of Economic Development Pat Costello, has been much cooler to using the EB-5 program.
“GOED has not actively promoted the EB-5 program during the Daugaard administration,” Venhuizen said. “There are certainly projects that make use of or plan to make use of EB-5 investments that GOED works with, and tries to encourage or promote those projects, but they have not been actively promoting the EB-5 program.”
That means Costello never has encouraged, in person or through subordinates, foreigners to make EB-5 investments in South Dakota projects, Venhuizen said. Although Costello and Daugaard have traveled to China on official business, Venhuizen said those trips were “focused on the more traditional trade opportunities of selling South Dakota commodities and goods in China.”
“There were some instances where someone on those trips might have inquired about the EB-5 program, and they directed them to the SDRC,” Venhuizen said [David Montgomery, "Questions Go Beyond Beef Plant," that Sioux Falls paper, 2013.11.03].
So to be clear (which Governor Daugaard's office isn't): Governor Dennis Daugaard and Office of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Costello are not actively promoting the EB-5 visa program. They've just been approving projects that use it. Active promotion was the job of Joop Bollen at the SDRC. And since the Governor cancelled Bollen's contract to promote EB-5 on September 19, that means nobody is actively promoting EB-5 investment in South Dakota right now. Right?