Rule #1 for any political scandal: follow the money. David Montgomery gives us an idea of how much money there is to follow in the EB-5 visa scandal facing South Dakota's state economic development program: millions of dollars in "closing" and "administrative" fees.
Millions of dollars in a complex financial scheme which Governor Marion Michael Rounds blindly turned over to one man, Joop Bollen. Millions over which the state hadn't exerted any tangible oversight since a 2008 Legislative interim review led by then-Senator Jason Gant (who knows a thing or two about corruption and incompetence). Millions that the Daugaard Administration finally woke up and took control of in August 2012.
Millions that for years Joop Bollen and economic development chief turned "loan" mastermind Richard Benda could repurpose to suit their desires and their friends' desires without much if any public attention.
Millions about which Joop Bollen is now remaining doggedly silent (much like Team Rounds blogger Pat Powers, whom this scandal has flummoxed into awkward silence filled with press releases).
The EB-5 scandal is not just some partisan hack job. It's not just Monopoly money. It is a boil of South Dakota's long-festering corruption coming to a head. We can only hope that our Governor and a majority of our Legislators have kept themselves honest enough that they can lance this boil, burn out every bit of crud and corruption, and pass real reforms during the upcoming Legislative session to run South Dakota like an honest state, not some good-old-boys' money laundry.
p.s.: Remember, we're still only the third most corrupt state. Third.
“I don't see anything morally wrong with it,” he said. “... What we're doing here is legal and it's federally approved. South Dakota is clean as a whistle.”
—Joop Bollen, in Emily Arthur-Richardt, "Green Cards for Sale: $500,000," Aberdeen American News, 2007.10.07