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MT Poll Results: Jackley Wrong on Benda Suicide, GOED Financial Misconduct

The latest Madville Times poll finds reader confidence in the South Dakota Attorney General's office about as high as public confidence in Congress. Last week, AG Marty Jackley declared that former Governor's Office of Economic Development chief Richard Benda committed suicide, and that a six-month investigation into financial misconduct in the GOED uncovered nothing more than $5,559.80 worth of plane tickets double-billed by Benda in 2009 and 2010. You, dear readers, mostly said, "Horsehockey!"

Do you believe Attorney General Marty Jackley's conclusion that Richard Benda committed suicide?

  • Yes: 26% (66 votes)
  • No: 70% (178)
  • Other: 5% (12)

Do you believe Attorney General Marty Jackley's conclusion that Richard Benda acted alone in mishandling state economic development funds?

  • Yes: 9% (21)
  • No: 90% (210)
  • Other: 1% (3)

Poll responses given Saturday morning, November 23, through Tuesday morning, November 26, 2013.

Your doubts mirror mine. Richard Benda's suicide seems unlikely (shotgun to the abdomen: 17th in lethality among common suicide methods, not terribly common, excruciatingly painful), but it is not implausible. Suicide, like other acts of violence, is often unexpected, an act out of character that friends don't see coming.

It seems far more unlikely that the Attorney General's six-month investigation into an office of a former governor now running for Senate would find that the only financial misconduct was carried out by one man who is now dead and cannot defend himself. That answer apparently feels too pat for 90% of you... and from everything I've read, you 90% are right to be so suspicious.

Now we all could still be wrong. But that this many people reject the conclusions of the state's top law enforcement officer in two publicly important investigations shows that the Benda/GOED story won't fade away in the tryptophanic haze of the coming holiday. These poll results also suggest that AG Jackley could be causing a Jason Gant-like erosion of public trust in a South Dakota state office.


  1. interested party 2013.11.26

    Extortion? Why would someone threaten Benda's family?

  2. Loren 2013.11.26

    Could just be my cynicism in this one-party state, but I have been telling my wife for over a year that everything Jackley is doing or has done seems to be geared toward running for governor someday. Everything has a political odor to it. Am I the only cynic??

  3. Bree S. 2013.11.26

    Okay - Jackley concluded his investigation in September and finds that Benda double billed the state for travel vouchers. But he concluded his investigation without ever asking Benda why he double billed for travel, or for who. Not to mention the half a mil Jackley never asked Benda about. He was too busy chasing down Willard for robocalls. And then Benda dies.

  4. Roger Cornelius 2013.11.26


    "Extortion". What are you talking about?

  5. interested party 2013.11.26

    The why, Roger: maybe someone threatened Benda's family because he was ready to go public with the who.

  6. interested party 2013.11.26

    It's not impossible that PP stumbled over the data while gleaning information for the SOS office and left because someone bought him off.

  7. interested party 2013.11.26

    Remember: Marty and Brendan Johnson are BFFs. Special counsel should be appointed: i nominate Larry Piersol.

  8. Rorschach 2013.11.26

    I don't think Marty Jackley and Brendan Johnson have ever even met each other. They may have spoken on the phone.

  9. interested party 2013.11.26

    Lalley said that in an 100 Eyes episode: on in 8 minutes, btw.

  10. Rorschach 2013.11.26

    I also believe that Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) and SD GOP Chair Craig Larry have never met.

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