Rep. Kathy Tyler (D-4/Big Stone City) swings the big stick on the GOED/EB-5/SDRC scandal. In a press conference in Sioux Falls this afternoon, Rep. Tyler called for a special session of the South Dakota Legislature to authorize and fund an independent forensic audit of the Governor's Office of Economic Development, the state's EB-5 visa investment program, and all associated projects and businesses back to 2004. Here's the text of Tyler's petition:
Rep. Tyler says the audit and other reviews of GOED activities Governor Dennis Daugaard has ordered are too narrow and ignores activities of the South Dakota Regional Center, the erstwhile South Dakota International Business Institute, and the disgraced SDRC Inc. that lost its five-year contract to run our EB-5 program in September. Rep. Tyler also raises concerns about using local firms with even a hint of conflict of interest. "There are enough issues already without compromising the integrity of the forensic audit with a non-independent firm," says Tyler.
A special session just two weeks before the regular session begins may seem unnecessary. Rep. Tyler contends we need to get answers as quickly as possible without snarling up the regular session:
We are very busy during session. This issue deserves our undivided attention as soon as possible.
We need to show the people of South Dakota that we are concerned about their money and ferreting out the guilty and the innocent in this very complicated, incompetently run program. If done now, the forensic auditor may find issues that can be shared with federal investigators. Each may prompt more investigations.
We need to find the answers to the questions that are being asked right away. Let's get it behind us, so we can go into the 2014 legislative serssion without its burden [Rep. Kathy Tyler, prepared remarks, 2013.12.02].
Per the South Dakota Constitution, Article 3, Section 31, Rep. Tyler needs to get 46 of her fellow House members and 24 Senators to sign her petition. She dropped petitions in the mail to each legislator this afternoon; she will also be placing on legislators' desks tomorrow. She says the deadline for submitting petitions to the Legislative Research Council is next week Tuesday, December 10.