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Will Legislature Find EB-5 Corruption? Will Rich Chinese Find Good Schools in SD?

Last updated on 2014.06.09

The South Dakota Legislature will at least have some conversation about the EB-5 visa investment program in the coming months. After House State Affairs shot down two Democratic proposals for stronger oversight and investigation of the questionably managed green-cards-for-sale program, the full Senate approved HCR 1010, which requests that the Legislature's Government Operations and Audit Committee hold public hearings and issue a report by December 1 on the Governor's Office of Economic Development and related issues like the visa investment program and the bankrupt Northern Beef Packers.

I can see the December 1 headline: GOAC: GOED EB-5 M.O. OK.

Our discussion of GOED's use of EB-5 has revolved around the potential for corruption, in millions of dollars disappearing into an ill-planned and now bankrupt beef plant, funds circulating through secret investors and offshore accounts, and former public employees walking off with tax dollars and public records. Our committee investigating GOED and EB-5 may not want to investigate corruption too hard: according to a Sunday Salon report, one of the reasons more wealthy Chinese are seeking EB-5 visas and leaving China is their home country's crackdown on corruption. Our rotten ratings for government corruption might actually appeal to some of the EB-5 investor market. GOAC, dare you do any real digging?

Of course, an even bigger driver of emigration among wealthy Chinese is the fact that, test-scores be darned, they like our education system (and Great Britain's, and Canada's) much better than their own. Perhaps instead of luring investment cash from disengaged investors who don't pay attention to the shoddy business and environmental practices of their EB-5 beneficiaries, South Dakota should pour GOED money into education to make our schools magnets for the Chinese high-rollers who are trying to get their kids into Harvard and Princeton. Bring those kids and their families to South Dakota, and those rich parents will invest directly in our communities in ways that will produce ongoing improvements and tax revenue.


  1. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.02.11

    Cory, If the State is not going to do anything about EB-5, the failed Norhtern Beef Plant and the apparent corruption that lies therein, prior to the election this fall, or even the primaries in June, is there any word on the Federal investigation? I sure hope there will be something out before the June elections to throw some much needed light on the primary.

  2. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.02.12

    After I posted my previous post, I got to thinking I am going to contact the US Attorney's office and I also ask that anyone else that is concerned about this EB-5 and economic development scandal, do so as well and mention that the legislature is not going to do anything before the end of the year at the earliest, but that we need light shined on it before the June election. Phone contacts are below.

    Sioux Falls Main Phone: (605) 330-4400
    Sioux Falls Hearing Impaired TTY Phone:(605) 330-4403

    Pierre Main Phone: (605) 224-5402
    Pierre Hearing Impaired TTY Phone:(605) 224-4573

    Rapid City Main Phone: (605) 342-7822
    Rapid City Hearing Impaired TTY Phone:(605) 341-6064

    Aberdeen Main Phone: (605) 226-7264

  3. Sid 2014.02.12

    The real question is whether or not the Committee will use its investigative and subpoena power to get records and witnesses from other than GOED and other government agencies. If they are not going to do so, then it will be a complete waste of time since, based upon all the available information to date, all the chicanery which has been taking place has been within and under the guidance of SDRC, Inc. and its agents. Going after any more government records will do little to shed any light on where the missing millions have gone and who has been involved in the various shady financing arrangements. Or, perhaps, when these investors start raising an issue regarding the State appointing an agent, i.e. SDRC, Inc., to sell these investments under the guise that the State of South Dakota has vetted the quality of the investments and would monitor the investments to ensure that they were being properly operated. Or, perhaps, when they file a suit against the Governor (and, perhaps a former Governor) as well as Bollen and his gang (plus the varous boards of directors of these projects) for the missing tens of millions of dollars to "vanish" due to pure mismanagement and misdirection, then, perhaps, all will come to light.

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