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Daugaard Continues to Separate Self and State from EB-5

Governor Dennis Daugaard keeps building the wall of separation between himself and the scandal-hobbled EB-5 visa investment program. Check out his answers to Bob Mercer's question on the program.

On Daugard's knowledge of the EB-5 program:

I was generally aware of the EB-5 program as lieutenant governor, to the same degree that any interested observer might have been. I don't remember ever talking with Governor Rounds or any of the Rounds-era Tourism and State Development (TSD) secretaries about EB-5 while I was lieutenant governor. I have not discussed the program with Governor Rounds or any of those TSD secretaries since I took office in 2011 [Governor Dennis Daugaard, interview with Bob Mercer, "Q and A with Gov. Daugaard: GOED Not Marketing, Soliciting EB-5 Projects," Mitchell Daily Republic, 2014.02.20].

On his intentions toward EB-5:

Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED) is not actively marketing or soliciting EB-5 projects or investments. The office provides information on the program to interested projects. That is a result of the leadership change at GOED and my desire to refocus our economic development efforts. EB-5 is a federal program. Now that the SDRC contract is terminated, GOED will be taking an administrative role in regard to EB-5. If a project wants to pursue EB-5 investment, GOED will submit the project to USCIS for approval. GOED will continue to receive reports from existing EB-5 projects, and to make the required reports to USCIS [Daugaard, 2014.02.20].

Governor Daugaard has been distancing himself from EB-5 since before he first announced the federal investigation into financial misconduct in his predecessor's office of economic development last October. One must wonder, though, if Governor Daugaard really wanted to refocus the state's economic development efforts, why he let private contractor Joop Bollen and former state official Richard Benda run EB-5 for two and a half years before finally ending their state contract.


  1. Sid 2014.02.21

    What did he know and when did he know it...
    The ultimate questions. The answers given have two problems. Either he took a deliberate "head in the sand" approach" or, he knew a lot more earlier (like by summer, 2011 or earlier) and has been working on his story since realizing this could explode on his watch so as to avoid the political blowback.

  2. mike from iowa 2014.02.21

    Four possibilities here. He is covering his eyes,ears,mouth or ass with both hands. He needs to learn to multi-task, like dumb bass dubya and lie out of both sides of his mouth at the same time.

  3. interested party 2014.02.21

    Anyone know how Hani Shafai exploited EB-5?

  4. advocate 2014.02.21

    So he only had tertiary knowledge of the program, but decided it was wise to refocus efforts elsewhere? How did he evaluate the benefits/disadvantages of the program when he made that decision without...well...evaluating it?

  5. Porter Lansing 2014.02.21

    "I don't remember..." You don't remember, Governor? Another example of Conservative Gopher Hole politics.

  6. Rick 2014.02.21

    Incredible. It's the Sgt. Schultz alibi after letting the creeps run rampant for two and a half years and keep their pockets filled. I'm most stunned by his statement that he never discussed the topic with Rounds (who hand-picked him as his successor). Really? They live in the same town. He served with Rounds in the Rounds administration for eight years. Really? What about his son-in-law, one of his two chiefs of staff? Can he really be that isolated in the bubble?

  7. Jim 2014.02.21

    Dennis is choosing to appear incompetent rather than complicit. Those are his only two options.

  8. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.02.21

    Remind me Cory, didn't he allow funding to continue after the contract was voided?

  9. hmr59 2014.02.22

    This is a similar scenario to the 2010 election when DD claimed there were no budget problems in state government...just before instituting a 10% across-the-board cut during his first legislative session as governor. Either he's REALLY good at compartmentalizing or he was the dupe for Marion "Mike"avellian and left out of the loop for eight years. Well, well...tell me why we should vote for either of these guys again this year??

  10. G-Man 2014.02.22

    Gov. Daugaard does not know the details of his own programs, but, he seems to have known what was going on in Dick Benda's head before he killed himself. He doesn't recall the details of the EB-5 Program Benda was involved with, but, he's so "sure" "stress" is what drove Benda to supposedly kill himself? I can't believe one more word that comes out of Dennis Daugaard's mouth.

  11. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.02.22

    G-man, I stopped believing anything coming out of DD's mouth right after the 2010 election when, as hmr59 pointed out, he claimed during the campaign that there were no budget problems before turning around after the election and asking for a 10% across the board cut in the budget.

  12. Sam 2 2014.02.22

    He can run but he can not hide

  13. G-Man 2014.02.23

    Larry and Sam, I once lived in South Dakota during the Rounds Era and the beginning of DD's era. About a year and half after Stephanie lost to Kristi I got the hell out of there and came to Oregon. I don't regret that decision and love it out here. As for DD, I hope the citizens of South Dakota FINALLY WAKE UP. Dear God, I pray they do.

  14. G-Man 2014.02.23

    Sam, you're right. Some kind of evidence is going to come to light beyond the evidence that already has as the audit continues. I got a gut-feeling someone is going to stumble across something else in the not too distant future. There are ominous signs lurking at the now vacant beef plant up in Aberdeen.

  15. Mark Schuler 2014.02.23

    Gov. Daugaard keeps back peddeling to distance himself and the State from the EB-5 program. From the above comments I get the impression, the commentors dislike the Govenors tatics to distance himself from the politcal suicide he has created and is digging a bigger hole for himself. Now as a voter, i will not forget at the next election if Gov Daugaard's name is on the ballot, he will not get my vote. I did vote for him the his last election and i'm ever remorseful that I voted for him. Now, I understand for him to continue in politics, its a tatic he will use to help his future ambishions. Its what polititions do. I believe he did and does know what was going on. The more he back peddels, the guilter he looks.. Some of the voters will remember and as time goes on other voters will forget. Its the nature of the beast. His concept of business is scary and wastful, but built on maybe's. Maybe the business he recruits will "locate" here, spend millions of dollars and "hire" locals for labor and give the business "incentives" to locate her. Look what happened in Aberdeen. How many other "businesses" got EB-5 money that we don't know about? Obviously, he doesn't believe in South Dakotan's to produce goods and services, just forgein investors,(as does Washington, D. C.). I think he should invest in South Dakotan's instead of taking money from D. C. He is just a puppet for the D. C. crowd. He should set up local people to develop wind power, young farmer programs to help them get started, instead of forgein investors to build cafo's of beef or pigs or dairie. Be a leader of food production instead of listen to D. C. Its proven that the farmies will produce, if they can make money at it.. Look at ethanol. Who built that. Farmies. Now the oil companies are using the EPA to regulate the farmies out of the ethanol business. Hello, Pierre, grab the bull by the horns and do whats right for South Dakota!!!

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