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Oklahoma Republican Seeks Info on EB-5; SDGOP, Take Note!

In more EB-5 irony, some of the folks most passionate about investigating the EB-5 visa investment program that Republicans like Mike Rounds so eagerly promoted in South Dakota are Republicans from outside South Dakota. Testifying Wednesday in support of his bill to terminate South Dakota's involvement with EB-5 investment, Rep. Stace Nelson (R-19/Fulton) invoked the work of Republican Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa, who has raised national security alarms about Communist China's interest in our EB-5 program. Grassley has also pitched a fit about apparent Obama Administration cronyism funneling EB-5 money to favored politicos.

Now Republican Senator Tom Coburn from Oklahoma is seeking more information about EB-5 regional centers. Not falling for the silly arguments we've heard from South Dakota state government that our EB-5 program involved a private contractor and thus can't be investigated, Senator Coburn has sent letters to these federally authorized entities and asked for...

  • Any approval from USCIS to participate in the EB-5 program regarding the regional center and its business plan, including any subsequent recertification;
  • The total annual amount of investment and the number of individuals by country of origin making investments through the regional center since it has been in operation;
  • The name, address, and a description of each business in which the regional center has made an investment of funds and the number of jobs created by each investment;
  • Any fees charged to EB-5 applicants or received by the regional center, including amount and description;
  • A list of any current or former corporate officers of the regional center, including title, position, and dates of employment; and
  • The name and address of any individual or entity — either foreign or domestic — that the regional center has an agreement with to provide legal, accounting, recruiting or consulting services, as well as a description of the service provided.

[David North, summarizing Senator Tom Coburn, letter to EB-5 regional centers, 2014.02.14]

Nationwide, the lawyers who make money coordinating EB-5 programs are decrying Senator Coburn's request for public accountability and urging their regional center clients to clam up. I am eager to hear whether Senator Coburn gets a response from South Dakota's terminated EB-5 exec Joop Bollen or from the reticent caretakers of the idled program in our Governor's Office of Economic Development.

I am also eager to see if South Dakota Republicans, who have blocked efforts for more serious investigation and outright stoppage of our state's EB-5 activities, will develop anything like Grassley's and Coburn's interest in EB-5.

Related: Canada is terminating its Immigrant Investor Program, the program that inspired the U.S. to create EB-5. Canada found that the mostly Chinese immigrants who took advantage of their program paid less in taxes than other immigrants, generated less investment income, and drove up housing prices.


  1. Jim 2014.02.21

    As a federal program, as Marty so often reminds us, it would be nice to know how our congressional delegation feels about the eb-5 here in SD and other states. John and kristi, do you share the concerns of your colleagues in Iowa and Oklahoma? Or are you unable to have an opinion at this time?

  2. rollin potter 2014.02.21

    Hey Jim, You know thune doesn't share the concerns of his colleagues in iowa or oklahoma or his constituants in SOUTH DAKOTA! Where was smiling Johnny when the senator from minnesota was trying to get help for the waterline in eastern south dakota, western iowa,and southwestern minnesota? where was Johnny boy when the railroad was looking for help in extending the rail line from chamberlain west to presho? He was in a republican retreat at the mackinac republican leadership conference in Michigan!!!!!!!!!! where was johnny boy when the senate cut back by billions of dollars to cut back on food stamps for the poor????? johnny boy held a meeting in sioux falls in august to discuss challenges and opportunities of providing air service in rural states! ON august 11, 2013, a week after his big meeting, the associated press reported
    air service being cut back in south dakota's capital city!!!!!! He sure impressed those people with all his power!!!!!

  3. Joelie Hicks 2014.02.21

    The GOP cannot operate by themselves. Democrats including Bernie are voting to keep it here.

  4. Tara Volesky 2014.02.22

    Hey everybody, this EB-5 scandal is huge. Attorney Steven Sandven has been investigating EB-5 since 2009 and has unbelievable information. Everybody needs to be involved in this because the media is not doing justice to this case. I am surprised the Argus Leader won't interview this great attorney who has dedicated probably over $200 thousand dollars of investigative legal work to the taxpayers of SD. Mike Myers went right down to the Argus with documentation he received from Mr. Sandven to get this information out to the public. Lora Hubbel just interviewed with an investigative journalist. I heard Kathy Tyler on the Steve Belfredge radio show giving a very informative history and telling about the corruption of the whole situation while immediately getting diverted to another subject. Thank goodness for internet and Cory and the bloggers. Stay tune for direct coverage on this scandal from the studio of Michael Myers. Professor Myers has extensive experience and educational degrees and background in journalism and law. He will give us the real story of what is going on with the EB-5 scandal via podcast. If anybody would like to come on his show, let us know. Like Mr. Sandven said, "somebody has to do it". Thanks Steve and Mike and everybody else who is trying.

  5. Rick 2014.02.22

    Tara, who at the Argus received the documentation that the Argus is not using to inform readers? When did they receive it? Is the Argus stonewalling this issue? If so, why do you think they are doing that?

  6. tara volesky 2014.02.22

    Mike tried to get on 100 eyes on SD politics. He talked to Patrick Lalley. Patrick said he will eventually get him on but, WHEN. You can call Mike and he will tell you the whole story. I was with him in Mr. Sandven's office Wed. Feb 19. Myers is handing out the summaries to many people. He would be more than happy to give you or anybody else the information. Cell# 605-659-4681. Home# 605-659-4681. This is to important to wait on Feds. I don't trust them and they will not be as intrinsic as Mr. Sandven. He's the only guy I trust because he is doing this for the people.

  7. Tara Volesky 2014.02.22

    I have a correction to make....It was Jonathon Ellis from the Argus that said Patrick had just left and was looking for a guest. Mike Myers believes Patrick will ask him to be a guest on 100 eyes.

  8. Jenny 2014.02.22

    Lalley is known for being very pro open-government. It was the Argus who investigated Mike Rounds and his love for flying the state plane all over for entertainment purposes and billing the state for it.

  9. Rick 2014.02.22

    Did Ellis indicate any interest in using the information? Or did he blow it off because he thinks it's already out there on a blog?

    The Argus did press the state plane issue. That was then. Today, the Argus' best days are long gone. The newsroom is an ivory tower.

  10. tara volesky 2014.02.22

    Yes, the greatest political/investigative reporter, Dave Kranz...Legend. Miss him. Professor Myers is not beholden to any party, corporation, or special interest group. That is why he is not going to wait on the federal investigation concerning the EB-5 which is suppose to be disclosed in December? What's up with that. When are the elections? November? Let's get some answers before the general.....better yet, before the primary.

  11. Rick 2014.02.22

    Justice delayed is justice denied.

  12. Robin Page 2014.02.22

    Thanks Cory for keeping us updated on this scandal! I am sure there is much more information to come.

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