The Legislature's Government Operations and Audit Committee is holding its first hearing on the Governor's Office of Economic Development and the EB-5 visa investment program. You can listen online through South Dakota Public Broadcasting.
GOED chief Pat Costello has made two very important statements thus far. Bob Mercer reports that Costello opened his testimony by saying "This is a serious matter and deserves serious attention from state officials." Costello's line reflects Governor Dennis Daugaard's professed alarm over the GOED/EB-5 scandal and further refutes the interference that GOP mouthpiece Pat Powers offered to excuse his lack of GOED/EB-5 coverage when the story broke last fall.
But Costello and Daugaard are going to make sure the slop from this scandal does not splash up on their administration. Costello declares that the buck stops with Richard Benda:
Any alleged wrongdoing in our office is isolated to a former employee no longer with us [Pat Costello, testimony before Government Operations and Audit Committee, quoted by Bob Mercer, 2014.03.07].
Former GOED chief Richard Benda is not here to defend himself, since he died last October. We have yet to see if this investigation will branch into implicating anyone outside of the Governor's Office of Economic Development in wrongdoing related to the questionable EB-5 program.