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GOED Junket to China for Chinese Export Marketing: $3,465 Per Person

The Governor's Office of Economic Development announced yesterday that eleven captains of South Dakota industry will accompany Governor Dennis Daugaard on his third trade mission to China. The Governor, friends, and flunkies will spend May 9–16 wining and dining potential export partners in beautiful downtown Beijing and Shanghai.

An eager reader asks how much such junkets cost. To guesstimate, let's look at former GOED chief Richard Benda's travel expense voucher, submitted March 12, 2010, which included expenses for an EB-5 recruitment tour of China from November 8 to November 23, 2009:

excerpt, Benda Travel Voucher, 2010.03.12, p. 8
excerpt, Benda Travel Voucher, 2010.03.12, p. 8 [click to embiggen]
But wait, there's more:

excerpt, Benda Travel Voucher, 2010.03.12, p. 9
excerpt, Benda Travel Voucher, 2010.03.12, p. 9 [click to embiggen]
Benda's airfare, taxifare, meals, hotel rooms, and the ever-popular miscellaneous for this trip add up to $4,846.27. I've tried not to double-bill anything, but we know how these things happen.

So let's compare that to the cost for Governor Daugaard's upcoming trip. Airfare is airfare, so that cost should match Benda's, a total here of $1,221.20. Now Benda got a break on airfare on this November 2009 trip. For his December 2009 trip, one of the tickets he double-billed, you and I had to pay $3,740.60.

The other costs should be proportional to time in country. Benda's trip was sixteen days; Daugaard's junket will be eight. Divide Benda's meals, lodging, and miscellaneous by 2, and you get $1,812.54.

Assume 3% average inflation in China since 2009, add... Presto! $3,465. Per person.

The taxpayer's price will vary. We'll pay full price for Governor Daugaard and GOED boss Pat Costello (you are going, right, Pat? I mean, the Chinese expect our top officials). GOED said that business partners on the trip will be reimbursed up to 30% for one company rep, so we might spend $1,040 on each corporate honcho.

But for Pete's sake, if you want to make the sale, don't scrimp on entertainment for this one-week junket to China.


Multicultural Note: Dennis, Pat, Rudy, when you sit down for dinner with those Chinese execs, don't turn to the comely young women next to them and say, "And this must be your lovely wife":

Young women who are mistresses in China are professionals, and some get a very handsome salary for what they do. According to reporter James Palmer, if high-rolling businessmen and government officials don't have a mistress, they don't get respect.

Palmer lives in Beijing and has written about mistress culture in China. He says it's like the mafia culture portrayed in the movie Goodfellas: Saturday nights are for wives, but Friday nights are for mistresses.

"You have events for your wives, but you also have these events where you're expected to bring a woman," Palmer tells NPR's Arun Rath. "And if you don't bring a woman, you're seen as not being a real man" [staff, "Corruption Blurs the Lines of China's Mistress Culture," NPR, 2014.03.02].

Well, that's awkward.


  1. Nick Nemec 2014.03.13

    "You have events for your wives, but you also have these events where you're expected to bring a woman,...And if you don't bring a woman, you're seen as not being a real man"

    For this trip to be successful and given this Chinese cultural phenomenon will the South Dakota delegation need consorts? This will add another level of expense and might explain some of Benda's Philippine expenses.

  2. Tasi 2014.03.13

    This trip worked well for Millennium Recycling in the past. They are now exporting paper pulp to China for their industrial machine. I'm not against that sort of thing, really. Global markets can be a way of diversifying income streams for small business.

    I do have a problem with GOED's bullshit. And Nick could be right. In that case, I hope to see line items for our envoy's 'mistresses.'

  3. Steve O'Brien 2014.03.13

    While over there, I hope they check to see if any teachers would like to come back with them to SD to fill some needed vacancies as well.

  4. Rorschach 2014.03.13

    It's pitiful that taxpayers have to pay companies to promote their own products. Why should taxpayers pay 30% or any % for company executives to develop an export market for their products? More corporate welfare brought to you by the same folks who think poor Americans should go without food and healthcare.

  5. mike from iowa 2014.03.13

    I watched a documentary on Walmarts relationship with China. Walmart was building three or four giant container cargo ships and they go to China EMPTY and return fully loaded. Trade with China seems to be pretty much one way. For the hell of it,send Ann Coulter along and see if the Chinese can tell if the gender-bender with an adams apple is a real man. She? appears somewhat feminine,but cusses like a muleskinner,so I've heard.

  6. Rep. Stace Nelson 2014.03.13

    Now you folks can understand why they were so committed to defeating this resolution highlighting the security threat that China is to the USA:

    FYI, this same resolution was passed by the Republican National Committee last spring. So, ask yourself, why are so many Republicans voting against an established Republican position?

  7. DB 2014.03.13

    Rep Nelson, are you suggesting we take an isolationist approach?...or are you overlooking the fact that we are committing the same acts against the chinese? Frankly, I have no problem doing commerce with them. In fact, I know of a dealing with China in the works that would send a lot of money to our sd community. I find it somewhat hypocritical to condemn them for acts that we ourselves commit against the chinese, our gov't leaders, and our own citizens. How about you fix something at home before you attempt to fix something overseas? NSA anyone?

  8. mike from iowa 2014.03.13

    Funny that the countries wingnuts are so afraid of-China and Russia-sport the same colors of the wingnut party,RED. Commie red don't look any different than rethuglican red. Coincidental?

  9. Rorschach 2014.03.13

    Your resolutions are a dime a dozen, Rep. Nelson. You are the primary cause of resolution fatigue in Pierre. When they killed this resolution, GOP legislators weren't voting against an established Republican position. They were voting against YOU. They are tired of you wasting time on resolutions and tired of you acting as the self-designated GOP purity police. They are tired of you trying to build yourself up by tearing your own party members down.

  10. larry kurtz 2014.03.13

    Pseudonymous commenters attacking Rep. Nelson are cowards.

  11. larry kurtz 2014.03.13

    @ArgusMontgomery 4m
    Nelson is the lone Republican to vote with the Democrats on their motion to send the Building SD bill back to committee.

  12. Roger Cornelius 2014.03.13

    So, Stace Resolution Nelson wants President Obama to declare a verbal war with China over cyberwarfare, and at the same time the South Dakota Republican delegation are preparing a junket to China to do commerce with the communists, isn't there a conflict in there somewhere?

    Stace, when America needs to borrow money, where do they go to get a loan? Might that silly resolution jeopardize the financial needs of the country?

    If Stace Resolution Nelson wants to continue to offer resolutions, why doesn't he offer something with substance and meaning behind it. His attempts at promoting South Dakota resolutions to dictate national policy are meaningless.

    For instance,how would his resolution honoring Ron Paul better the lives of South Dakotans?

  13. Winston 2014.03.13

    Does Benda's receipt from the "Go-Go" bar in Ho Chi Ming City have an address on it? It could be helpful to the South Dakota delegation in hooking-up with some "cultural" partnerships before the delegation makes it to Beijing and Shanghai, and also offer further credibility in the eventual eyes of the Chinese…. possibly the trip should be via Vietnam?…..

  14. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.03.13

    I'm still working on that receipt, Winston. Note that the Benda trip I'm looking at here doesn't stray past China.

  15. Troy 2014.03.13

    To the extent that Rich did things he shouldn't have, this is fair game for debate. I just hope we can minimize the reference to sensational places he might have gone out of respect for his daughter and the dead. A reimbursement for non-business items is all that needs to be said.

  16. larry kurtz 2014.03.13

    nice swerve, tory troy.

  17. Roger Cornelius 2014.03.13


    I wonder what would upset Benda's daughter more, knowing that he patronized known sex districts or not knowing exactly how he died.

    Your attempt to minimize or contain Bendas' or others activities surrounding the GOED scandal are futile, this is a blog, people will say what they choose.

  18. Jenny 2014.03.13

    Call me devil's advocate, but if he adored his daughter that much he wouldn't have been flying around the world and frequenting go go clubs doing god knows what. I can always tell how much a man loves his kid by how much time he spends with them, if he is willing to fight for full custody, etc. From what I've heard, he didn't even see his kid that much.

  19. Nick Nemec 2014.03.13

    Not only was he going to "sensational places" he was either so stupid or so arrogant that he thought he could or should have the State reimburse him for his activities.

    Mike Rounds is either a negligent manager or a co-conspirator. Either on disqualifies him for the US Senate.

  20. Nick Nemec 2014.03.13

    I'm sick and tired of hearing about respect for the dead and the sensibilities of Richard Benda's daughter. Her dad is a criminal and a coward. How many prisoners are there in the South Dakota prison system doing long hard time for stealing less money than Mr. Benda did. The difference? He's a upper class white collar criminal and they are lower class blue collar criminals.

    Calls for respect for the dead and the children they abandoned are really calls to abandon the investigation out of fear the truth might come out.

  21. larry kurtz 2014.03.13

    n squared: you rock.

  22. Jenny 2014.03.13

    Shhhhh - Golden Boy wants all that kept quiet so he can be SDs next Senator!

  23. Jerry 2014.03.13

    I wonder if they will be going through Kuala Lumpur on a connecting flight. As long as we have the mystery of Benda, we may as well have further mysteries.

  24. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.03.13

    Okay Rorschach, you get my support on one post. You said that the taxpayers should not have fund the selling of companies' products, which is something on which I fully agree with you. The economic development done for companies, to me is just as bogus as training their workforce.

    But where I take issue with one of your posts, is you said that the legislature was voting against Stace's resolution because of resolution fatigue. I would say that they voted against Stace's resolution because he has shown that he is not one of the good ole boys who will toe the party line, and so he is persona non grata to the Pubs. It is way past time for the people of SD to wake up to that type of thinking. They did it with Heidipriem as well as many other Republicans over the abortion issue. I hope this is going to be the year that the voters see through this party first thinking and start to elect people based on their integrity.

  25. Donald Pay 2014.03.13

    This makes much more sense than sinking money into shale research, which is mostly to prepare for a nuclear dump. China has recently announced efforts in the next several years to modernize their ag sector, and they are particularly interested in using technology to increase yields and decrease pollution. It seems to me SD has several companies that could definitely benefit.

  26. Winston 2014.03.13

    I stand corrected, the "Go-Go" bar was in Makati (Philippines) and not Ho Chi Minh City. I should have known that only a capitalist country would have a bar which exploits women…. So I guess, the South Dakota delegation should return to China via the Philippines and not Vietnam.

    As far as Troy's concerns, well what can I say, I learned my tactics watching FOX News back in the nineties and that whole thing with the GAP dress and the cute intern.

    Nick's comment about arrogance and Rounds is spot on. Either the Rounds crowd doesn't get it or they are just plain arrogant, which would explain why Rounds once declared it "G. Gordon Liddy Day" here in good ole' South Dakota…. What's his defense to that, stupidity or arrogance of power and self-righteous political agendas?

  27. Roger Cornelius 2014.03.13

    Am wondering what the wives of the governor, his staff, and the businessmen think about Chinese traditions and demonstrating their manhood.

  28. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.03.14

    I'm thinking that government lends extra weight to a trade mission. Also, people expect the government to create jobs. On the other hand, if the businesses paid the expenses for elected government leaders, that would be described as bribery. So . . .

    . . . does government have a responsibility for the economy? If it does, how? Do taxpayers foot the bill?


  29. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.03.14

    Deb, Of course government has a responsibility for the economy, by setting regulations that help business to be able to do business. But that does not mean that government should give away the house, or the environment, or the protections that they also owe to the citizens. I am always astounded by those on the right who for years have complained about corporate taxes, even in light of the fact that there are literally hundreds of corporations in this country who pay no taxes.

    At the same time they ignore completely the cruelest tax of all, which just happens to be the cruelest tax on our citizens, that of the cost of healthcare. Our corporations compete with corporations from all over the earth, but companies outside the US, have government provided healthcare for all, which in turn keeps the cost of healthcare down. But here, because we allow the insurance industry and the healthcare industry to run the show as far as healthcare, the cost has far outstripped inflation year after year for over twenty years.

    As Senator Thune pointed out late last year or earlier this year, the cost of our healthcare has gone to taking 20% of our GDP and that is unsustainable. He is right, but he and those on the right, particularly the far right, the tea party types have opposed ACA since before its debate and continue to now since it has become the law of the land. With medicare for all option as envisioned by Mr Weiland, we will have a chance to get healthcare costs under control and take the cruelest tax of all off corporations and our citizens. Then corporations can search for their own employees, train them, and pay them a living wage.

  30. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.03.14

    Troy: Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack and Michelle Obama, and my wife and I all have daughters. Shall we catalogue the scurrilous charges made against all six of us on a certain other blog, on much less evidence than I've presented in the discussion of Richard Benda's GOED activities, without regard to the existence of our female offspring?

  31. DB 2014.03.14

    Donald Pay is on to something big.......that's all i'll say about that. There is nothing wrong with economic development that increases the amount of money coming into the state.

  32. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.03.14

    DB, you either distract or over-simplify. There can be plenty wrong with increasing the amount of money coming into the state if that money brings negative impacts and if we have to divert taxpayer dollars from other more worthy projects to do it.

  33. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.03.14

    Do you really think bringing a nuclear dump to South Dakota would be worth the percentage-point uptick in state GDP?

  34. DB 2014.03.14

    I just know more about what's coming. It'll be good for our town's economy and might add some culture.

  35. DB 2014.03.14

    " divert taxpayer dollars from other more worthy projects to do it."

    You gotta spend money to make money....and that return could be better in the long run. Short term thinkers never do well in business.

  36. Troy 2014.03.14

    Bill, Hillary, Barack, Michelle, George, Laura et. al. have and do suffer abuse where things are said about them that is often untrue and uncharitable. Comes with the territory, even if it is wrong.

    Here is where this is different. We are a small state and Rich isn't here to defend himself to us or explain things with his family. I would hope we could just refrain from the sensational aspects. Whether an improper reimbursement was requested, in my mind the wrong is the same (whether it was to make a donation to a charity, put the money in his pocket, or something else) and the harping on the sensational is just perverse. None are excusable.

    And, Nick, your statement "Calls for respect for the dead and the children they abandoned are really calls to abandon the investigation out of fear the truth might come out." is crap and offensive.

    I am the one who is asking that we try to refrain from the sensational aspects of what may have occurred. I've never, ever made a single statement against pursuing the truth in due course. Further, just so you know, I do expect you to exercise restraint with regard to respect for the dead, especially if you are a member of Council #5738 which has as a principle to extend charity (assistance, kindness, mercy) to widows and children left behind.

  37. Jenny 2014.03.14

    So in a small state you're not supposed to talk about such indiscretions? That's just ridiculous. South Dakotans have every right to talk about what's going on in their state govt - good or bad. That's the typical SD mentality, look the other way, hush up about it, while corruption gets worse. "Oh, it was just that one time where our Golden GOP boys made a boo boo". What a crock!
    Now, finally now, thanks to CAH and his blog, some of the more sensible South Dakotans are starting to take notice that that their one party state govt is corrupted and do not like what they see.
    Was it a nice funeral, Troy? How many of his GOP buddies were there? Enough with the extending charity crap talk.

  38. Nick Nemec 2014.03.14

    Oh that's cool Troy throw my membership in the Knights of Columbus in my face. How long did it take to dig up the council number?

    You may think my statement is crap and offensive but I beg to differ. Benda is a coward because he committed suicide and left that poor daughter without a father. Mike Rounds is either an incompetent manager (failed to provide oversight and set up a system of checks and balances to prevent Benda and Joop from robbing the system) or he is a co-conspirator (knowingly allowed Benda and Joop to run wild and graft the system blind). Either is enough to disqualify him from a seat in the US Senate.

    I'll take your concern that I've failed to live up to the ideals of the Knights of Columbus under advisement. Please publicly admonish Mike Rounds (Council 2886) as well. A friend of his and long time department head in his administration died and from all accounts I've read he failed to attend the services and console the daughter and widow. Is a divorced spouse still considered a widow?

    The "sensational" facts of the case are what they are. Ignoring them out of some Victorian sense of propriety serves no purpose other than to protect Mike Rounds and his failures.

  39. John Tsitrian 2014.03.14

    Troy, I'm a member of the Canyon Lake United Methodist Church in Rapid City. We tend to push charity too. But we also try to follow the maxim that "the truth shall set you free." I feel for the Benda family in its time of crisis and tragedy, which will pass, but the interests of the community need to prevail here, and the community is more than reasonable in wanting to know what happened to its money during Benda's tenure as a state employee.

  40. mike from iowa 2014.03.14

    If the facts of this case clear Benda of wrong doing,that should be mercy for the family. Get to the bottom asap and get the truth out there. Either way,it will work out for the people of South Dakota and those left behind.
    My best guess is there will be no definitive proof one way or the other about Benda's role. Too much time has been allowed for evidence to be tampered with.

  41. Troy 2014.03.14


    I agree the truth needs to come out on the matters that are a lot bigger than a reimbursement. Thus, I think we should focus and discuss the big items and not worrying WHERE he spent a few dollars. It serves no public purpose. But, I disagree it will pass, it is a burden they will carry the rest of their life.

    Nick, I don't want to discuss this with you anymore in public except to say I did what I could to protect the family of a friend of yours and I had hoped you would do the same. I've sent you and email (copied to Cory in the event the address is no longer valid).

  42. rick 2014.03.14

    Justice delayed is justice denied. Other than one news reporter, one blogger and one lawyer in Sioux Falls, nobody is seriously digging up what already is the most damaging Governor scandal in state history. Conversely, there is an army of political operatives in state government and on campaign payrolls who are working overtime to stuff this down. They've had months of warning before the public was made aware to prepare their alibis, hide/destroy evidence and contain the damage.

    Vlad Putin doesn't have things as good in Russia as the power clic in Pierre have it with their iron fist control of media, money and the rumor mills in every city.

    So, yes, we are very frustrated with the foot dragging, the white washing and hush-hushing coming from Pierre. We don't need the paternal admonishing to keep it all on the down-low until we get more information. The information train is being circumvented, as are the wheels of justice to act on information which already seems actionable.

    This is not time for a quiet discussion behind closed doors. That only fulfills the wishes of those who need to be indicted and those who are complicit because they failed to rein in the greed, recklessness and lawlessness of the Mike Rounds Administration.

  43. John Tsitrian 2014.03.14

    Troy I have no doubt that there are many pieces to this puzzle. How do you know the size of the matters involved? The reimbursement issue could open up avenues of query and investigation that nobody has yet even dreamed of. This is the public's money involved and the public has every right to know the details of what happened to it.

  44. Jenny 2014.03.14

    You scratch your back and I'll scratch yours. Now I'm really wondering who this family friend of Nick's is that Troy Jones is protecting, since I know Nick. Is there criminality with Nick's friend also?
    I guess Troy would know about hiding scandals since he worked for SD state govt.

  45. Jenny 2014.03.14

    You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours (I meant).

  46. Troy 2014.03.14


    I agree. My only point is we don't have to emphasize the sensational aspect of these vouchers. I'm advocating no hiding of anything. Whether the improper reimbursements went to a charity, his pocket or somewhere else, the bad act is the same.

  47. DB 2014.03.14

    Democrats just need to sensationalize the expense reports to include perverse activities because to them its not about the wrongdoing they can prove, but about the perceived wrongdoing that they can plug into the minds of voters. With each step they make themselves look less and less credible.

  48. Jenny 2014.03.14

    Okay, keep the booze, sex and drugs hidden, I get it.

  49. mikeyc, that's me! 2014.03.14

    Since we are on the subject of Rounds, I will throw this
    question out to all of you-
    Does anyone know what Mike Rounds had against the
    Black Hills Playhouse in Custer State Park? Why was he
    trying to shut them down near the end of his administration?

  50. Nick Nemec 2014.03.14

    DB, what about my contention that Mike Rounds is either complicit or incompetent?

  51. Nick Nemec 2014.03.14

    For what it's worth, to foster openness and reduce speculation, Troy's e-mail to me was concerning former Democratic legislator Gil Koetzle and his suicide when he learned he was being investigated for down loading kiddy porn. The local media widely reported the story at the time.

  52. Roger Cornelius 2014.03.14

    Over on the Pro-Life blog here on Madville, Troy attempted to limit bloggers to restrict the meaning of pro-life to his definition. Now he is again trying to "control" discussion by not sensationalizing news reports and information discovered by Cory.
    The reality is that if Rounds, Daugaard, Jackley, Joop, et al, came clean on GOED there would be no need to sensationalize anything.
    There was an opportunity this week for anybody that wished to testify at that joke of hearing by the state legislature, instead there were limitations on the scope of the investigation and if nothing else, gave the appearance of a continued Republican scandal. If all these players had no part in the GOED scandal they should have been lining the halls to proclaim their innocence.
    When people don't have facts, they will speculate, just as Troy does.
    I agree with Nick, Benda brought this on himself and has shown his culpability, as a state employee and an agent for Joop he recklessly spent our money. Whatever is said about him, true or not, he has earned.

  53. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.03.14

    I knew Gil Koetzel well, was a near neighbor as well as a next door neighbor to his sister-in-law and worked with his wife, both in the workplace and in a volunteer capacity. My kids went to school with his kids. I don't know that he would have called me a friend, but I sure felt that he was my friend as he was of many folks in SD.

    I would still have a hard time believing that he downloaded child porn and would not be surprised if his was a political hit for all the work that he did for labor in South Dakota. I was thinking of his case the other day when folks were bemoaning the fact that Benda's name was dragged through the mud after he was gone. There was no compunction to protect Gil's good name or shield his wife and children from the disgrace that was alleged.

  54. Winston 2014.03.14

    "Democrats just need to sensationalize the expense reports to include perverse activities because to them its not about the wrongdoing they can prove…"

    What? Submitting a "Go-Go" bar receipt to your employer, especially when that employer is a government entity, if not stupidity, is definitely pure arrogance, which symbolizes the arrogance of power that results from 35 years of one party rule in this State.

    There is no sensationalism here just the painful truth and if you cannot handle it too bad. But you probably cannot handle it because the GOP establishment in this state has an air of entitlement towards State government and it cozy relationship with the business community and doesn't think it has to answer to anyone, and when you have that attitude you start handing-in "Go-Go" bar receipts to your public employer.

    My goodness, Troy, citing Nick's K of C membership right down to the Council's number? What do you have a Stasi type political dossier on all the bloggers out there? And what are you a graduate of the Clyde School of Opposition Research? (Oops, I shouldn't have mentioned him too, because he has left us as well…..)

  55. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.03.14

    Where Richard Benda spent our money is very much part of this story. EB-5 may tell a much bigger story of corruption, but Benda's expense vouchers raise legitimate questions of return on GOED investment (how many Filipinos invested in EB-5 in South Dakota?) and poor management on the part of a current U.S. Senate candidate. Remember the GOP blowback on President Obama when Secret Service agents paid for hookers in South America?

  56. DB 2014.03.14

    10k is hardly worth getting upset over, and my immediate boss never examined my expense reports. That was the job of accounting so I'm not entirely sure why you think it was a complete failure on his part. Before you bring up the 550k, there isn't anything you can do to a company after they meet the requirements to receive the payment. If Rounds is incompetent for that, then Obama is incompetent for allowing AIG bonuses from bailout funds. Complicit in an attempt to take pennies for someone who is worth millions?....I doubt anyone worth that much money is going to risk everything for so little. All in all, the guy is dead and unless the feds come up with something else implicating others currently in office, I wouldn't start a costly investigation for a few pennies. Enhance a few procedures and move on with life. You'll never stop every rogue employee.

  57. DB 2014.03.14

    "Remember the GOP blowback on President Obama when Secret Service agents paid for hookers in South America?"

    Does that mean you feel the President was incompetent and should not be in office?

  58. DB 2014.03.14

    "Whatever is said about him, true or not, he has earned."

    No one earns lies. It just goes to show how low Democrats will take this.....even if the man is dead.

  59. larry kurtz 2014.03.14

    Did the CIA episode lead to the death of a principal? If Benda took his own life extortion must be considered as a reason: somebody threatened his daughter or Marty wouldn't be trying to hide the evidence.

  60. DB 2014.03.14

    "What? Submitting a "Go-Go" bar receipt to your employer, especially when that employer is a government entity, if not stupidity, is definitely pure arrogance, which symbolizes the arrogance of power that results from 35 years of one party rule in this State."

    More deals are struck in a bar after the conference than at the conference. Welcome to business.

  61. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.03.14

    DB, seems to me like you could excuse anything as long as it was done by a Republican or in business. How about your real name so those of us on this blog who use our real names, can know to whom we are commenting?

  62. larry kurtz 2014.03.14

    Crimes were (and probably still are being) committed or the feds wouldn't be crawling through the bowels of South Dakota government.

  63. Troy 2014.03.14

    Winston & Larry

    I was trying to get Nick "by code." I wish I had just sent an email.

    Nick and Cory will confirm that I did what I could to shield Koetzle's family from unkind statements of him by blog commentators. I can't control the media. I want to go no further. Just wait for their confirmation and not speculate. I regret what I had meant was just a sublime mention that only he would catch. Stupid on my part.

  64. Winston 2014.03.14

    DB, why does the bar have to be a "Go-Go" bar?

  65. DB 2014.03.14

    "DB, seems to me like you could excuse anything as long as it was done by a Republican or in business. "

    I give Democrats the same pass. I didn't call Obama incompetent for the actions of the CIA or NSA. I understand leaders can't micro-manage every department and department head. That is why they must trust their cabinet members, but even then you might always get a rogue one. Most companies I have worked for have a one drink reimbursement when business happens in a bar. And yes, lots of deals are struck over a few drinks. It's not any different when public sector employees try to strike agreements with private sector businesses.

    "How about your real name so those of us on this blog who use our real names, can know to whom we are commenting?"

    I used to use my real name until people started to attack other innocent non-commenters by implying my thoughts and opinions were being driven by them.

    "DB, why does the bar have to be a "Go-Go" bar?"

    Maybe that is what the client chose? Do we know for sure it is a go-go bar? Frankly, I have no problem with bars that have go-go dancers. Most clubs in big cities have all kinds of professional dancers. It's not like go-go means they are nude or immoral.

  66. larry kurtz 2014.03.14

    Uh, Mike Rounds acknowledged Benda as a 'maverick' operating without a manual.

  67. mike from iowa 2014.03.14

    The bar Benda was in is known for business hookups-between ladies(or girls) of the night and johns. You should read some of the recommendations that place received.

  68. Nick Nemec 2014.03.14

    As you know Troy I got your e-mail but when people here started trying to decode your "coded" post to me that referenced family and friends I felt it best to try and clear up what you were talking about.

  69. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.03.14

    One of the things that I forgot to mention, was that the Democrats turned out en masse, (all 9 of them) for Gil's funeral, I am being facetious of course. There were Dems from all over the State as well as a lot of Republicans and people with no political connection at all who attended Gil's wake service and funeral. I only mention this, because I find it astounding that Mr Benda, whom I did not know, had hardly any of his own party at his funeral or mourning, according to the news reports that I read.

  70. Jenny 2014.03.14

    I was shocked also that no one in the "family values" GOP party that he had worked with while in Pierre had shown up to pay their respects.
    How hurtful that must have been for Benda's family, and the most glaring absence of all was Mike Rounds. If $10,000 and a go go bar is nothing, like DB says, then why all the no shows?

  71. Troy 2014.03.15

    Nick, i agree. My alluding only made it worse. Stupid on my part.

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