Last updated on 2014.06.28
KSFY offers a lengthy collection of clips from our U.S. Senate candidates speaking about the EB-5 visa investment program.
Democrat Rick Weiland says letting foreigners buy their way through Customs "doesn't feel right." He views EB-5 in the frame of big money getting big favors.
Independents Gordon Howie and Larry Pressler both oppose the program. Howie says the more we learn about the program, the more questions come up. Pressler says the state Attorney General and the U.S. Attorney aren't doing enough to answer those questions; he proposes an Illinois-style independent prosecutor to figure out what happened in our EB-5 scandal.
Republicans Stace Nelson and Larry Rhoden both express concerns about EB-5. Nelson, as you'd expect, is more forceful in his condemnation of the program. He says taking foreigners' money to help government pick winners and losers in the marketplace is the opposite of what made America great. Rhoden says he has "refrained from making any judgment calls" about the EB-5 scandal... but he uses the word scandal. Rhoden also judges that there was a pretty dramatic lack of oversight.
The man responsible for that lack of oversight, Marion Michael Rounds, says EB-5 is good for South Dakota. He defends the federal program (and he emphasizes federal throughout the interview, to deflect his repsponsibility for grabbing that brass ring and pulling with all his might) with this cleverly crafted string of words:
We've created literally 28,000 new jobs while I was governor. We used the EB-5 program during that time to create those job opportunities [Marion Michael Rounds, interview with Mark Roper, "Senate Hopefuls Weigh in on EB-5 Scandal, Government Transparency," KSFY, 2014.05.29].
Rounds crafts that response to make it sound like EB-5 created all 28,000 of those jobs. He later claims thousands of people are at work right now because of the EB-5 projects. This claim is baloney: under no interpretation can we conclude that every new job that popped up in South Dakota came from any policy of the Rounds administration, let alone from EB-5 specifically.
Rounds also makes the laughable claim that the dollars EB-5 investors put into South Dakota are still here. Rounds apparently doesn't believe any of that EB-5 money went to refinance loans or pad offshore accounts. And he apparently knows more than the rest of us about the location of the $95 million in EB-5 money that Northern Beef Packers made go poof. Do tell, Mike....
KSFY squeaked Jason Ravnsborg in to the end of the interview. Maybe Ravnsborg said more that didn't make the cut, but KSFY only shows him going off the EB-5 track and saying we need to cut corporate tax rates. Yes, Jason, because the solution to a bad bout of crony capitalism is to engage in more crony capitalism.