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Mercer and Myers Drive Jackley to Silly Statements on Openness and Benda Suicide

Last updated on 2014.09.03

Bob Mercer knows how to strike when the iron is hot. The South Dakota journalist asked Attorney General Marty Jackley to release the records of his investigation of Richard Benda's suspicious death last December. AG Jackley rebuffed Mercer on extra-legal pretense and got a state hearing examiner to back him up last May.

Now, just as the EB-5 scandal, which was torn open by Benda's death, begins to rain real fire on Jackley's political pals, Mercer shovels more coals into the furnace with a lawsuit to get the Benda death investigation records.

How a court will rule is up in the air. But for those of you keeping score at home, Mercer's lawsuit has already caused Jackley to commit two unforced errors in the form of two unnecessary and absurd statements.

First, Jackley claims to be a champion of openness:

"I would have been operating within my statutory authority to just flat-out deny access, and I did not do that," Jackley said. "I chose the route of openness and have been nothing but criticized for that" [David Montgomery, "Lawsuit Seeks Access to Benda Death Reports," that Sioux Falls paper, 2014.08.22].

Openness? Openness?! Please, Marty, don't hurt yourself. And the rest of you, don't hurt yourself laughing.

Second, while Independent gubernatorial candidate Mike Myers engages in a macabre re-enactment of Benda's death based on an allegation that Myers himself admits is "an undocumented, unsupported assertion," AG Jackley responds with an incredibly injudicious walk-back of his conclusion on Benda's death:

Jackley said he is confident in the suicide ruling but declined to expand on any evidence that supports that ruling except to site the number of entities involved in investigating Benda's death. The suicide ruling itself was made by a forensic pathologist, not by him or his investigators, Jackley said.

"I never said specifically it was a suicide. I said our findings are consistent with the cause and manner of death determined by the forensic pathologist," Jackley said [Denise Ross, "Gov. Candidate Doubts Benda's Death a Suicide," Mitchell Daily Republic, 2014.08.20].

Jackley's statement is factually, technically true. I noted the absence of an explicit declaration of suicide in Jackley's own words last November when he released the state's report on Benda's death. But why give the doubters and blog sensationalists who so grate his cheese with their speculation and misinformation a line like "I never said... it was a suicide"? The Attorney General has gone from saying "there are absolutely no credible facts or evidence calling into question" the suicide ruling to opening the door for Sam Kephart to come back and talk about the Chinese mafia.

Doubts linger, but the press has mostly adopted without caveat the interpretation that Benda committed suicide. Governor Daugaard has said Benda committed suicide. Why say any little thing to back away from that mostly accepted fact?

People say stupid things for a variety of reasons. Stupid people say stupid things, but I think we all agree Marty ain't stupid people. People may be tired from an exhausting statewide blog tour, but Marty is no blogger.

People also say stupid things when they are scared, under assault, and stressed out. And you know, with a political scandal dominating the news and the debates, with his pals and his own office getting bad press, with the ACLU and his buddy U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson challenging South Dakota's Indian Child Welfare Act violations, Attorney General Marty Jackley just might feel a little harried.


  1. larry kurtz 2014.08.22

    Jim Seward is likely feeling a little harried, too. Great post, CAH.

  2. mike fro iowa 2014.08.22

    Jackley also said a deputy coroner (one not required to take crimescene investigation classes) did the autopsy. Nice to know that a death with these extra-legal questions surrounding it,didn't rate the highest degree of professionalism from the gubmint.

  3. 96 Tears 2014.08.22

    Jackley's been tapdancing on Benda and Indian Child Welfare, and it's about to come crashing down. My guess is this is the tip of an iceberg of malfeasance in the Attorney General's office going back many years and predating Jackley. What terrible webs we weave ... Marty's the Keeper of the Webs.

  4. David Newquist 2014.08.22

    South Dakota does not have open records. Th statutes are well-laced with exceptions, such as "records developed or received by law enforcement agencies." As David Montgomery points out there are 27 exceptions to required disclosure.

    Not until a political party makes full disclosure and freedom of information laws equivalent to those in other states do we have a chance to know what are governments, state and local, are actually doing. The nefarious actions indicated by the NBP bankruptcy indicates that corruption runs deep and involves many government and quasi-government agencies.

    Bob Mercer deserves a great deal of credit here, but the lawsuit faces 27 exceptions. We need a Julian Assange in this state. It is the only way to know what state government is doing.

  5. Lynn 2014.08.22

    David do we need to call on the Internet group Anonymous to hack into their way to get answers for us?

  6. Chris Francis 2014.08.22

    We wouldn't need the talents of Anonymous to hack state records, as with the rich history of no-bid buddy contracts in our state, and as such, the quality of such services should always be held in question, it's probably way easier to access than we'd like to think.

  7. Lynn 2014.08.22

    Chris I was joking.

  8. jerry 2014.08.22

    Mike Myers may be a little strange sometimes, but the idea of having a macabre description of Benda's death is not really a fair assessment of Myers. What is truly macabre is the fact that none of this makes sense. The Chinese Mafia does not forget nor forgive those who cross it and there are millions of unaccounted for dollars out there. I happen to believe that Benda was murdered to shut him the hell up.

  9. 96 Tears 2014.08.22

    jerry - That explanation makes more sense when you consider who benefits from his sudden disappearance and inability to testify.

    Lynn - Is this more window dressing from Tidemann, or are they going to put Bollen under oath? It means nothing if they're just going to have a delicate conversation and there is nothing to compel Bollen to tell everything he knows.

  10. Lynn 2014.08.22

    96 you mean ask Larry will ask Joop nicely to see if he would be kind enough to enlighten them without ruffling too many feathers and having the appearance that we all know what we need to know?

  11. Tara Volesky 2014.08.22

    This this is going to unravel, thanks to the many candidates that have been outspoken and did a great job keying in on EB-5 and Richard Benda at the Dakota Fest debates. Bob Mercer, Patrick Duffy, my love, hate friend Cory Heidelberger and anybody else who has put effort into cleaning up SD. And of course Macabre Mike Myers, at least he is living up to his name. It's soon to be Halloween.

  12. 96 Tears 2014.08.22

    Lynn - As long as I've watched the legislature and state agencies in Pierre, I have never seen anyone put under oath in front of a legislative committee ... even when it was foolish not to do so. The majority party never lets things get out of hand, and I'm sure our friend Stace Nelson knows that as well as anyone. GOAC should put everyone who testifies under oath and not allow another closed session occur again on this matter. They are supposed to be the final accounting voice for the people's body, the legislature.

  13. Lynn 2014.08.22

    legislature and their pals seems to be like one big fraternity house with a couple of oddballs that are shunned and mocked because they ask questions or go against the grain.

  14. larry kurtz 2014.08.22

    Pat Duffy pretty much whipped Montgomery like a rented mule.

  15. mike fro iowa 2014.08.22

    What is this bs about asking Bollen to testify? Get a subpoena and force him to testify or throw his ass in jail for contempt. Quit f$#$#ng around!!!

  16. mike fro iowa 2014.08.22

    Jackley is the states AG and he is giving legislators private legal advice behind closed doors?

  17. JeniW 2014.08.22

    Can anyone force someone to talk, or tell what they really know?

    Would Bollen be able to declare the 5th (I think that is the one, people are not force to say anything that can incriminate them?)

  18. bearcreekbat 2014.08.22

    JeniW - you are right, no one can be required to talk or give testimony if they assert their 5th Amendment right. There is an exception when they are granted immunity by a judge from prosecution based upon information learned from their testimony. Once granted immunity, a judge can require them to testify and if they refuse, they are in contempt of court and may be jailed until they comply.

    To the best of may knowledge, however, the legislature doesn't have the authority to grant immunity nor force anyone to make statements contrary to the 5th amendment by jailing them until they testify. On the other hand, we have a statute that reads:

    "SDCL 2-6-6. Refusal to testify or produce evidence before Legislature as misdemeanor. Any person who, being present before either house of the Legislature or any committee thereof authorized to summon witnesses, willfully refuses to be sworn or affirmed, or to answer any material and proper question, or to produce upon reasonable notice any material or proper books, papers, or documents in his possession or under his control, is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor."

    I suspect the exercise of a person's 5th Amendment right to silence is probably a defense to this criminal charge.

  19. Bill Fleming 2014.08.22

    Mr. Duffy brings much needed conciseness and clarity to our oftentimes fuzzy understanding of the scope and weight of the problem here. Hopefully, as per 96T, every South Dakotan interested in his/her State's wellbeing will have a chance to watch and respond to this significant piece of video.

  20. larry kurtz 2014.08.22

    Epp said it is not illegal for DoJ to indict a candidate but has a policy not to. Mercer is saying that SDGOP can put off interviewing Joop for at least a month. Duffy is urging whistleblowers to contact him for a possible monetary reward, said everybody has lawyered up and invoking executive immunity. Bollen could plead state's evidence leading to stalemate until after the election.

    If Rounds wins and is then indicted like Bill Janklow was could Governor Wismer name his replacement?

  21. 96 Tears 2014.08.22

    Depends on which day in January that Governor Wismer takes office.

  22. Roger Cornelius 2014.08.22

    Damn Argus Leader, you need a subscription to view their links.

  23. mike fro iowa 2014.08.22

    According to wingnuts,waterboarding was effective in getting people to spill their guts,regardless of whether they had relevant info. They also claim it was legal.

  24. Jessie 2014.08.22

    watched the video, was impressed, glad that that Sioux Falls paper linked it.

    "if you see a turtle on a fencepost, it didn't get there on its own." well, that's a new one for me but it does sum things up well.

    kudos to all and sundry who have kept up the pressure to get this story out, especially our dear Cory

  25. Lynn 2014.08.22

    Roger clear your memory on your computer and you will be able to read the Argus again. The counter resets.

  26. Roger Cornelius 2014.08.22

    Thanks Lynn, that worked.

    Patrick Duffy impressed me, his emphasis on the loss of Chinese investors money will be the heart of this scandal.
    Hopefully those investors and their attorney's will join Duffy and provide some much needed information.

    Duffy also stressed the need to investigate this scandal as a wire fraud case, he is right that more than one person had to be involved in the fraud. Who are they? Where did that $167 million go?

  27. jerry 2014.08.22

    I have always wondered about a guy who wanted to kill himself because he was afraid of who? Jackley?? Please, this dude is friggin harmless to anyone with any kind of backing whatsoever. Being afraid of this twerp would and should be the farthest thing from your mind, unless you are of the darker skinned category. Then, maybe. But seriously, if Benda was afraid and did want to kill himself, then why take the chance of missing yourself with the shot? If you are so determined to do such a thing, why would you risk using a contraption that could have just wounded you? Jackley sees that as well and that is why he now makes the claim that he never called it a suicide. To me, that is correct as well. Also, as I remember the report after Benda was found, I believe it was a relative that thought that Benda had a heart attack and died as he did not see any other reason. If Benda had heart problems then he could have just taken an overdose of meds and that would have been that. Benda did not kill himself.

  28. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.08.22

    If a relative found Benda and thought he'd had a heart attack, when was he shot? A shotgun leaves a horrible wound. If that's what killed him, he must have bled to death. When a human being bleeds out, the volume of blood is immense. (I once found a client who cut his wrists. He survived, but I will not ever forget the blood all over the floor.)

    So what's the deal? That makes no sense, like every other official statement from state government.

    [BTW, I tried the memory thing, but I was still asked to register. I'll try it at the library.]

  29. larry kurtz 2014.08.23

    Benda could have gone to the feds and received whistleblower protection but now he's dead.

  30. larry kurtz 2014.08.23

    Mitch McConnell and his goons could have offed him, Tara, just to protect their investment in Wadhams and Rounds. Jackley has much to lose, too.

  31. Tara Volesky 2014.08.23

    There needs to be a protest outside of the capital at the next GOAC meeting in Sept.

  32. Tim 2014.08.23

    What are they going to protest Tara, standard republican policy? A bunch of people making a spectacle of themselves? Democrats are doing what needs to be done in a way that won't turn the many indies we need to win against us. Everybody can thank Susan for that as she is the one that got all of this started. I was on the fence on the Wismer campaign until she showed her true self. A big protest will just drive home "those crazy libbies" to the people we need to win.

  33. Tim 2014.08.23

    Now, if we could just get Corinna going.

  34. Tara Volesky 2014.08.24

    Ya Tim, kind of like Myers re-enacting the death of Richard Benda? Play the conservative card, but we are all or nothing. When you don't worry about winning you don't have to be politically correct.

  35. JeniW 2014.08.24

    Interesting read, an op-ed by Mr. Ellis about the EB-5 affair. Mr. Ellis questions the FBI report that Mr. Myers claims.

    I do not know if Mr. Benda's death was due to suicide which he acted alone, or if death was due to something else, or if his death was suicide for which he had help with, but that in itself is not the issue. To me, he real issue is how quickly and quietly the whole situation was resolved (for the lack of better term,) and swept under the carpet.

    The whole situation may have been as Jackley presented it, but because he seems to have been unsuccessful in adequately addressing the questions and concerns that people have, we are where we are today.

    But that aside, because of Rounds own behaviors, I trust him as far as I can throw him, which means, not at all.

  36. Tim 2014.08.24

    Tara, how is all of the playacting working for your candidate? Then, by not backing it up with facts and evidence, makes it look like the sideshow it is, and republicans are having a field day with it. We don't need sideshows and distractions, we need honest discussion followed up with demands for investigation through the proper channels that will carry some sort of legitimacy with the voting public. What the Myers campaign is doing is not helping.

  37. mike fro iowa 2014.08.24

    Tim-has anybody,to your knowledge,actually polled Dakotans to see if they are paying any attention to this scandal? I can imagine a large number of wingnuts can be sold on the this is a partisan Democratic attempt to smear upstanding wingnut pols conspiracy.

  38. mike fro iowa 2014.08.24

    JeniW-I believe assisted suicide is a crime in most states and where it isn't a crime,patients need assistance from trained medical personnel(doctors,etc).

    If someone else was involved,we should be looking at some pretty serious charges if wingnuts would take this seriously.

  39. Tara Volesky 2014.08.24

    Actually Tim, it is going quite well. Kind of like a college Professor explaining and demonstrating step by step using a shot gun, tape measure, and stick to give people an idea of how this death may have occurred. Remember he was in the class room for 26 years and he liked challenging his students to think for themselves. I am sure Myers will be calling out this former legislature. Notice in the Argus today he is denying any knowledge of it. Of course, Madville and SDWC will take after Myers because he doesn't belong to either main party. The people I've talked to are glad he is bringing this out. Myers doesn't read the blogs. The guy on the street is who he relates to. This is far from over. He wants to see the report. I don't think that asking for to much.

  40. Tara Volesky 2014.08.24

    You should check out the segment in the Senatorial debate about what Larry Pressler stated about the Richard Benda death. I am surprised nobody picked up on that. Larry, would you know how to post that clip? Sorry, I don't know how to do that.

  41. 96 Tears 2014.08.24

    Craig Lawrence scribe Jon Ellis may be a lapdog, but at least he's consistent. On 100 Eyes he brushed off the seriousness of the EB-5/Benda Scam as important only as a point of political attacks by Democrats. Today, he gave tinfoil hat status to anyone who has reason to doubt the ham-fisted way Benda's death was "ruled" as a suicide. He calls us conspiracy nuts, same as those dimwits who think the landing on the moon was faked. Gosh, Jon, a little much donchya think?

    He also attacked attorney Pat Duffy, but I do not recall seeing anything in the Argus' pages about the most important parts of Pat's press conference statements. My guess is Jon was daydreaming and missed it. Interesting he felt a need to attack points that were not reported in the Argus.

    I don't like conspiracy theories and usually dismiss them. But to ignore the possibility of murder requires that you ignore the facts and depth of the EB-5 scam, starting with Benda and Bollen taking a state agency receiving hundreds of millions in public money and privatizing it. It ignores an attorney general flipflopping on a promise to allow two reporters to review the Benda death report and using an unrelated case to renege. It ignores the attorney general's role of declaring his employer Mike Rounds pure of any culpability in the EB-5 scam and telling us all at the beginning of this that Benda was under investigation for double billing some travel vouchers, and waiting until after the GOP Senate primary to let us know he had prepared three felony theft counts involving $550,000 and called a grand jury against Benda more than a week before Benda's mysterious death.

    Clearly there was a conspiracy to steal involving millions of public dollars. Gee, Jon, isn't murder in the same neighborhood of criminality as embezzling and misusing millions of dollars? And if the person pulling the trigger could have been a business partner who is afraid of being fingered in a federal probe, or got screwed on a deal involving millions, or would financially benefit from Benda's death in the shadowy world of Mike Rounds' EB-5 mess, is that a reach, Jon? Most folks think the AG's story about how the suicide was engineered was a reach.

    Maybe Jon Ellis is willing to trust but not verify the AG's word on this matter. I don't. I don't know why reasonable, intelligent people would.

    Having been among the 100 people or less that saw Pat Duffy's statement on the Argus website video (try finding it now), I think Pat's statement that it is quite likely many people were involved in a scam (conspiracy for theft) to swindle public money and that it needs to be investigated by a source that isn't tied to the political machine in Pierre which created the mess has a lot of merit.

    I don't care if Jon Ellis wants to look the other way and help whitewash this, the state's ugliest political scandal in state history. But somebody at the Argus needs to buy a clue about their reporting staff.

  42. Tim 2014.08.24

    Mike, to the best of my knowledge, no polls on what SD voters think of EB-5. However, state corruption is common knowledge, if you make money off of it you don't care, for the rest of us, it doesn't matter as we are not in charge and have no way to change it. The majority don't like it, but just can't get themselves to vote for those damn libs. People like grudz and Sibson are classic, they get on this site, and others I'm sure, and bitch about the corruption and all that crap Sibson is always talking, but put them in the voting booth and they will always vote R. It never changes.

    Tara, a college prof would offer proof to back up any hypothesis he was trying to make, Myers insinuates a lot of things, but the alleged witnesses he has have come out and said nothing Myers is claiming exists, without real proof it's hard to take anything Myers claims about EB-5 seriously, and he has nobody but himself to blame for that. Sorry

  43. mike fro iowa 2014.08.24

    Thanks Tim. @96 Tears- experience teaches us that when Dems select an independent or special prosecutor,they tend to select a moderate Rethuglican so they can't be accused of partisanship. When wingnuts select,they tend to find a highly partisan wingnut with an axe to grind and dare Dems to do anything about it.
    Experience also teaches us that the bad guys stack the judiciary with partisan hacks willing to protect the party at all costs.

  44. Tara Volesky 2014.08.24

    That's ok Tim. You are right until he can prove it with full disclosure, people will be skeptical. But, Myers will keep charging a head and again personally talk to this scared Legislator or former Legislator depends on what web site you look at, and try and force him to come out and reveal the information to the people. Maybe Bob Mercer's lawsuit will reveal the truth.

  45. charlie5150 2014.08.24

    Actually I did receive a telephone poll two days ago originating from Scotland SD. It was automated and wanted to know if I was aware of EB-5 and how it may influence my vote and trust. It did not indicate origin or sponsor.

  46. larry kurtz 2014.08.24

    Hypocrite Tory Jones is haranguing Myers/Hubbel over at the toilet: how christian of him.

  47. Tara Volesky 2014.08.24

    Charlie5150, I believe most people don't know what the EB-5 is. If you told them the EB-5 is a county highway, they would believe it.

  48. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.08.24

    Ellis's article reinforces my concern that the sideshow antics of Myers could trivialize the entire Northern Beef Packers/EB-5 issue and make it harder for us to explain to taxpayers and voters the real abuses of power that Rounds, Benda, Bollen, and their cronies carried out. Myers admitted there is no there there to his story. Until Myers can produce the FBI report he alleges exists, he's got nothing, and he should stifle the theatrics and join the rest of us in discussing the serious and substantiable issues surrounding the beef plant and the SDRC profiteers.

  49. Tara Volesky 2014.08.24

    I just watched a re-run of the Senate debate on KCPO and Larry Pressler stated about the Richard Benda death that "We just heard from a Dr. this morning that said it couldn't have been a suicide." I would like to know who this Dr. is.

  50. Tara Volesky 2014.08.24

    Cory, sorry to disagree with you. Ellis is white washing the story. Consider this a research project by Myers. He will keep doing what he's doing until he gets the answers. The guy won't back down.

  51. Bill Fleming 2014.08.24

    Good point, Tara. It would perhaps be very helpful if someone were to provide a concise, objective, historical overview of exactly what EB-5 is, how it was used (and perhaps abused?) in SD, and how it lead to the political issue it has become now. That's a service Myers could provide that would, I'm sure be greatly appreciated. Again, my suggestion is that it would be neutral, rational and informational in tone. That is oftentimes far more powerful than obvious political emotional hyperbole.

  52. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.08.24

    Fleming is recommending serious, rational research. Myers is giving us fabrication. If Ellis is whitewashing, Myers is handing him the paintbrush.

    It's this simple, Tara: show us the evidence. Everything I've done on Northern Beef Packers and EB-5 is based on evidence. Where's Mike's? Why are you acting so proud of making stuff up?

  53. larry kurtz 2014.08.24

    don Juan Thune was in Congress.

  54. Tara Volesky 2014.08.24

    Cory, I can say the same thing to you, show us the evidence on the EB-5.

  55. Tara Volesky 2014.08.24

    Thanks Bill for you respectful comments. Myers as no political agenda and is politically removed from both parties. He doesn't care what anybody says about him. He will remain fiercely Independent and will keep pushing up against the establishment.

  56. mike fro iowa 2014.08.24

    What Cory sez about Myers @ 11:24. Wingnuts could focus their contempt on Myer's non-sense to the detriment of serious citizens seeking real answers on EB-5. This might be the only shot you get at this and it is too important to waste on speculation and whacko theories. Cory always documents his work. Where is Myers stuff?

  57. Bill Fleming 2014.08.24

    How about a "BendaGate" Wiki?

  58. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.08.24

    Tara, you can say the same thing to me. The difference is that I do it every time. Show me one instance where I've launched a roadshow on an "undocumented, unsupported assertion." Answer my question: why are you so proud of Myers's making stuff up?

    Read Bill's "respectful comments" again. I get the impression he's trying to say the same thing I am: Knock off the unsubstantiated theatrics and talk facts.

  59. Tim 2014.08.24

    "Myers as no political agenda and is politically removed from both parties. He doesn't care what anybody says about him. He will remain fiercely Independent and will keep pushing up against the establishment."
    Tara, that is a contradiction right there, he is running for political office, to sit here and state he has no political agenda is pure bullshit, the right wing would be proud of that statement.

  60. Bill Fleming 2014.08.24

    Yes, that's what I'm saying Cory. Respectfully. :-) If Myers's background is an educator and a journalsit, it would seem that an objective, analytic approach to this issue would be right up his alley, no?

  61. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.08.24

    You'd think, Bill. But the Myers campaign seems to be missing that respectful and salient point about education and journalism.

  62. Tara Volesky 2014.08.24

    Hey guys, answers don't come overnight. Myers was an investigative reporter for the Argus Leader along with being a Law professor for 26 years. I trust what he doing just like you and I trust what Pat Duffy is doing. Mike and Tim, I am sure you thought he didn't know the law and would lose his lawsuit against Jason Gant too. Give the man a little respect, you are starting to sound like SDWC. Myers doesn't read these blogs for a reason.

  63. Tara Volesky 2014.08.24

    There you go again Cory, being a hit man for the Democratic establishment. He is an Independent for a good reason.

  64. 96 Tears 2014.08.24

    Great idea, Bill. It would need to be explained in parts, including how such programs were intended to function and why this failed because bad judgments and crooked behavior. It would be difficult keeping it from getting lost in the weed patches.

    More to the point is the probable criminal behavior of the Rounds administration and the Attorney General's and the administration's attempts to deceive the public on the depth and seriousness of the events involving Benda, Bollen, Sveen and others.

  65. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.08.24

    No, Tara, you're dodging the main question. How does one justify, from a journalist's perspective, an educator's perspective, or a statesman's perspective, making an allegation for which one has no documentary evidence?

  66. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.08.24

    If Myers read the blogs, he'd see I've taken the time to research and attempt to explain to South Dakotans many aspects of the Northern Beef Packers/EB-5 scandal. Please show us what Myers has done in that regard, and to what degree.

  67. Lynn 2014.08.24

    Tara what Bill mentioned above could be an opportunity not only for Mike but our collective effort. It would compliment what others are trying to do. Many people probably hear EB-5 and heard it's bad but that's probably the extent of it. It's convoluted. Look at how Patrick Duffy presented it. It was concise and easy to follow and once people can understand in easy terms they will be surprised and probably irked that this happened in South Dakota. You know "South Dakota Values!" as Rounds states ironically.

    Again look at what Bill mentions above. That should be a great fit for a former USD Law professor/reporter teaching the taxpayers and electorate presenting the clear story line or what happened.

  68. Lynn 2014.08.24

    typo> *of* what happened. Sorry!

  69. Bill Fleming 2014.08.24

    Maybe Meyers needs to become a little more internet friendly. The most recent research I'm seeing sshows that far and away, the most important communications medium for college age students IN SOUTH DAKOTA is the internet and social media (90% of them say so.). Any candidate wanting to recruit that vote ignores that fact at his/her own peril. Taro, no offense, but your telling us what a great, intelligent, independent guy Meyers is is no substitute for him coming on here and telling us himself. I assume he knows how to read and type, yes?

  70. Tim 2014.08.24

    Hey guys, answers don't come overnight.

    Then maybe he should stop the theatrics and insinuations until his documentation is in order.

  71. Tara Volesky 2014.08.24

    I would rather have Cory or one of you call him 605-659-4681. Cory about 14 minutes into the Democratic forum, you seemed to be pretty fired up over Richard Benda. Earlier you stated it was suicide now, are you questioning that it may not be a suicide.

  72. Tara Volesky 2014.08.24

    Myers is not going to file another lawsuit against the state. We'll let Bob Mercer finish up and get the answers and give Mercer the credit. Myers did what he needed to do, I think it's time now to focus on other issues. He will stand by his statements and actions. I am confident Mercer will get the FBI report.

  73. Tara Volesky 2014.08.24

    Scott Eirshman just made a good point about Mercer at the Democrat forum in which I am listening to now. More conspiracy theories. Mercer worked for some former Republican Governors.

  74. mike fro iowa 2014.08.24

    I'm beginning to believe Myers is a figment of someone's imagination. Yippy Skippy Yikes!!

  75. Tara Volesky 2014.08.24

    Just finished listening to the Democratic forum that was held Fri. in Sioux Falls. This is going to be hard for me to say but..........Great job Cory. Cory I love to argue with you along with others on Madville because then you get so many different perspectives.

  76. Tara Volesky 2014.08.24

    Mike fro nice.....maybe the only thing you and Mike have in common is you name.

  77. Roger Cornelius 2014.08.24

    I'll take Mike Myers not reading political blogs as an insult, apparently what South Dakota constituents have to say in open forums don't matter to him. If you don't have insight into what the public is talking about, you don't have any insight at all.
    "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit", we all remember that, right? This is what Myers did this week with his "demonstration" of the Benda death. He not only did not provide the FBI report he boasted about in the debate, he provided fodder to Republicans that called us conspiracy theorist. I found that ironic since Myers is an Independent and not a Democrat. Mike, do us all a favor and stay away from Democrats, you're toxic.
    On another thread comment section, I'll find it, Tara stated emphatically that she was talking to Myers on the phone and that he had in his hands on the mysterious FBI report. There comes a time when you have to admit you were lying or produce your documentation. The time is now Tara.
    You can no longer blame the media, Cory, or even Republican blogs for criticism of Myers, the two of you created this controversy, a smart campaign would recognize that serious error and clean it up.
    Cory's investigative reports on EB-5 have been consistent from the onset, he cites sources where he can and follows up with an excellent analysis. In fact, Republicans have left unchallenged his reporting with the exception of typical hyperbole and the never ending allegation that he is a leftist liberal blogger. Note that they never if ever, challenge the facts that Cory reports. Being the excellent journalist that he is, he actually talks to people involved and is always seeking documentation to support his stories, Myers hasn't done that.
    The reality is this Tara, it is Cory that brought EB-5 to where it is today, if it weren't for his reporting Republicans would have gotten away with it.
    No, these stories don't unfold overnight, EB-5 has been well reported on Madville for a long time, likely before Myers even knew about it, given that he doesn't read blogs.
    Myers is an independent not a Democrat, his antics need to be kept as far away from us as possible, he is doing more damage than good.
    I welcome Cory has the "hit man" for the Democratic Party, we need one.

  78. Tim 2014.08.24

    Well said RC. As the heat continues to rise, and Democrats continue to feed the fire, how long before high profile Republicans start tossing lower ranking people under the bus to save their skins? It should be an interesting last two months of the election season here.

  79. mike from iowa 2014.08.24

    Even more shockingly, AG Jackley says the state isn't going to hold anyone accountable for that diversion:

    Jackley, who was appointed as attorney general by Rounds in 2009, said his investigation is now closed.

    That indicates there won’t be an attempt by state authorities to recover the $550,000 from the bankrupt Northern Beef and its officers, or SDRC and its president, Joop Bollen, or the Hanul law firm and James Park.

  80. mike from iowa 2014.08.24


  81. Tara Volesky 2014.08.24

    Roger, I don't recall saying Myers has the FBI report in his hands. Could you provide documentation? I have always credited Cory for not just getting the EB-5 scandals out but also so many other important issues such as Keystone XL Pipeline, Uranium mining, Common Core, Richard Benda, Health Care etc. Can you prove me wrong on that? I don't think so. I have learned a lot from Cory and I agree with most of his stances on the issues. I don't recall ever seeing any candidates commenting on Cory's blog other then Lora Hubbel. Roger, does that mean you are threatening Mike to not have coffee with his Democrat buddies or have lunch with Jim Abouresk and the gang down at Sanaa's. Maybe you should send a letter to all of Mike's longtime Democrat friends from USD, and around the state to say stay away from, in your words the TOXIC man. I hope Mike didn't poison Rick Knobe or Jonathon Ellis this morning at breakfast. You might want to send them a letter to. Oh, I guess you can skip them, they're not Democrats.

  82. JeniW 2014.08.24

    Tara, I recall your commenting on the FBI. I think, if I recall correctly, you wrote that he does not have the report, but he has seen it?

    I cannot remember which thread it was on, either the thread about Rounds, or the debate at the Dakota Fest in Mitchell. Finding it will be tough and too time consuming to do so, but my inquiring mind might look for it anyway.

  83. Tara Volesky 2014.08.24

    I remember Jennie, it was his former Legislative friend that told Mike another Legislator saw the FBI report and it said something to the fact that the gun was more tan 18 inches away from his body when it was fired. I guess you could subpoena the Legislators, and I hope the Democrat Party does, because we can't afford it. Mike said he would put the musket away when they release the full report.

  84. JeniW 2014.08.24

    From comment written by Tara "...Cory as far as the FBI report goes, the paper got their facts wrong. Papers don't always get it right. I had Mike read the article tonight and the first thing he said was, I did not tell them I had the FBI report, so that's where the misinformation comes from....."

    I found it in the thread about the DakotaFest debate.

  85. Tim 2014.08.24

    Jeni, that's what I recall as well, I have been looking for it but that could take days. It was also stated that he would be providing said report along with a witness, that now it seems, doesn't exist.

  86. JeniW 2014.08.24

    Tara it looks like you and I posted at about the same moment.

  87. Tara Volesky 2014.08.24

    Jeni, good work, you should be an investigative reporter. I would never have found it. I am still waiting on Roger to provide documentation about Myers having his hands on the FBI report. If you can't back it up Roger, I'll accept an apology

  88. Roger Cornelius 2014.08.24

    Tara, please forgive a forgetful and often distracted old dude for my error, my niece reviewed my comments where I was having a similar conversation on another blog and confused the two. Again my apologies, sucks getting old.

    Now, that I have apologized, will Myers apologize for misleading the public about "mysterious" FBI documents and witnesses?

    Tara, although you say otherwise, you seem obsessed with someone getting credit for this investigation, it appears you certainly do care that Mike and Lora get credit for something even though they have not provided any new element to what has been reported on by Cory and others.
    Name one item of substance that either have provided on the EB-5 investigation.
    Tara, is Mercer suing on behalf of Mike to get the "mysterious" FBI report or is suing to get the full Benda death investigation file? From what I have read and seen, he and Lora have not provided anything constructive to this investigation.
    And yes, Mike is toxic to the Democratic Party since the Republicans are associating his antics with our party, if he wants to be a fool, let him be an Independent fool.
    I'm certain that Cory provide a whole list of politicians that have commented besides Lora, I recall Hickey and Stace Nelson in particular.

  89. Tara Volesky 2014.08.24

    Apology accepted Roger. Geez you sure are tough strong minded guy. That's the point Roger, nobody can provide information because we have a closed Government. Can't even get Hubbel on the ballot without a lawsuit. I will give Democrats and Cory full credit for everything. Happy now. So you're going by SDWC comments. I take those comments with a grain of salt. How can they associate Mike with the Democrats, he's Independent. I thought Stace made some good points in the Denise Ross article. Ya, you're right, I forgot about Stace and Steve. Roger, you name one item of substance that anyone has on the EB-5 investigation. I also want to see documentation. Probably the best information that anyone has is the information from Steve Sandven. It's a complicated shell game. I think it's good to get as many people talking about it as possible. You'll have to ask Rick and Susan if they think Mike's a toxic fool. They have more class then that. Character assassination isn't good thing. My Democrat friends repost my stuff all the time. I still forgive you distracted old dude. lol. Lighten up buddy.

  90. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.08.24

    96, do you have friends at KELO? Anyone? I propose a special edition of Inside KELOLand, one full hour, pre-empting the lowest-rated primetime reality show, just Angela Kennecke or Ben Dunsmoor interviewing me. Six ten-minute segments:

    1. How EB-5 works federally.
    2. How SD ran EB-5 (Joop Bollen at SDIBI, then privatization to SDRC)
    3. Northern Beef Packers: funding sources, Epoch Star loan, bankruptcy
    4. Richard Benda: crimes and death
    5. Connections to Rounds, Daugaard, Knecht, and others
    6. Questions we need answered.

    Anyone think we can make the ratings/public-service case for such a show to KELO? And anyone think such a show will provoke Marty Jackley to say more silly things?

  91. Roger Cornelius 2014.08.24

    When people tell me to "lighten up", it usually works the opposite for me. I was never known to be the nice guy in the campaigns I worked, the job was better suited for nice guys.
    Campaigns are tough and dirty, somebody always has to be the heavy to prevent mistakes and to be the father confessor to a candidate, that's my style. What matters in any campaign is that when a candidate makes a mistakes or errors in their comments, you own it and clean it up. You don't blame the media or the other campaign, you blame yourself, it is called integrity of the candidate.
    If you go over to the Robinson/Noem debate thread, you'll see just how I talk to Democrats, I was hard and direct on Corinna, I hope she takes my advice seriously. Susan Wismer coming on strong in the debate won me over and is actually the big news of the week, she kept on track, had her facts straight, and was relentless. She had the truth on her side and knew how to use it, she didn't need any sideshows.
    Mike has seriously damaged what little of a campaign he had going and that is sad, he could have possibly added to the EB-5 narrative.

  92. Tara Volesky 2014.08.24

    Hey Roger, Mike will keep doing what he's doing, and he'll put the gun away if and when Jackley releases the documents. The people on the street like what he's doing and there are some that are offended. That's part of the campaign, you can't please everyone. He's doing what he believes in, not what some political hack tells him. What you say is not going to change what Mike does. What do you care anyway, you should be glad he is, in your opinion, a side show. I don't even want to talk about this anymore. Time to focus on issues. Mercer can handle it, because I want to make sure Myers gets no credit. All credit goes to the Democrats.

  93. Tara Volesky 2014.08.24

    I hate those debates anyway. They are stupid.

  94. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.08.24

    So make them smarter by presenting solid facts and evidence, not rumors.

    "We'll making stuff up as long as Marty Jackley keeps stonewalling!" is not an inspiring battle cry.

  95. Tara Volesky 2014.08.24

    The best political forum was Sat. Nothing staged. No real time limit. Audience got to ask what ever they wanted to. It was like a town hall meeting. It was more about the people than the candidates. At staged debates most of the time you don't get your questions read or answered because they might be to controversial. And Mike got to do his gun show.

  96. Tara Volesky 2014.08.24

    Quit acting like a debate coach Cory, and quit making stuff up about Mike.

  97. Roger Cornelius 2014.08.24

    Tara, there you go with the who gets the credit thing, again.
    Was it Myers who challenged the GOP in editorials and in debate and brought to the attention of the public the GOAC hearing's refusing to second her motion to subpoena Bollen and others?
    Was it Myers that gave Daugaard a public outing during the Dakotafest debate that brought all the attention this week?
    The Democrats started hitting on the EB-5 scandal on Monday and continued to pound Rounds and Daugaard all week. Mike Myers held a dog and pony show.
    I'm fairly certain that to Susan Wismer it is not about getting the credit or winning some imaginary EB-5 contest, it is about her being persistent, consistent, and factual in her comments and questions on EB-5, at least that is what she showed me in the debates.
    So, what was this big event Saturday that most of the public didn't know about? Is their a podcast of this unannounced event?

  98. Roger Cornelius 2014.08.24

    Cory and 96,

    I think the SDDP should share in the development of a public service type announcement on EB-5 highlighting the points you made.

    Most of us that read Madville on a regular basis know these areas, but I doubt most South Dakotans do. For example, the politicians only tell us the EB-5 is a federal program without telling us the scope of the program and the responsibilities the states have in administering them.
    Maybe some full page ads in the larger South Dakota dailies would help.

  99. Tara Volesky 2014.08.25

    Roger, you might want to go back to last summer. I am done arguing with you. This is going nowhere. Good bye.

  100. Tara Volesky 2014.08.25

    Roger, you are becoming a sideshow.

  101. Roger Cornelius 2014.08.25

    Tara, if anyone would know a sideshow, it would be you and Mike Myers.

  102. Tara Volesky 2014.08.25

    Roger, the side show will continue until the report is disclosed. Jackley and Daugaard loves people like you. Don't raise hell and asks questions. They try and discredit the candidate like you and Cory are doing to protect your territory. That's a side show and this is how the establishment works. Shoot down anybody that gets in the way. SDWC is very good at it too. They are doing the same thing. So either Myers is right or Madville and SDWC is right. We'll let the people decide.

  103. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.08.25

    Tara, it's as if the plain, clear and simple responses to you by Roger and Cory are written in a language you are unfamiliar with. The listening part is an important issue for you. When Roger and Cory tell you you're not helping Mr. Meyers and he is not helping himself by making comments and accusations without factual evidence, that's exactly what they mean. It's not game playing, not politically motivated.

    Mr. Meyers is not helping the search for real answers. He really is providing a distraction so that the involved parties can avoid, obfuscate or postpone being exposed.

    I completely agree with Cory and Roger.

  104. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.08.25

    One more thing Tara. I do believe that you care very much for SD and the future of its citizens. It's not your integrity that I doubt. It's your methods, and that of Mr. Meyers, that are a problem.

  105. Tara Volesky 2014.08.25

    Deb, Mike is who he is. He believes in what he is doing. He could have been a millionaire many times over. He has implacable character and is brutally honest which sometimes make people uncomfortable. I don't trust Cory or Roger. They try and add drama and doubt. In fact Cory emailed Lora tonight to ask if she and Mike would drive to Lake Andes and talk to Richard Benda's brother-in-law to get more information. So Cory what's with that? You were just condemning Mike, now you want him to go to the crime scene. Sounds a little hypocritical to me. No, Mike and Lora are not going to do your dirty work. Roger and Cory are the last 2 people I will listen to. There agenda is to elect Democrats and try and destroy anybody the could possibly be a threat. SDWC does the same thing. You would understand Deb if you were in my situation, or just ask Lora. She has been through the ringer on both sites. But she is much more relaxed happy because she is with good people that she can trust and won't condemn her.

  106. Tara Volesky 2014.08.25

    Mike is only a main distraction on the 2 main blog sites, and Cory is turning this into a distraction. He is a pro at it. Thanks Deb, at least you're considerate and polite. I just have a problem with bullies.

  107. Roger Cornelius 2014.08.25

    What happened? I thought you were through arguing with me.
    You may consider me a sideshow, but the reality is that I'm not the candidate, Mike Myers is. It doesn't matter whether you trust me and Cory or not, we are not trying to get your candidate elected and to remind you, this is a Democratic blog, just DWC is a Republican blog, what do expect?
    Since I have been thinking for myself of late, it is obvious that you are working diligently to get Mike the lowest vote totals an Independent candidate has ever received in a South Dakota.
    Tara, you seem to be spending a lot of time on a blog whose readers are not going to support Myers.
    Unfortunately for Mike Myers, he trusted the wrong campaign manager.

  108. Tara Volesky 2014.08.25

    Why don't you ask Mike that question. He would be more than glad to tell you what he thinks of me being his campaign manager. While your at it ask Lora too. I spend a lot of time on both blogs to defend Mike and Lora from people like you.

  109. 96 Tears 2014.08.25

    Cory - Sorry I didn't see your question regarding KELO until now. I don't have the ear of anyone there. But I like your idea. Something that can be exported online via You Tube, Twitter and Facebook. Take a page from Gordon Howey's book and write and produce the segments yourself with graphics and references to news articles.

    Don't get lost in the weeds about how the EB-5 program was developed and intended to function across the nation. Cut to the chase of how the crooks used a funding mechanism to fill their pockets, create a secret bank and waste hundreds of millions on doomed-to-fail pet projects without accountability.

    I wonder what a chain of command chart would look in the Governor's Office of Economic Development and how the state auditing/budgeting agencies work ... or should have worked.

  110. Roger Cornelius 2014.08.25


    96 Tears,
    A series of videos or podcasts with Cory as host is an excellent idea, when South Dakotans that unaware of the depths of the EB-5 scandal want to know more, we will have a place to refer them. As the election draw near, we can post and repost them on social media.
    KELO isn't always that best means of communication for western South Dakota since so many don't local cable in rural areas.
    I stated earlier, that we should do something in the print media as well, for many in the west, the Rapid City Journal is the only local news source available to them.

  111. JeniW 2014.08.25

    Does the RCJ have something like the "My Voice" like the Argus has? It is like a letter to the editor, but can be longer than the usual letter.

  112. Bill Fleming 2014.08.25

    Best way to do it in the newspapers would be a guest editorial (if they're still doing such a thing).

    Perhaps Kevin Woster would be willing to do the historical summary. Lot's of people from both sides of the River both in and out of politics follow him and trust him to lay things out clean and simple.

    Another guy, if he was still around, would be Bill Harlan.

  113. Bill Fleming 2014.08.25

    Lots, not lot's... sorry.

  114. Bill Fleming 2014.08.25

    The key will be to have a writer with no obvious political axe to grind. Sadly, that might exclude Cory, even though — by virtue of his hard work and due diligence — he's probably as well informed on the issue as anyone can be.

  115. Roger Cornelius 2014.08.25

    The Rapid City Journal does have guest editorials or op-ed pieces, remember Susan Wismer's op-ed in the Journal about GOAC is what resulted in the EB-5 firestorm last week.
    If Kevin Woster were to do a video it would be on KELO and create a problem for those that follow print media. He does have a blog, but I don't know how well that is followed.
    Whatever is done with print or video, it will have to be strategically planned to have the greatest impact as election day approaches.
    Being this late in the campaign, it should be made a political issue showing Republican corruption.

  116. 96 Tears 2014.08.25

    Bill and Roger - Waiting for a reporter to get the permission and then take the initiative to set out the series of events, statements and flipflops would be futile before the election. You basically have to write it for them, and then they'd say we are making it political.

    I think the best shot, if he is willing and has time, is for Cory to lay it out and then challenge any Republican or reporter to prove where he is wrong and why. Then burn the series on DVDs and hand them out neighborhood by neighborhood.

    Short of taking a can of red spray paint to all the Rounds barn signs and scrawling BENDA on one side and EB-5 on the other, I don't know how to get much penetration very quickly. Of course, spray painting BENDA and EB-5 in red on Rounds signs would be illegal except, perhaps, on those that were staked on public right of ways, public properties and private properties without permission. Not that it should be condoned ... for shame.

  117. larry kurtz 2014.08.25

    Googling 'montana eb-5' returns zero news results, googling 'wyoming eb-5' returns two news results.

    Googling 'south dakota eb-5' returns about 2250 news results.

  118. Roger Cornelius 2014.08.25



    Although I wouldn't encourage anybody to spay paint BENDA over the Rounds signs, wouldn't only be illegal if you get caught?

  119. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.08.25

    I like how you think Roger.

  120. Roger Cornelius 2014.08.25

    Hi Deb,
    Thanks for the compliment.

    While I've been waiting for Mike Myers to post that FBI report that captured everyone's attention, I scanned Facebook to see what has been going.

    Naturally the Independents and Libertarians are celebrating the Myers slideshow and all that it has accomplished. I was somewhat confused that Ken, normally reasonable voice for Libertarians, is discounting EB-5 as a scandal, insisting that we should be discussing the value of EB-5 on a national scale. There is seems to be a Libertarian conflict there with Chad Haber "exposing" the EB-5 scandal and Dakota Liberty saying there isn't one.
    And of course, there is absolutely no mention or acknowledgment of Susan Wismer's vital role in bring EB-5 to the forefront these past couple of weeks.

  121. 96 Tears 2014.08.25


    There is a question of legally posted Rounds signs vs. the nonlegal ones. In the latter category I include those illegally posted on rights of way, public lands and private properties where nobody asked permission. The law allows you to remove and junk those signs. However, if you would like to "enhance" those signs with red spray paint to inform voters of "BENDA" and "EB-5", you have every right to do so. They are classified as trash in their locations and, thus, fair game for enhancements.

    Good question, kind sir.

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