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Tsitrian: Wismer Should Remain on GOAC to Ask EB-5/NBP Questions

What?! Nobody brought up the EB-5/Northern Beef Packers scandal at the State Fair gubernatorial debate? My belief is beggared! Debate sponsor Farmers Union is clearly showing its organizational bias toward Republicans, obviously shielding Governor Dennis Daugaard from questions about his involvement in the loss of millions of tax dollars and the privatization and exploitation of a federal program for personal profit on his watch. Obviously.

John Tsitrian agrees with me that Rep. Susan Wismer should not shield Governor Daugaard from her direct questioning. The Democratic gubernatorial candidate announced (unprompted, it seems, by any public criticism) that she would like permission to step down from the Government Operations and Audit Committee that is supposed to be investigating EB-5/NBP and send a proxy to question Governor Daugaard, former governor Mike Rounds, EB-5 exec Joop Bollen, and EB-5 lawyer Jeffrey T. Sveen (if they show) at GOAC's September 24 hearing. Tsitrian says stepping away from GOAC at this crucial moment cheats citizens and Wismer's own campaign:

...Wismer is still an elected official with all the knowledge and responsibilities that go with that position. I have no doubt that during her work on this matter, Wismer has learned some things that give her a particular set of insights that no proxy could possibly possess. It's Wismer's job to bring that knowledge to bear on the hearings regardless of the political repercussions that will be an inevitable part of this process.

...Wismer's withdrawal from the committee would be doing voters a disservice because she's got a great opportunity to get some substantive media face time as the election approaches. Could there be a better way for voters to get the measure of her and Daugaard than in a face-to-face confrontation occurring during the routine work of government? I relish the chance to watch them doing what we hired them to do, along with all the comparisons and contrasts that go with it. Given her underdog status, Wismer should relish it too [John Tsitrian, "No Way Should Susan Wismer Withdraw From The EB-5 Hearings. No Way," The Constant Commoner, 2014.08.28].

As Tsitrian says, political theater is not inherently repulsive. Sometimes spectacle serves the public interest. Wismer as warrior on EB-5 is exactly the image that made her appearance at the Dakotafest debate a success. Wismer should keep that image ball rolling, stay on GOAC, and be ready to play Watergate inquisitor on September 24. What did you know and when did you know itwho wouldn't want to look Governor Daugaard in the eye and ask him those questions?


  1. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.09.01

    To give some context to Larry's link, WNAX gets Sen. Jean Hunhoff (R-18/Yankton) to blow more smoke for her stonewalling party. She says Bollen isn't required to talk to GOAC. She says she has no further questions (oh, the lack of curiosity about the use of state dollars and state authority from a woman who votes for the state to subject women to interrogation by strangers about their pregnancies). She frets that she doesn't want GOAC questions to hamper the federal investigation into NBP and EB-5.

    The latter puzzles me: just what question could Susan Wismer ask at the GOAC hearing that would cause Brendan Johnson and the FBI to say, "Oh, crap! We can't investigate Joop Bollen and NBP any more! You just wrecked our case!"?

  2. grudznick 2014.09.01

    Maybe Brendan Johnson just doesn't want loose-lipped bloggers pointing the Chinese Mafia in the direction of what they need to be covering up.

  3. shirley moore 2014.09.01

    You and Mr. Tsitrian have the correct ideas, Cory -- if only the Wis could come up with good questions and work off script.

  4. larry kurtz 2014.09.01

    That's Representative Wismer to you, Ms. Moore.

  5. MJL 2014.09.01

    I commented at Mr. Tristrian's site about this. I think Wismer did the correct thing. This shouldn't just be Wismer fighting this, but it should be South Dakotans fighting this. By recusing herself, you eliminate some of the excuses about this just being a political move. Every question she would get asked would get pushed to the side my the GOP and the media. Both the Argus and Bob Mercer have called EB-5 a distraction that has been played out in the political world.

    I would like to see Bernie Hunhoff to ask questions. He was at the lawsuit conference. He knows how to ask tough questions to evasive talkers. He also has a sense of prose about him. If not Bernie, then I think it should be turned over to Kathy Tyler. She has a bloodhound tenacity to dig in and fight over this like Wismer has been trying.

    The frustrating thing is that Democrats have only one person at the table and the GOP seem unwilling to do the digging. As always, I wonder if they would have the same lack of questions if the Governor at the time had been a Democrat.

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.09.01

    So tell me, MJL: how does Bernie, Kathy, or any other Democrat posing those questions deter Mercer, Ellis, or the SDGOP from dismissing those questions as politically motivated? Do we gain any comparative advantage from recruiting another questioner? Or if the Susan disadvantage is non-unique, do we still come out ahead if Susan poses those questions and we get (1) the telling political theater of Rep. Wismer asking hard questions and Gov. Daugaard crying, "I wasn't there" and (2) the spectacle of Rep. Wismer, who is seeking the greatest leadership role in South Dakota, taking a leadership role in investigating the greatest current political scandal in South Dakota?

  7. Calling myself Batgirl this week 2014.09.02

    On Tuesday, September 23, 9:30 AM, at the Law School in Vermillion, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear Hutterville Hutterian Brethren, et al v. Jeffrey Sveen, Rodrick Tobin, and Harvey Jewett in a RICO conspiracy action which argues Sveen, Tobin, and Jewett caused injury to the Hutterian Brethren though a pattern or racketeering and the law firm of Seigel, Barnett and Schutz, LLP, operated their law firm as a racketeering enterprise, and engaged in predicate acts of mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, interstate transportation of stolen goods, document tampering and obstruction. The proceeding will be open to the public.

    Arguing for Hutterville will be David Olsen, of Henson & Efron, out of Minnesota. Readers may recall Olsen represented Jesse Ventura in a recent defamation case against a Navy Seal turned author with Ventura winning his case.

    It's not every day the law school kids can get to see a member of the SD Board of Regents tried in a RICO action. Or a case where our State Auditor's family law firm is called a criminal enterprise. And it's many of the same players in EB5.

    I hope someone is paying attention on Sept 23.

  8. Roger Cornelius 2014.09.02


    Just wondering how much of that missing NBP went to pay off the judge in this case.

    By the court's decision, they perpetuate the stonewalling and cover up, another campaign tool.

  9. lesliengland 2014.09.02

    Guys, how do we keep this issue in the forefront for the election? i may not think much will result from the autopsy, but the money, the bankruptcy, the creditors that may have been screwed; that should be a big thorn in rounds and daugaard's candidacy.

    the legislative investigation is where the dems have to push hardest, unless duffy comes up with a better plan. but if not and we don't have the horsepower at the committee level, with wismer's fear of it backfiring on her candidacy we will be walking away from an election winner of an issue. get in there weiland. work with her!! more lawyers please!!

  10. Roger Cornelius 2014.09.03

    The first thing we can do is to keep this subject in the social media from now until election day. Go back to some of Cory's posts on GOED/EB-5 scandal and repost as many as you can.
    The next thing we can do is pressure our Democratic candidates to pursue this story in their daily campaigns and campaign ads.
    When you can get those campaign donation request from the Democrat National Committee or the South Dakota Democratic Party, answer them, not with money, but with a demand that they do something to help with this investigation and financially support our candidates.
    The Republicans are hoping that Democrats will allow this story die and have label it as a conspiracy theory, we can not allow that. GOED/EB-5 is not a conspiracy theory, it is a criminal investigation.

  11. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.09.03

    Roger's right: we need our candidates to beat the drum. The first job of a candidate is to lead voters in necessary conversations. Wismer and Weiland both need to hammer on it. When they go to a debate and don't get a question about EB-5 or Northern Beef Packers, they need to do what every candidate does and turn the nearest convenient question into a discussion of the desired topic (and with NBP/EB-5, it's not hard, since it is connected to agriculture, economic development, Hutterites [Holy Hutterites, Batgirl!], one-party rule, corruption, the Future Fund, immigration...).

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