When Mike Rounds ran the EB-5 program, U.S residency cards were for sale to the highest bidders, putting millions into the pockets of the Governor's hired cronies while South Dakota taxpayers took a massive hit.
Rick Weiland believes citizenship shouldn't be for sale, and neither should a seat in the U.S. Senate [People for Weiland campaign ad, released 2014.09.04].
The Weiland campaign supplements this ad with the following documentation, shipped to the press this a.m.:
Rick Weiland opposes selling U.S. residency cards, and a pathway to citizenship, for a half a million dollars to foreign millionaires and billionaires. He believes it is fundamentally wrong and goes against everything we stand for as a state and a country. Weiland has called for the elimination of the EB-5 program. Mike Rounds remains a steadfast supporter of the EB-5 program:
Former Gov. Mike Rounds offered an enthusiastic defense Wednesday of the state's now-shuttered immigrant investor program known as EB-5.
"Personally, I hope they continue the EB-5 program," Rounds, 59, said. "Because it's one more tool available. We don't exactly have a lot of capital in South Dakota."
“When it is all said and done EB-5 has been good for South Dakota and I hope we continue to utilize it in the future.” – Mike Rounds, South Dakota Newspaper Association GOP Senate Debate, Pierre, SD April 12, 2014
Rounds Lone Candidate Supporting EB-5 Program (AP; July 5, 2014): Former Gov. Mike Rounds stands alone among the four candidates for U.S. Senate in South Dakota in his support of the state's troubled EB-5 immigrant investor visa program.
SDRC Inc. For-Profit Business: One of issues raised by everyone’s unwillingness to answer questions under oath is how much money the private SDRC, Inc. made from its visa for sale program. The South Dakota media has suggested it amounted to millions of dollars a year in commissions and on-going fees:
EB-5: Investment Recruiter Took Cut of EB-5 Money (Argus Leader; August 1, 2014): “SDRC Inc. wasn't paid any money by the state in its contract to run South Dakota's EB-5 program. But it did get a cut of every investment, a cut big enough to add up to millions of dollars per year.”
Taxpayer Money Lost: Mike Rounds also continues to maintain that the state didn’t lose any taxpayer money on EB-5. However, the state’s media has clearly documented how taxpayer money has been lost:
South Dakota’s Help for Northern Beef was about $4.3 Million (Associated Press; April 17, 2014): Figures from the South Dakota governor's office show that about $3.5 million in state Future Fund Grants supported the Northern Beef Packers project. The Aberdeen plant also received nearly $845,000 in state construction-tax refunds, according to the South Dakota Department of Revenue [People for Weiland, "Auction" ad documentation packet, 2014.09.04].
Go ahead, Mike. Keep skipping debates. Keep avoiding questions. The words and actions you've put on the record are already enough to make clear to voters that you view public office as just another business venture, with the benefits of citizenship and elected office going to the highest bidder.