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Covering for Rounds, Wadhams Makes Up Secret Tyler-Johnson Conversation

Dick Wadhams and the South Dakota Republican Party are really good at hearing only what they want to hear and not what is actually said. Rep. Kathy Tyler (D-4/Big Stone City) spent 20 minutes Monday laying out the case that a Board of Regents employee tricked the state out of millions of dollars with then-Governor Mike Rounds's knowledge and tacit approval, putting the GOP Senate candidate in a very bad light.

All Wadhams heard was two sentences:

"I'm unaware of anything that he's doing. I've talked to him and he can't say anything. I've talked to him and he can't say anything."

That's what Rep. Tyler said in response to reporter Ben Dunsmoor's question about whether U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson will testify to the legislative committee that Rep. Tyler hopes will subpoena Rounds and his cronies on this apparent fraud. Here's how the Republican party spokesman Goebbels up that statement:

The only "revelation" at today’s partisan sideshow is that a partisan Democrat State Representative admitted that she had secret conversations with the publicly silent, partisan Democrat U.S. Attorney, Brendan Johnson, who continues to stonewall the people of South Dakota on the results of his investigation.... South Dakotans deserves [sic] to hear directly from Brendan Johnson but apparently he will only talk in secret with a fellow partisan Democrat [Dick Wadhams, SDGOP press release, 2014.09.08].

Wow. To cover for stonewalling by Mike Rounds, Dennis Daugaard, Marty Jackley, and Joop Bollen on the investigation of Bollen's no-bid contract, South Dakota's exploitation of the EB-5 visa investment program, and Richard Benda's death, Wadhams says that the U.S. Attorney, who has good excuses to keep quiet (ongoing investigation, electoral non-interference), is stonewalling. He wraps what Tyler actually said—"I've talked to him and he can't say anything," something every good reporter in the state can probably say about conversations with U.S. Attorney Johnson—into the tinfoil of secret conversations.

Add his unevidenced hyperbole about Rounds creating more than 5,000 jobs with the EB-5 program, and Wadhams appears to be as resistant to truth and scruple in his use of words as Annette Bosworth.


  1. 96 Tears 2014.09.08

    Is there one reporter in South Dakota who is not afraid of forcing Mike Rounds to provide the proof that 5,000 jobs were created by Joop Bollen and Richard Benda's administration of the EB-4 program? Since they offered the 5,000 number, perhaps it would not be imprudent to ask for verified proof that their claim is correct. Montgomery and Ellis, show some evidence of a spine!

  2. Roger Cornelius 2014.09.08

    You're right Cory, I could call Johnson's office as a citizen and he would give me the same response he gave Kathy.

    I'm wondering if Wadhams really wants to twist the U.S. Attorney's arm before the election? That could be risky for Republicans.

    And of course if Johnson did issue a statement of any kind the Republicans will cry partisan politics by Johnson.

  3. Bill Fleming 2014.09.09

    It's obviously a complicated puzzle with what appear to be a lot of pieces missing. In the press conference, answering a question from a reporter about how things were prior to privatization, Tyler says "we don't know." And isn't that the overarching point? Who knew what when?

    And then there's the politics. Wadhams knows Johnson's not going to say anything. So he taunts him. What an a$$. But then that's politics.

    The interesting thing is, that's the only thing Wadhams can say. Because he doesn't know anything either.

    And isn't that ultimately Mr. Rounds's defense? That he didn't know anything? Does it really come down to that? Vote for Mike because he doesn't know anything?

  4. mike from iowa 2014.09.09

    If this keeps up,Wadhams will disavow that Rounds was ever guv of South Dakota.

  5. Douglas Wiken 2014.09.09

    The ethical depravity in the Rounds ads is an indication they are actually afraid of Weiland. Their polls must be showing that Weiland is ready to catch up with rancid Rounds.

  6. Jane Smith 2014.09.09

    Partisanship aside, the real issue is that the citizens are denied the truth. People who must be accountable use the childish excuse of "I didn't know". In this matter it is obvious who was involved, who benefited. As government officials on both sides you those who are truly working for the best interest of its people, should be clamoring for answers of those that have made a mockery of its citizens intellect. It is simple, a group of greedy people have robbed your intellectual property, money, and opportunities. If a person claims that they endorsed the program, then they were well informed of it. Else that person is not qualified to lead or represent its people.

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