While the GOP leadership treats Joop Bollen with kid gloves, accepting without complaint his refusal to testify in person before the Government Operations and Audit Committee, I am reminded of a somewhat testier Legislative committee that responded to balky witnesses with somewhat more intensity.
In December 2011, Rep. Stace Nelson and five other Republican legislators complained that the GOP House leadership was violating ethics rules. Leadership threw together an ad hoc committee, chaired by Sen. Joni Cutler, that declined to exercise subpoena powers or take testimony under oath. Dissatisfied with that lack of rigor, complainant Reps. Nelson, Lance Russell, and Lora Hubbel decided the hearing was not worth attending.
Chairwoman Cutler implored Rep. Russell to play nicely and said his attending the hearing in person would be much better than discussing the matter in writing:
There are both procedural and legal reasons for addressing those issues in this manner. My hope is that you would refrain from drawing conclusions about what you think I intend to do in the hearing as you risk inaccuracy in so doing. That is one of the huge drawbacks in trying to assess this through email and letters and why it is preferable, in fairness to everyone, to handle all of this in an open meeting and on the record with witnesses personally present.
We really need your cooperation and presence so that we can have the type of dialog that will help us work toward a proper resolution. We would be happy to meet into the evening if that would help you come to Pierre [Senator Joni Cutler, letter to Rep. Lance Russell, 2012.01.02].
When the hearing convened the next day and certain legislators remained absent Chairwoman Cutler got out the stick:
Emphasizing the seriousness of the hearing, Cutler reviewed statutes outlining the consequences of a legislator neglecting or refusing to testify when summoned. The penalties include a Class 2 misdemeanor, the forfeiture of public office and disqualification of running for public office again in the state.
It was the chairwoman’s review that prompted Rep. Lora Hubbel, R-Sioux Falls, one of the three missing legislators, to hop into her car and make the 225-mile drive to Pierre.
“They said we had to or we are breaking the law. If they want to beat me up there, I will let them beat me up,” Hubbel said while getting into her car to leave [Megan Luther, "Legislative Probe Hears Conflicting Testimony," that Sioux Falls paper, 2012.01.04].
Cutler's January 2 letter to Rep. Russell doesn't appear to be a subpoena; she's simply inviting him to come speak in person to the committee. But when Rep. Russell refused to attend in person, she broke out statute:
SDCL 2-6-5: Disobedience of legislative summons as misdemeanor. Any person who is summoned to attend as a witness before either house of the Legislature or any committee thereof authorized to summon or subpoena witnesses, and who refuses or neglects without lawful excuse to attend pursuant to the summons or subpoena, is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.
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.
SDCL 2-6-7: Forfeiture of office by legislator in violation--Disqualification from public office. The conviction of a member of the Legislature of any crime defined in § 2-6-5 or 2-6-6 involves as a consequence, in addition to the punishment prescribed therein, a forfeiture of his office and disqualifies him from ever thereafter holding any public office under this state.
Chairwoman Cutler wielded this statutory threat on an ad hoc committee, in the absence of any formal summons.
Fast forward to today. Senator Larry Tidemann chairs the Government Operations and Audit Committee, which is specifically empowered by SDCL 2-6-4 to summon witnesses in its thorough examination of every state department's management and expenditures. He asks former state employee Joop Bollen to testify before the committee. Bollen refuses, with no apparent lawful excuse, and Tidemann shrugs.
The moral of the story: make millions of dollars while promoting a prominent Republican's pet project, and the Legislature will go easy on you. Question the Republican leadership, and the Legislature will discover its teeth and its statutory authority to bite.
If they subpoena Rounds, Daugaard, Bollen and the rest and put them under oath, one of two things happen, they all plead the 5th or they tell the truth, neither of these options are good for their respective campaigns or the republican ruling party. It is as plain as the nose on their faces what the republican controlled committee is trying to do. A third option would be for all of them to lie out their teeth under oath, but that would catch up to them at some point, and I doubt they are smart enough or have stones big enough to pull that off. Republicans own everything that has happened in this state for the last 40 years and they know it, I have to admit, it is fun watching them squirm. I hope our democrat candidates are planning to call them out fully because I look forward to watching them swing when the full truth does come out, and at some point, it will.
Point is accurately made. Not due process of law, rather selective. Note to self, for invites by Tidemann to GOAC, RSVP: Due to fishin' season, gone fishin'. And I'll split my catch when I get back.
Tim"s comment made me smile. Republicans own everything that has happened in this state for 40 years. Like fiscal soundness and no debt and a fraction of the problems every other state has.
Even so, they should let Joop take all the notes he wants and he can read it to the committee but he needs to show up and face the music.
...and watershed destruction, mass incarceration...i could go on and on: pick a lane, rev. hickey.
Rep Hickey, republicans have had a super majority in this state for forty years, you propose to blame somebody else for all of the problems this state has? This should be interesting, please proceed, you have the floor.
You might try starting with the fact it is nearly impossible to make a decent wage in this state, fiscal soundness at the expense of education and healthcare for starters. Lets also not forget the abysmal unemployment rates on the reservations that no republican wants to talk about.This is a red state going down the same drain the rest of the red states in this country are going down.
Does South Dakota receive Federal Subsidies?
Federal subsidies is essentially like robbing Peter to pay Paul. So if Republics claim credit for garnering federal subsidies for SD, they can also take credit for the climbing National Debt.
But I digress. The issue here is people appointed to office wield that power for special interest only, instead of protecting the best interest of the people. Also perpetual cover up, denials, flat out lies that these give while grinning to the bank.
Good that you recognize the past 4 decades of decay Rev. Hickey. How do you square your fiscal soundness on the fact that it is propped up by the good will of all of the taxpayers of this nation. If not for the federal government, keeping the money flow to the state, we would be screwed. To help show that, I only think of your words regarding the Medicaid Expansion and you along with your ruling party's disdain for it. Instead of putting us in a better fiscal condition, you and yours want to keep punishing the working poor for self gratification. Ah yes, proud times indeed to be part of the 4 decades of decay.
Honestly, I sense a change coming soon to South Dakota. Many of my generation (25-35 year olds) are seeking a life in South Dakota where we can live a rural, more old fashioned life. Yet the Republican Party does not offer anything to these younger voters. I am not a smoker of marijuana (honestly), but commercial hemp could help many hobby farmers earn money that allows them to continue to live in South Dakota, thus alleviating the brain-drain currently happening to our state.
Also, the social hot-button issues are dead. Abortion is a very large divider, and probably always will be. But the Republican Party's odd obsession with Homosexual sex, "Christian Values", and general stance of negativity towards "the other" is driving people away. Many rightly see the screwiness of the states Democratic party, and register as Independents. But within 20 years, Republicans will rue the day they were not more forward thinking.
Lastly, there is an extremely entrenched old boys club. You are not a part of it, and never will be. But it is there. And it will die away; all consolidated power such as the Byrd organization or the Daly Machine withers on the vine. So will the State Republican Party; there is already a split between the moderates and conservatives, much like Kansas.
In any other state, Joni Cutler, Christine Erickson, etc would be Democrats. The only way to power currently is with an R by ones name. But as you know, pride cometh before the fall. I would advise you to clean house, and rather quickly, or you run the risk of being swept out of East River fairly soon.
Steve H., isn't it hypocritical for Rounds (and legislators,) to have accepted the federal stimulus monies (federal welfare,) use the last stimulus check to "balance" the state budget, take the credit for balancing the budget, and to now complain about the federal government spending?
How is it that the state has as many people who are forced into homelessness, or have gone into bankruptcy due to medical debts, or need public assistance, or when released from prison/jail have no place to go, no job, so that they end up being put back in jail?
2-6-5 to 7 are why these people have only been "invited" and not summoned. Mike, if eb-5 was a good program under your leadership, why not come in person and share that info with the people of sd? You'd probably see a bump in the polls.
Perhaps there is some republican hypocrisy taking so many fed dollars but I've been the broken record that says we need to wean off those dollars because a long economic winter is coming. And you all are the ones who want the printing presses to roll off more stimulus dollars. Odd that you see fed dollars as a sign our economy isn't what it seems. Even so, SD pays it's bills and is frequently listed as the best for this or that. So republicans get credit for that!? We have things to fix but again, compared to other states we are strong.
I've never heard you say that in the media. I have heard you ranting about homosexual sex, and also compare MMA fighting to child porn (lots of sexual undercurrents in your thinking sir). But I have never heard you speak a word about weening the state off of federal dollars.
Joop Bollens wife seems to be half his age 22yrs old. Basically his new wife could date his own son. She must have cost quit a dollar, check out the Facebook posts. One dollar? Two dollar?
He threw his aged wife out to the curb with a crumb (3000 sq ft house ) to buy her silence on how he attained his green card. Could he have paid for that? He also tossed to her daughter a crumb (house) to buy her silence. So, curious, what other crumb did he toss to get such leniency.
Steve H., it is the attitude that I find as being hypocritical.
Rounds and others complain about the federal spending and debt, but was/are more than willing to accept the stimulus money, and other federal dollars. If Rounds and others would stop complaining about the federal government, and acknowledge how he/they contributed to the federal debt then I would be less critical.
To me it seems odd that Rounds brags about the state having a balanced budget when he left office, but withing days of Daugaard taking office, he, with the legislators approval, made the 10% across the board budget cuts. Now Daugaard brags that HE balanced the budget.
Does that mean that the budget really was not balanced when Rounds left office, and was in debt, or heading into debt?
I have problems with comparing SD to other states because it seems like an effort to trivialize the long standing issues.
SD has a lot of positive things going for it, but the GOP does not own all the bragging rights, so do the people who are Democrats, Independents, those without political ties and etc. It takes a lot of effort from a lot of different people to make our communities and state strong.
You cannot do it by yourself, and I do not expect you to. If you would/could start creating more positive relationships with our diverse population, including with the people who live on the reservations, that would be wonderful.
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. It is up to everyone to strengthen the chain. If the GOP can manage to strengthen the chain by dealing constructively with the weak links, then the SD GOP can take all the bragging rights it deserves.
Jane, perhaps Bollen is offering to take them all to Club Havana in Makiti, whereh Richard Benda had such a good time entertaining "EB-5 clients" late into the night? Maybe he's showing them those Facebook photos and telling key players, "There are more where she came from"?
Or maybe he doesn't have to do anything to buy their protection. Maybe his continued silence is his best currency with the guys who'd sink on his squeal.
On Rep. Hickey's entrance into the conversation: Folks, let's first spotlight the main point, that we have a Republican legislator who agrees with us that Joop Bollen should show up and face the music. If there were one Republican on GOAC who felt the same way, Rep. Wismer would have gotten a second on July 29 to talk subpoena.
Rep. Hickey, do you agree with us that GOAC should issue a subpoena for Joop Bollen? Should it issue subpoenas for anyone else? If you say yes to either of those questions, are you willing to lobby your colleagues to support such subpoenas?
With a population of less than a million people,what could go wrong in South Dakota? If it wasn't for federal monies you would be in deep dodo because wingnut's priorities are in this order:
1) koch bros
2) koch bros
3) any doubts see 1 and 3 above
"Tidemann Shrugs" sounds like a title for a great novel about wingnut incompetence in South Dakota for the past 40 plus years.
One of the GOP scribes at the Argus filed this story on the molasses slow progress attorney Banchard is making after securing payment of $20,000 to determine if and how the state can get back the $550,000 portion of the $1 million check Richard Benda got from his boss Mike Rounds before he left office.
This pantomime fools nobody. Just another excuse to pay a Pierre crony to slow down and distract focus on Benda, Bollen, Rounds, Jewett, Sveen and the gang until after the election.
Running out the clock.
Today's article by Bob Mercer highlights how the GOP legislature hides their junkets before the election at a time when the amount spent on junkets doubled. Apparently, these clowns know how to suppress information on their abuses of office. Corruption in Pierre is systemic.
If you could ask Joop Bollen, under oath, any specific questions regarding EB-5, what would they be.
My apologies for being very mean-spirited. I get a bit mad when elected officials tell voters "Well, I would have voted in the affirmative were I in that position." And then nothing ever happens. I understand you are not on the committee that would conduct the hearings; so what can you do in your capacity as a legislator? Honest question; I would love to see independent leadership at the statehouse on this.
" If you say yes to either of those questions, are you willing to lobby your colleagues to support such subpoenas?"
Yes I will. Joop needs to come clean and that means look us in the eye as he reads his lawyer approved statement of innocence. And he should show up with the missing files.
Lots to celebrate in SD. And some significant things to fix.
Mr. Mike in Iowa, I am working on some of the problems in your state so soon you will see a big difference. Not the smell though. I haven't been able to fix that yet. Har Har.
Nothing to celebrate, Rev. Written responses that have been vetted and sanitized by the attorney is just another act of obstruction to getting at the nub of the truth. Yet another example of running down the clock and obstructing the truth from the voters.
Truth requires transparency. Not editing. Just the facts straight out of the mouth of the one person holding the evidence and holding the answers about the internal workings of Mike Rounds' EB-5 Scam. You may recall that the other witness died violently and rather mysteriously 11 months ago. Getting at the truth requires that those asking questions are allowed follow-up questions until they are satisfied they have complete answers.
The GOAC proceeding is a complete farce. Bollen and his pals in Pierre went past "just trust me" years ago.
Thank you, Rep. Hickey. Now get on that phone. Let's get that subpoena this week.
Cory, am I too assume that "forfeit' doesn't include the debate, but the senate race as well?
96 Tears, you're too kind, what you call "running down the clock and obstructing the truth from voters", I call it a simple case of obstruction of justice.
As a state legislator, how would you compel Joop Bollen to testify before GOAC?
How would compel Rounds and Daugaard to testify?
Mr. C, I suspect there are only two possible answers to your question to Mr. Hickey:
1- He would use his powers of legislation to compel his brethren on this committee of subpoena to make the legislatures send their internal police (and the legislatures do have their own internal secret police and detectives) to drag Mr. Bollen before them; or
2 - He would tell you that the legislatures really don't have these powers and have been told by lawyers and courts and probably judges that they are toothless pantomimes so best not pull the plastic red doily off that sticky table.
Rounds and Daugaard especially are at least once removed from the stink of this and a written statement from them is fine with me. I'm also ok with this all waiting til after the election because whether we admit it or not, the fog of political fire from both sides of the aisle obscures what I'm trying to see.
grudz, I suspect you're right on both counts.
Here is the irony of the politicians, they spend huge amounts of money sometimes to seek powerful positions in government, the power often overwhelms them, "I am important".
And then faced with criminal activities by their party associates, it is we don't have the power to do anything, rules and protocol prohibit us from governing, or whatever mousy excuse they can come up with.
Steve, wipe your glasses off and press for the subpoena now. I don't think anything that I've written in the past week about Bollen's contract with himself, his violation of conflict of interest law, his violation of Regental policy, and his violation of laws against representing the state in court without a law license and authorization from the AG suffers in clarity due to any partisan smoke.
Do individual legislators have any sort of ability to compel testimony, or does that power lie only in the corporate will of a majority in committee or full chamber?
Mr. Hickey will not put up with criminal activities by his associates, of that I am sure. Mr. Hickey will smite them down as well he should.
I don't think I individually can force a committee to do anything. Probably a number of us in the House could. I sent a feeler out to see who else wants Joop there.
It is obvious the partisan cloud will not clear before the election and the Republican Party doesn't want it to. I also recognize Rep Hickey's need to protect his party at this crucial time of the election, that is apparent in his most recent comment.
Written comments from anybody involved in this ever growing scandal should not be exempt from testifying before GOAC or any legislative body. By attempting to sanction only written questions by the corruptors it only reveals the truth and that is the truth be damned, Republicans don't want to and will not hear it.
By playing this game, those that accept Tidemann's commitment to Bollen are just as guilty of the cover up as Bollen, Jackly, Rounds, and Daugaard.
When you reached out to other legislators, did that include members in both houses and both parties? Were Susan Wismer and Kathy Tyler included?
Would it be out of the question to form a bi-partisan group to approach Tidemann and say, it is time to act. No more delays, no more games.
If this scandal follows its predicted conclusion the Republican Party in this state could realistically suffer irreparable damage.
What will happen if Rounds wins the November 4 election and on November 5 he is indicted and arrested, you remember what happened to Bosworth, right?
Facts don't have a political genesis. That facts are reflecting badly on Rounds and his campaign is not a function of the political process. If there's a political cast to these proceedings, it's created by those who don't want a face-to-face confrontation in a fully transparent hearing with Joop Bollen.
Mr. C, my guess is that in general Ms. Tyler and certain others aren't highly respected across the entirety of the legislatures. I would think that Mr. Hickey would reach out to respected libbies like that Sutton kid or even Mr. Hunhoff if he wanted a bi-partisan group.
Roger, on protecting the party: I suggest that the best thing Rep. Hickey could do to protect his party right now is to get in front of the issue and lead the charge against corruption. Imagine we are right: Rounds was a co-conspirator with Bollen and Benda in defrauding the state of millions of dollars. Rounds goes down and takes any Republican who helped him, either in the conspiracy or the stonewalling, down with him. Rounds in cuffs could tar the GOP for several election cycles. Bringing Joop in, grilling him, demanding info from Rounds, Daugaard, etc., and holding the guilty accountable could redeem some Republicans enough to help them hold power post-Rounds.
And even if Rounds is dirty enough to prosecute, taking up the charge now and digging up all the facts could take the issue away from Democrats, defuse it, and leave the GOP with a clearer path to victory in November.
Short form: If we are right about EB-5, Hickey and friends can win by picking the right side now. If we are wrong, Hickey and friends can win by proving our wrongness sooner rather than later.
Anything in the next fifty days from democrats on this or other matters relating to an open US Senate seat has some measure of political slime attached to it. Likewise anything from republicans in the next fifty days on this or any matters related to an open US Senate seat has some measure of political whitewash on it.
Imagine you are wrong, Mr. H. Bollen and Benda acted alone, and there is not a vast, multi-level multi-goverment multi-elected official conspiracy that has murdered people and spit in the public bushes and basically steered the entire social structure as you see it awry.
My goodness. You have become like Mr. Sibby!!! Don't you see it?
I disagree, Mr. Hickey. When Watergate first surfaced the charges of political conspiracy were quickly dismissed as more and more facts emerged. The facts of Slaughterhouse EB-5 are too compelling to be ignored or dismissed as political theater.
I'm with John, Steve. If the presence of political slime is an excuse not to act, then we will never act. Our discussion of corruption in GOED/NBP/SDRC/EB-5 will always have political overtones. There will always be doubt that Democrats and Republicans are speaking entirely truthfully about it. Let's darn those torpedoes and charge ahead as honestly as we can.
Grudz my friend, if real proof shows no "vast, right-wing conspiracy," that will simply be good news.
Sometimes when information leads one to conclude that there is some kind of Big Nasty going on, it's because there really is some kind of Big Nasty going on.
Waiting for a transparent, unlimited investigation. Whatever the conclusion of such an investigation is, SD wins. No good investigation? SD is The Biggest Loser.
John, thanks for mentioning Watergate, not to blame all Republicans for Nixon's corruption, but because if you know the history of Watergate, you know how political scandals often play out.
There is no conspiracy theory, the conspiracy seems be between Rounds, Bollen, Benda, and quite possibly Daugaard.
Now we are in the cover up stage of the scandal, where actual charges come about, Perjury, obstruction of justice, conspiracy to obstruct justice, etc. More Watergate went to prison for those crimes than for that "two bit break-in" at the Watergate. Jackley and Tidemann are getting dangerously close to this position
The question will always be why Jackley didn't investigate and prosecute the charges laid out by Cory, Mercer, and others. John Mitchell, a former attorney general of the United States went to prison for his active role in a cover up.
And remember, it was a bi-partisan coalition that went to the White House the night before Nixon resigned to tell him no longer had support in either house of the legislature.
How would an ordinary citizen go about asking Sen. Tidemann at the hearing why he allowed Joop Bollen such leeway? Not to mention Rounds and Daugaard. What are the rules for speaking at hearings?
Jessie, I'm pretty sure you have to request to be placed on the agenda, and the Chairman has to allow it.
Rev - Waiting for after the election is for chumps. If this broke out two months ago, yeah, we can wait. This has been at full boil for nearly a year, and you know as well as I do that if they are allowed to drag this out beyond the election, they will be emboldened to do nothing forever.
How convenient for the Chair. I presume one would have to say why one wanted to speak.
OFF TOPIC: Anyone else here thinking about going to Rickstock East?
I felt bad as soon as I hit send. Don't want to hijack the thread. Going to bed now.
Tidemann won't even let the people that should testify on the agenda, he sure isn't going to allow a citizen.
A well organized protest the day of the hearing could work just as well
Cory if there was an award to give a blogger you'd be my nomination this year for your coverage of Bosworth and the EB-5 scandals. However, I'll give just one example of the partisan slime I'm referring to that is impossibly intertwined these next 50 days - using the name Marion Mike Rounds - it immediately triggers the thought.... Yep this is politics and so read the rest through that filter.
It's not impossible that Tike Mike comes in fourth.
Steve, I make no secret of the fact that I dislike Rounds and want to stop him from taking power again. But a wrongdoing child deserves to be called by his full name; I will give Rounds the same treatment before and after the election. Again, legislators who want to close their ears to the facts will always be able to invoke that partisan filter, so why not pursue the facts now?
If a skeezy dude runs by with a purse, and a Democrat yells, "Stop that thief!" are you going to process that call through a partisan filter, or are you going to take off after the dude?
This mess could have been turned over to an INDEPENDENT investigator a year or so earlier. Said investigator could have been given full subpoena power to collect all documents and compel all witnesses to testify,instead wingnuts deliberately chose to deny the citizens of South Dakota access to pertinent info. Wingnut attempts to investigate themselves are sophomoric at best and more likely criminal. Someone needs to tell you guys how to do your job. Your party can't seem to figure this out.
mike’s right. Except that Daugaard, Jackley and the kingpins in the Legislature and the S.D. Board of Regents had this figured out before Richard Benda’s mysterious and violent death.
The independent investigator should have been on the job after Jackley reported on his investigation to Daugaard and before Jackley ordered the warrant on three felony theft counts and a grand jury against one of the EB-5 principles. Jackley had to have seen everything that we’ve seen in drips and drabs in the last 11 months and more. If he actually did an investigation, how could he not have seen that there was plenty of “there” there to take bold action?
Instead, Jackley, Daugaard and the kingpins decided to lockdown and stonewall as a favor to their pal (and boss, Rounds hired Jackley and Daugaard) to sleaze his way through the 2014 election and buy the Senate seat currently held by a great and uncorrupted South Dakotan, Tim Johnson.
Instead of obstructing the truth, Larry Tidemann should be facilitating the work needing to be done by the legislature to get the truth by using their power to subpoena and pursue what really has been going on in the Rounds/Benda/Bollen/Regents EB-5 Scam. Because Tidemann decided to be part of the Scam, this is going to be a live grenade against Republicans going into 2016.
Instead Tidemann chose to be on the wrong side of history.
Cory is too kind when he calls Marion Michael Rounds by his calling Rounds' by his full name. He'd probably delete what I would call Marion Michael Rounds.
is wismer's strategy gonna be to pick off rounds, or ongoingly culpable daugarrd?
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