One EB-5 investor could pay for a response two and a half times bigger....
Every Voice Action, a Washington D.C.-based super PAC formerly known as Public Action Campaign Fund, has launched a $200,000 ad campaign criticizing GOP Senate candidate Mike Rounds for corruption in his economic development program. I eagerly await the video, which is playing on KELO, KOTA, KDLT, and KTTW. The Pierre Capital Journal brings us the text; I annotate with my gauge of the accuracy of each shot:
- "It’s the Mike Rounds Citizenship-for-Sale Scheme." Error: The program sells EB-5 visas, green cards that make permanent residency possible, for $500,000 invested in a U.S. business project that produces at least 10 jobs. One does not get citizenship for investing in an EB-5 project.
- "It all started with an exclusive no-bid contract." ***CAH Correction! [21:56 CDT] Contextually incorrect, but factually true! The ad cites Ben Dunsmoor's August 18, 2014, report on the no-bid contract the Rounds Administration gave SDRC Inc. As I reported eight months earlier, that contract happened on December 22, 2009, well after the EB-5 scheme was already up and rolling and well after the director of that scheme had broken numerous laws and policies. However, the state issued another no-bid contract to SDRC Inc. at its inception almost two years earlier, on January 15, 2008. But we've only got 25 seconds of ad left! The point: Rounds Administration approved one no-bid contract, contractor broke all sorts of rules, Rounds Adminstration reward contractor with second no-bid contract.
- "Governor Mike Rounds gave his friend a no-bid contract to sell EB-5 green cards to the highest bidder." Closer: the only quibble here is that investors do not bid for EB-5 visas. In South Dakota, they all paid $500,000, plus tens of thousands of dollars in fees to Mike Rounds's friends.
- "Now, there’s half-million dollars unaccounted for…" Well, actually, we know where it went: Richard Benda's pocket.
- "...it’s under federal investigation..." True, says Senator Tidemann.
- "…and taxpayers are left with millions in EB-5 liability." True.
- "Mike Rounds. Rich foreigners get green cards. Cronies make a profit. And South Dakota … gets stuck with the bill.” True, although I get the impression South Dakota voters aren't moved by the rich foreigners line. Cronyism and money coming out of our pockets—now that will ring the bells.
That out-state players are willing to spend money on the EB-5 issue sends a grim signal for Republicans: beyond our borders, Mike Rounds is looking weak, and EB-5 looks like an issue that can whittle down his smaller-than-expected lead.
I just wish those out-state players would check with me first to vet their text and make sure they are focusing their precious 30 seconds most accurately.
Update 16:36 CDT: And here's the video: