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Three Strikes: Rounds Still Dodges Fundamental Character Question

Taking lumps for the corruption he enabled in South Dakota's economic development program, Mike Rounds continues to doggedly avoid addressing any of the substantive charges of his unfitness for office. Here's his third ad in a row that mentions the EB-5 scandal but answers none of the questions:

I'll be happy to talk issues, Mike. You're still wrong:

  1. You have no credibility on fixing the "bureaucratic nightmare in Washington" or the budget. You expanded South Dakota state government, ran a structural deficit seven out of eight years, and left your successor with a 127-million-dollar hole in the state budget to fix with damaging budget cuts.
  2. You say repeal the Affordable Care Act, replace it, and fix Medicare. The Affordable Care Act is making Medicare stronger. Your opponent Rick Weiland's plan to allow younger, healthier folks to buy into Medicare would make Medicare even stronger. You throw all that out and replace it with... what, Paul Ryan's plan to voucherize Medicare?
  3. Keystone XL doesn't have to be built. Build it, and you ship valuable North American oil to China and jack up our prices. You won't free up rail cars for grain, because the Bakken boom is driving the rail traffic, and KXL will carry little if any Bakken oil. Why not block Keystone XL and advocate building more rail?
  4. You say we have to protect Second Amendment rights... but from what? More people have guns than ever. President Obama has had six years to come for our guns, and he hasn't done it. This isn't policy talk; this is boogeyman baloney.
  5. You want results, you want to work with Senator Thune—oh, yeah, with results like that, who needs inaction?

But here's the real problem, Mike: even if you were gleeking some good policies out through that forced smile, we still couldn't trust you to do them.

Let's look at one good idea you thought you had: Northern Beef Packers. The guy you put in charge of securing funding for that project, Joop Bollen, broke all sorts of state rules running the EB-5 program that kept that packing plant alive. He started breaking those rules in January 2008, if not earlier. Your administration knew about the rules he was breaking. Any one of his infractions was worth immediate suspension and termination.

But you kept paying him a state salary. You let him make money using state resources. You let him have two no-bid state contracts that set him up to pocket millions of dollars that could have been ours. You rewarded exactly the kind of corruption that South Dakotans count on their Congresspeople to catch and call out and stop.

This scandal raises the classic character question: do you have the character to be our Senator? Do you have the character to do what's right? Do you have the character to stand up to corruption, even when that corruption promotes a pet project that will boost your political fortunes?

The Northern Beef Packers/EB-5 scandal seems to say the answer is no. Even if this were "all they've got" (and don't kid Grampa Don—it's not), this question of character could be all we'd need to make the case that we cannot trust you to be our Senator.


  1. Rorschach 2014.09.20

    What's the second no-bid contact the Joopster got?

  2. Roger Cornelius 2014.09.20

    By all means Mike Rounds, let's talk issues, the issue of the day is EB-5, let's talk about it in a public forum and in debates.
    The walls are closing in Mike, your written answers or lack of them to GOAC on Sept. 24 will reveal to South Dakotans your true character. Your denials and your refusal to talk to the highest governing body in our state is another character flaw. This is the government you ruled for over for 8 years and who's laws you should live under just as the rest of us. Does that oath you took when you first sworn in as governor no longer apply?

    Senator Johnson has asked the GAO to review and possibly investigate EB-5, he didn't specifically say the Mike Rounds South Dakota EB-5 program, but we both know his intent.

    The Justice Department may or may not be investigating your scam, but we know they have at some point issued subpoenas for you and Daugaard. My bet is that there is an active investigation, what do you think Mike?

    If South Dakotans make a fatal mistake and sends you to the senate, are you prepared for the scrutiny by the Democrats and honorable members of your own party? You may not be fully aware of senate rules, but they have a thing there that you likely never heard of, the Senate Ethics Committee.
    And finally, if you think winning the election on Nov. 4 will vindicate you, think again. Just like that big stink you left in Pierre and Aberdeen, this stink will follow you into the senate chamber. There are those of that care about South Dakota and will ensure the Senate Ethics Committee knows about you and the criminal past you are trying to hide.

    You have been privileged by having the national media not being interested in what happens in South Dakota, as a senator the media attention will be intense.

    If Marion Michael Rounds loves South Dakota as he claims, if Rounds believes in the good old South Dakota common sense he boasts about, if Rounds wants the best for South Dakota, he should drop out of this race immediately.

  3. hmr59 2014.09.20

    Well said, Roger.

  4. 96 Tears 2014.09.20

    This is the beginning of the end of Mike's political career. Even his choices in ads agree.

  5. Roger Cornelius 2014.09.20

    Thank you hmr59.

    For those of us that are impatient with the progress of the Mike Rounds Scandal, sometimes it takes time.

    On Friday a federal grand jury handed up indictments against former Connecticut Republican Governor and Congressman John Rowlands. Rowlands resigned 10 years ago when caught up in a corruption scandal.
    He was indicted yesterday for his role in another scandal involving the 2010 and 2012 congressional election.

  6. Moses 2014.09.20

    His old buddy Dick thought this would be easy, and how about Tidemann not doing nothing and this guy represents Brookings unbeleiveable.

  7. lesliengland 2014.09.20

    he's ken's (thune) bigger brother and barbie (noem) is their little sister. cute family.

  8. lesliengland 2014.09.20

    they dont tell dad anything.

  9. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.09.20

    Rohr: two no-bid contracts: the first was the January 2008 "memorandum of understanding" that Joop signed on behalf of SDIBI with his own new company, SDRC Inc. Bollen and SDIBI didn't bid that contract out. The second no-bid contract was the December 22, 2009, golden parachute that Rounds's GOED issued to Joop the day after he quit SDIBI.

  10. Jane Smith 2014.09.21

    Special Note to Grandpa Don: the public is not the only victim of his flipping lies, he is lying to you too! Where does this guy get his snake oil?
    It's obvious Grandpa Don has the misfortune of this guy as his son. We want to respect our elderly. If Mike Rounds uses his father "Grandpa Don" to garner sympathy tickets, well, it only got Grandpa Don more antifanish for producing a dishonest, despicable, greedy, self serving audacious manipulator of a son. This ad is more salt to the insulted intelligent people of South Dakota.

  11. lesliengland 2014.09.21

    grudz-whaddayah think obama should do about the UN 2C limit, nix on KXL? gotta keep the 2000 bln tons of carbon from expanding to 3650 blln tons in our clear blue skys. right? thune and noem and rounds really dont get it do they.

  12. JeniW 2014.09.21

    What the Grandpa/Dad ad tells us is that even though Mike supposedly has million of dollars, he is unwilling to help Grandpa/Dad with his medical expenses.

  13. Jenny 2014.09.21

    Grandpa Don says "you better back off on attacking on my (Golden) Boy Mike or I'll strike you with my cane! That's my boy and I told him he could be Senator."
    Grampa Don and Mike are SDs Bush Senior and W.

  14. Jenny 2014.09.21

    Playing it safe, same old talking points. Does Golden Boy ever talk deep on any subject?

  15. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.09.21

    Dad: "Son, your mother says you took all the cookies."

    Son (wiping crumbs from mouth): "Sounds like negative campaigning. That's all Mom's got! Let's go work on the Harley!"

  16. barry freed 2014.09.21

    The worst part of this is Rounds, Daugarrd, et al do not believe in South Dakotans, in fact they have attacked them. If they had put these public monies and efforts into building businesses and helping workers already here instead of importing, our finances would be better.
    Meat packing plants already in operation getting those millions to expand would have generated more, permanent jobs and created jobs in the communities to service those new workers. Having many expanded meat lockers is safer than one big facility that can go under and decimate a community as did NBP.
    In the dairy industry, they tried to outlaw private sale of milk instead of trying to help those small producers expand or improve their operations. Obviously, this was done to ensure success of their new business partners from out of country.
    Maybe the Senate and Governorship candidates should focus on the lack of faith these men have in South Dakota people and small businesses who don't require bribes to be here.

  17. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.09.21

    Barry, you're right: that focus on a few big outsiders and cronies instead of many smaller local entrepreneurs is a serious policy failing of the Rounds Administration. Notice that his big idea for helping South Dakota farmers isn't to promote more local products and farmers markets. It isn't to support raw milk and other ways for farmers to make a living without tying themselves to Monsanto and the big commodity market. Rounds's solution is to let a big foreign company use eminent domain to take property rights from South Dakotans, build a giant pipeline that will benefit China, just for the false hope of freeing up rail cars for industrial-scale ag shipping.

    Barry, your thinking is also on the same wavelength as my entrepreneur friend Scott Meyer, who sees far better return on investment from small-scale economic development grants than big boondoggles like Northern Beef Packers.

  18. 96Tears 2014.09.21

    Grampa Don will be happy for Nov. 5. His son will stop using him as a dummy to explain the creepy things his boy did as Governor.

  19. Rorschach 2014.09.21

    The cookie jar analogy is perfect, Cory. But they're not going to work on the Harley. Cheap toys like Harleys are for chumps. They're going to go fly Mike's million dollar plane. The view from up high is better for locating more cookies.

    Thanks for clarifying the two no-bids.

  20. Rorschach 2014.09.21

    That's not even a real kitchen Rounds is standing in. It's a set with a white background and fake flowers outside the window.

    Say, How much did the Joopster pay Rounds after Rounds left office?

  21. Rogeer Cornelius 2014.09.21

    What did Grandpa know and when did he know it?

  22. Dave 2014.09.21

    It's time to subpoena Grandpa.

  23. Jane Smith 2014.09.21

    Mr. Mike Rounds, Why are you not angry about what Joopster and James Park did to your reputation?
    It is not a trick question.
    Did you know about Joop Bollen's two no bid contracts to himself? If you did not know, why not? It is not being asked based on partisanship. Here is a real issue for you, let's say Joop Bollen acted on his own, should you not be pissed as hell because he made you look like an incompetent leader?

  24. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.09.21

    Great link Mike. That's exactly opposite of the way MMR exploits his father.

    McConnell ought to be scared, although attacking grandparents is probably a poor campaign tactic. Grimes lets Gramma tell her story, no embellishments necessary.

  25. barry freed 2014.09.22

    The South Dakota State Government SOP hurts in ways that can't be seen. I, for instance, have for years enjoyed going to farm auctions and have a business plan to create a viable alternative to eBay. It would require more money than I have, but nothing compared to NBP. Ask the State Capital in California how much they like having those taxes generated by eBay inc. That's clean money; no pollution and few infrastructure costs.
    How much wealth from never realized start-ups is SD leaving on the table because of self-serving politicians?
    South Dakota is ripe with inventors and hard workers... an excellent environment for growing businesses.

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