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Voter Challenges Al Novstrup to Live up to Open-Records Cred on EB-5

Hey, Burt Elliott! Pat Hale! You're paying attention to this letter to the editor in the Aberdeen paper, right?

Ed Fischbach of Mellette notes that Senator Al Novstrup (R-3/Aberdeen) was all about open records when the James River Water Development District stonewalled him. Fischbach thus finds it puzzling that Novstrup, who is now running for District 3 House, isn't fighting to open records in the EB-5 scandal:

Now there is an EB-5 scandal that is bigger than life in his own legislative district, and we don't hear a peep out of him. The EB-5 scandal has no-bid contracts, no open records, no accountability, pending lawsuits against the state involving upwards of $147 million, and he says nothing. The handling of EB-5 money in this state has everything that Sen. Novstrup complained about when he went after James River Water District and more, but this open government and open records legislator is now silent.

You won an award, Sen. Novstrup, so start demanding records and accountability from Mike Rounds, Dennis Daugaard and other state officials just like you did from James River Water District. Or, return your award [Ed Fischbach, letter to the editor, Abderdeen American News, 2014.09.21

Senator Novstrup hasn't been entirely silent on the EB-5 scandal. Last December, he agreed with the need to look into affairs in the Governor's Office of Economic Development, but he didn't sound terribly eager to do so, or to expand the scope of any investigation to look into local EB-5 failure Northern Beef Packers:

...[T]o Sen. Al Novstrup, R-Aberdeen, seeking a special session less than three weeks before the start of the regular session seems like a waste of money. If it’s needed, extra digging can be called for once the session begins in January.

One thing the state doesn’t have the authority to do is scour the finances of Northern Beef. It’s a private company, and even if there were fraud, the Legislature wouldn’t have that power, he said.

With EB-5 being a federal program, it seems appropriate that Johnson, a federal prosecutor, is looking into what happened, Al Novstrup said. But, he said, the Legislature can take a look at whether the state’s contract with the SDRC to do EB-5 work was properly followed. If it wasn’t, there might be penalties the state can impose, he said [Scott Waltman, "More Answers Wanted: Area Lawmakers Call for More Investigation of State Economic Development Efforts," Aberdeen American News, 2013.12.15].

Open-records crusader Novstrup certainly isn't among those calling now for Novstrup's neighbor Joop Bollen to testify under oath about his questionable profiteering as the state employee in charge of EB-5 from 2004 to 2009.

Elliott, Hale, Tornberg, Nelson, Page, Nordstrom, this is how you tune the EB-5 scandal to your local legislative races. Ask your Republican incumbents why they aren't fighting for more answers about a scandal that may have cost this state more than Mike Rounds's structural deficit. Ask your Republican incumbents why they aren't asking who knew what was happening in the Governor's Office of Economic Development and when they knew it. Don't let them hide behind their reheated stammerings of "But EB-5 is federal!" Legislators' willingness to investigate or ignore the apparent corruption in our state's economic development program raises a fundamental question of character that every candidate should answer this fall.


  1. 96Tears 2014.09.22

    This useless, priggish boor has been a festering barnacle in the legislature far, far too long. If we were to hold a Sen. Al Novstrop Retirement Party (12 years too late), the program would be brief (due to a lack of accomplishments) except for the guttural screed coming from The Senator, breaking his arm from patting himself on his back. I have no clue why anybody votes for Novstrup. When I talk with friends in his district (many are Republicans), I’ve never found anybody who admits to voting for Novstrup. People just shake their heads in disbelief.

    I’m very happy that Ed caught this two-faced blowhard in the act of being himself in relation to the Rounds racketeering scam. Novstrop is and always was part of the problem in Pierre where it’s all about getting nothing done, except for punishing enemies and rewarding cronies. I hope Al gets his just reward in 44 days. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

    And I hope the S.D. Newspaper Association will apologize for being such suck-ups. Their “efforts” for open records in South Dakota in recent years yielded less than table scraps, as evidenced by the stonewalling of records of the violent, mysterious death of Richard Benda and generally to any information that’s been purchased at a ridiculously high rate or FOIA’d to have a peek at the truth in South Dakota’s most corrupt administration.

  2. jerry 2014.09.22

    You cannot have a successful criminal enterprise without a majority being on board with it. Simple stuff, racketeering is only successful when their is full involvement in it to keep the cops away. As this dude is from Aberdeen, how good of a buddy is he to the robber baron, Joop Bollen? Maybe he rents a flat from the dude for little or nothing, what is his connection? Regarding the "newspapers", please man, all fluff and glow for the crime bosses. They do not want to get the cocktail tossed threw the window of their tabloids. The truth won't get you advertising.

  3. Jim 2014.09.22

    Before we have the open records discussion, how bout just getting the records?

  4. Lorri 2014.09.22

    Burt Elliott is my brother-in-law and has indicated that he and Pat Hale are indeed getting the word out in Dist. 3 (Aberdeen) about Al Novstrup. Burt and his wife, Elaine (my sister), both served with Daddy Al Novstrup and Baby Novstrup in the state Legislature and said they're both nuts, though Al seems to take the crown. They're pushing up there and hopefully it'll be enough to get rid of the Novstrup boys.

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