In an astute comment under John Tsitrian's vigorous critique of Mike Rounds's buck-passing, Wayne Gilbert says that the GOP Senate candidate appears to view the GOAC investigation of the EB-5 scandal as a campaign opportunity rather a serious legislative matter with legal implications.
Gilbert is right: Rounds's formal response to the Legislature's inquiry reads as if it were written by his campaign manager, not by his lawyer. Rounds makes campaign promises. He recites his own campaign propaganda as fact. He bullies lawmakers, threatening them with defamation charges for having the temerity to ask him questions (and it's debatable whether such charges can even be brought). He accuses Democrats of concocting conspiracy theories. And in snark that exceeds sloppiness, Rounds consistently writes "democrats" with a small d.
Enter Jeff Barth to focus Rounds's legal attention. Yesterday the Minnehaha County Commissioner filed a petition asking the United States District Court of South Dakota to order Mike Rounds, Aberdeen lawyer Jeff Sveen, and former Board of Regents exec Tad Perry to "preserve evidence" related to South Dakota's EB-5 program.
For the first time in the EB-5 scandal, Rounds is being called to account in court. Rounds may think he can politicize the GOAC hearings, but he doesn't dare try politicizing a federal courtroom. Facing a federal judge, Rounds needs to get serious about the facts and law surrounding the abuses of power that occurred under his administration. (He can start by reading legal eagle Todd Epp, who brilliantly explains the legal details of Barth's petition.)