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Democrat Lucas Defends Republican Tidemann’s GOAC Chairmanship

Among other things I discovered on my visit to Brookings this weekend was this letter to the editor in the September 27, 2014, Brookings Register, in which Rep. Mark Mickelson (R-13/Sioux Falls) and Sen. Larry Lucas (D-26/Pickstown) praise Senator Larry Tidemann (R-7/Brookings) for his "fair and non-partisan" chairmanship of the Government Operations and Audit Committee:

Letter to the editor, Brookings Register, 2014.09.27
Letter to the editor, Brookings Register, 2014.09.27

Contrary to recent Democrat [sic]* Party advertisements, Senator Tiedemann [sic]* has chaired the GOAC committee [sic]* in a fair and non-partisan manner and he should be commended for doing so [Rep. Mark Mickelson and Sen. Larry Lucas, letter to the editor, Brookings Register, 2014.09.27].

Rep. Mickelson and Sen. Lucas challenge an ad placed in the Brookings paper by the South Dakota Democratic Party criticizing Sen. Tidemann for refusing to subpoena EB-5 czar Joop Bollen and encouraging Brookings voters to ask their senator to work harder to get answers about the growing and costly EB-5 scandal.

Senator Lucas's participation in this letter provokes head-scratching. Senator Lucas submitted an important document and hefty folder of evidence to GOAC at its September 24 hearing laying out the known details of the EB-5 scheme and a number of questions that Chairman Lucas's refusal to subpoena Joop Bollen has left unanswered. Senator Tidemann's only defenses for his refusal have been the silly assertion that he's trying to avoid a media circus and the false assertion that Bollen's promised written answers will be as good as in-person testimony. (The Aberdeen American News says Mike Rounds's mulligan request shows that in-person testimony beats written answers.)

Yet Senator Lucas says the very stonewalling that his September 24 document tries ot overcome shows "fair and non-partisan" leadership.

I have no explanation for Senator Lucas's positioning here. Perhaps guys named Larry just have to stick together. But I am very curious to hear your explanations.

*Sic 'em, Fido!

  1. "Democrat Party" is an incorrect name for the Democratic Party, usually a pejorative shortening used by Republicans.
  2. The Senator spells his name Tidemann. The Democratic Party spelled it correctly in their ad.
  3. GOAC stands for Government Operations and Audit Committee. "GOAC committee" is redundant.


  1. Bob Klein 2014.10.05

    Interesting that the last word in a comment about grammaer appears misspelled.

  2. Bob Klein 2014.10.05

    And I see I found fingre trubble as well. "grammar."

  3. john tsitrian 2014.10.05

    Uh, Senator's Mickelson and Lucas, kin yu reed dis?

  4. Tim 2014.10.05

    Lol, John, that's funny. You can be fair and non-partisan while still not doing your job and stonewalling the facts. Is Lucas up for re election? Pandering to the right side of his district or maybe just another republican want to be?

  5. john tsitrian 2014.10.05

    Non-partisanship and ineptitude are not mutually exclusive, as you note, Tim. I'd say the copy editing at the Brookings Register also leaves something to be desired. Sad what's happened to print journalism since the internet-caused financial storm hobbled some of its basic functions.

  6. Tim 2014.10.05

    John, can't blame the internet for all of it, I cancelled the RCJ at my house because I got tired of pulling my papers out of mud puddles 15 feet away from my paper box, and a total lack of customer service. I will miss your articles and I have heard they actually just hired a real journalist.

  7. mike from iowa 2014.10.05

    In this case redudnant is appropriate. Lucas and Mickelson, Bollen took a flyer on testimony and then he took a flyer out of the country. When you tools say someone can mail it in,you don't F#@# around. Are you gonna send him a postage paid,self addressed envelope,too?

  8. john tsitrian 2014.10.05

    Assuming my once-monthly gig at RCJ has some staying power, I'll post my columns to my blog a day or so after they appear in the paper, Tim.

  9. 96Tears 2014.10.05

    Democrats in Pierre act like abused partners when they get around Republicans. Tidemann's manipulation of the GOAC is disgusting in any state of the nation. With friends like Democrat Sen. Lucas, Democrats don't need enemies to hold them back.

  10. Near sighted 2014.10.05

    Sen Lucas has a history of being blind to GOP misconduct. Remember the debacle of Republicans pulling the strings of the LRC supervisor? Lucas was blind to the facts and vouched for those who were abusing the system. Fast forward a couple years (after the spotlight is gone) and we have an impartial outside audit indicting the ineptitude of the LRC and the director resigning in disgrace.

    Tideman is providing cover for corruption and Lucas is either blind or naive.

  11. Lynn 2014.10.05

    What was Sen. Lucas's reason for not attending the 1st GOAC meeting where he could of 2nd Rep. Wismer's motion?

    Sen. Lucas seems like a great team player for the Republicans and that want to hide the truth.

  12. tara volesky 2014.10.05

    That's why the Democrats are whimps and the Republicans are bullies. Democrats had a perfect opportunity to expose the EB-5 scandal during the legislative session and they didn't do it. Why? The only one that made any noise was Kathy Tyler. She had little support except from Stace Nelson. Why aren't there any legislators from either party asking questions and calling for subpoenas. Why haven't they shown up for the GOAC meetings? Just curious.

  13. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.10.05

    Thanks, Bob! That's always the tiger waiting to turn and bite when we grab that tail. Fixed! (I ascribe no error to your opening comment: I assumed you were speaking of Gaelic grammaer. ;-) )

  14. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.10.05

    Tim, Senator Lucas is not running this year. Troy Heinert is running for the District 26 Senate seat.

  15. tara volesky 2014.10.05

    There needs to be a non-partisan committee which is not rigged. What a waste of time and taxpayers dollars. It's a, look at us, we will protect the taxpayers and find out what happened. Ha Ha. To obvious.

  16. Lynn 2014.10.05

    With Sen. Lucas not up for re-election this year there is time for the SDDP to recruit someone from his district to run against him in the primary if he has not switched to be a Republican. Thanks for stabbing us in the back!

  17. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.10.05

    Remember, Lynn, not up for re-election this year means he's out. Heinert will likely take his seat. Whether Lucas wants to run to return to Pierre in 2016 is an open question.

  18. Mary Perpich 2014.10.05


    Finally someone has joined me in pointing our that using Democrat instead of Democratic to describe the party and a candidate is pejorative. The Republicans began using it after Obama was elected and when they say it they almost snarl. Thanks.

  19. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.10.05

    Mary, you might have been the one to point out that distinction to me. It seems a reasonable distinction: Democrat is a noun; Democratic is an adjective. Since being put on that trail, I've read and heard enough to recognize the tone with which Republicans use the term.

  20. Jana 2014.10.05

    'Democrat' party? Seriously Larry? Seriously Mark?

    Larry you realize that Democrat part is an epithet...right? Mark, your father would never have written anything like that for public consumption...he had more class than that.

    Larry, we'll see you at the "Democratic" Forum put on by the Minnehaha Democratic Party and you can explain why you have chosen to use an eptithet most commonly used by Karl Rove and Sean Hannity.

    Stay classy boys.

    Oh yeah...Mark and Larry, might not be a bad idea to send a note of apology to your elementary school English teachers.

  21. Jana 2014.10.05


    All you guys at GOAC were doing is investigating "conflict of interest?"

    How dare you softsell this fraud as a simple "conflict of interest!"

    A man is dead and millions are missing and all you can say is "conflict of interest?" Were you there at the meeting? Did you read the questions and the answers?

    Who wrote this letter for you, Mike, Michael or Marion?

    Give our regards to Joop when you talk to him next.

  22. Troy Jones 2014.10.06

    Seriously, you think if a Republican says "Democrat Party" it is pejorative? I have seen "Democratics" use "Democrat Party," which to me makes sense: you belong to the party of Democrats so it is the "Democrat Party." If you want to instead describe (use an adjective) your party, I guess that is your prerogative. And, I apologize for sometimes messing up. No insult intended but my mind works such that a noun works makes more sense. I will do my best though.

    Regarding Lucas, I think he just is reacting to a lot of people who don't know "Tedeman" slurring his character. There are still old-timers who think it possible to disagree and yet hold respect and be respectful toward others.

  23. larry kurtz 2014.10.06

    Troy, the grammar cop, belongs to the Kleptublican Party.

  24. Bill Fleming 2014.10.06

    Troy, I think the story goes that guys like Priebus and Cheney sneer the last syllable of DemocRAT in such a way as to equate us to certain vermin. They could, of course still do that using the longer DemocRATic" form but it would lose a lot of its punch. :-)

    Beyond that, grammatically speaking, the equivalent would be for us to refer to your team as the Republic Party (using the noun form instead of the adjective). And if we wanted to be snarky we would pronounce it with a hard LICK at the end. But alas, LICKS are not as disgusting as RATS, so we are existentially at your mercy.

    Personally, I've never taken any great offense at the misuse. It kind of feels like unnecessary whining to me... something I generally associate with the far right side of your party. (No need to mention names, we all know who they are :-)

  25. jerry 2014.10.06

    Cory, you are educated and that is why you know the difference between a noun and and an adjective. Having said that, now you know the reason some republicans use the democrat thingy the way they do. They simply hate public education while yearning for the days of being educated meant you got that from your wealth or from being chosen by the Catholic Church. To read and speak correctly means you can see what an election is about. In the bubble world of boneheads you only really need to hear what is on Fox News to know how to do stuff while condemning the browns and the blacks of the world. I love to hear that "mistake" as it shows true ignorance of the mother tongue and why we need more money put into educating our people in how to communicate with one another.

  26. Jana 2014.10.06

    Good reading Troy, especially the part about:

    "The motive behind this language misuse? It is no different from the motive of the name-oriented word play on the playground, and it is no less childish."

    "At a time when the national Republicans are taking stock of the things that are sullying their “brand” with moderate voters who are tired of infantile political game-playing, I’d suggest they do some soul-searching about this silly little party custom."

  27. Troy 2014.10.06


    I guess I don't take too much offense when I see Dems (by shortening it, am I being pejorative?) use the term "Republican'ts." Play on words is part of the fun for both of us.

    In Sioux Falls, we see teams described as the Lincoln Patsies, Roosevelt Easy Riders, O'Gorman Nits, and my favorite Brandon Valley Missing Links.

  28. Larry Lucas 2014.10.06

    Larry Lucas says:
    OCTOBER 6, 2014 AT 9:01 AM
    In my opinion, Larry Tidemann has been fair as chairman of GOAC. He has allowed for Susan, me, and anyone else to ask all the questions we wanted. He has allowed for public testimony on EB-5, but essentially the only person to testify has been a Brown County Commissioner, who I contacted to testify. I do not believe negative attacks work for Democrats in South Dakota. Two years ago Democratic candidates had to retract negative comments made on postcards. At the September 24 GOAC Meeting, Susan and I had to let the Committee reword negative attack questions sent by the Democrats because they were condemning to some individuals. As a Democrat, I support our system of innocent until proven guilty. As a member of the GOAC and Legislative Executive Board Committees, I will work to find the answers regarding the lack of oversight among state officials with the EB-5 program. I have moved into another legislative district and have no plans to run for the legislature. I have ran 9 times and served 18 years and will now work to support our Democratic candidates.

  29. Troy 2014.10.06


    Question: Did your decision to make it clear Tidemann has been fair have anything to do with the postcard? If so, was part of your reaction because the postcard urged calling Tidemann's home phone number? There used to be campaign tactics that were across the line including violating home space. Just curious. Thanks.

  30. Troy 2014.10.06


    In the letter, they didn't use "RATS" as referenced by Bill. Lucas is a signatory and as good a Democrat as there has been for a long time. The assertion this is an intentional insult is crazy.

    For the record, if I write out Democratic Party, I'll try to remember the "ic" but know sometimes "i don't c" and will inadvertently forget. I apologize in advance. Instead I'll just do SDDP or DP to insure that I don't mess up. Hard to always worry about people's hypersensitivity.

  31. Jana 2014.10.06

    Larry, could you address how in your letter you felt that this was merely a "conflict of interest" investigation? Now you are saying that it is about lack of government oversight?

    Oh, and just for fun throw in a little explanation on the childish use of "Democrat Party" in your letter.

  32. lesliengland 2014.10.06

    Larry, in comparison to legislative committee investigation of Chris Christie's "bridge-gate", it seems clear your committee could have researched and compelled procedural tools to get the truth like subpoenas and testimony under oath at a formal hearing. You allowed Tidemann and his SDGOP advisors, lawyers and politicians to shut down meaningful investigation and throw the bone of "written questions" Rounds, Daugaard and Bollen had the freedom to craft their own self serving answers and non-answers, delaying any conclusions until after the election. This, together with the Lucas letter constitute a complete fail in protecting the public from SDGOP abuse of power.

  33. lesliengland 2014.10.06

    hi troy. "hypersensitivity?" so its not your fault, or lucus' fault, but the recipient of the insult? I apoligize in advance for calling you a repub.

  34. Troy 2014.10.06


    I've been involved in politics for 40 years, since I was a teen. This is the first time I've ever been made aware that Democrat Party and Democratic Party were not synonymous. I don't think I've ever said Democratic Party, my use of Democrat Party was never intended as an insult, I've never been corrected by a Democrat by my "improper usage," I've heard Democrats use the term, my ear has never "heard" anything distinct between "Democratic" and "Democrat," and I've never been impressed by people who emphasized the "rat" just as I've never been impressed by people who said "republicants."

    I will do my best to say Democratic but habits are hard to change. I intend no insult and hope you will take no offense. I don't care if you shorten it to being "repub" and will assume no offense is intended so no apology is necessary.

    There are people who say "Roman Catholic Church" with the intent to insult by inferring Roman is related to the pagans of the Roman Empire and their are people who say "Roman Catholic Church" with an intent to be respectful by saying a formal name, and there are those who say "Roman Catholic Church when they are directly referencing those who worship under the Latin Rite vs. the other 23 different rites united to the Holy See). Personally, I'm not hyper-sensitive and presume it is not intended to be an insult.

    Again, I'll try to say Democratic Party and when I don't, there is no insult intended.

  35. Larry Lucas 2014.10.06

    In order for the GOAC Committee to issue any subpoenas Representative Wismer and I need four of the 8 Republicans on the Committee to vote with us. If would be much appreciated if any of the critics here could help. The report I issued to the Committee (with outside help) is the investigatory work that the GOAC should have done. The lack of oversight by some policy makers allowed for the conflict of interest with EB-5 to happen. There will be legislation and new policies put in place to address government conflict of interests. The voters need to choose who will be doing the oversight. It is our job to work for the candidates who will improve government oversight regarding individuals having and abusing a conflict of interest.

  36. Bob Klein 2014.10.06

    I believe Mary is incorrect regarding the beginning of the usage of the term "Democrat" used as an adjective. I believe it older than either of us.

  37. judy judy 2014.10.07

    Jana, The Democratic Forum is not sponsored by the Minnehaha County Democratic Party. It has no official connection to either the County or State Democratic Party.

    All, The use of Democrat vs. Democratic is more than incorrect and an attempt to express contempt for the Party and its members. It has been shown that voters are more likely to react positively to the word Democratic vs Democrat and those identified as such. The difference is "material" and the use of Democrat is an attempt by partisan Republicans to construct an electoral advantage.

    Finally, Larry Lucas and the Democratic Legislative Caucuses have been abused by the Republicans in Pierre so long that they suffer from "Stockholm Syndrome" where hostages begin to identify and seek to please their captors. (Think Patty Hearst). Larry and Susan Wismer could have moved to subpoena Joop and Sveen and a number of other people. They would have lost as Larry points out but they also could have made a big scene about it and demonstrated to the public the stonewalling Republicans are using to hide the truth about the corruption which is routinely practiced in Pierre. Instead, they chose not to anger their captors.

    The Republicans in Pierre are corrupt and shame on the Republican Party's State-wide leaders for being so blinded by partisanship and their own ambition that they choose to hide it and those who participate in it.

  38. lesliengland 2014.10.07

    jj, sounds right to me. thx

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