Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike Rounds repeated in Thursday's SDPB candidates' debate that his EB-5 program brought over $600 million and over 5,000 jobs to South Dakota. Aberdeen attorney Rory King, who provided legal counsel to bankrupt EB-5 project Northern Beef Packers, says Rounds drew $400 million and created "directly or indirectly" over 8,000 jobs.
Journalist Bob Mercer questions all of these fat numbers being thrown around to distract from the malfeasance committed under Rounds's administration of EB-5. He reviews available data and concludes Rounds's and King's numbers are exaggerated at best:
There weren’t “over 5,000 jobs created.”
Instead, there might be just hundreds of new jobs, many of them in dairy operations in the I-29 corridor and at the casino complex in Deadwood.
And there might have been hundreds of jobs preserved — but that we really don’t know, at least not at this time [Bob Mercer, "Analysis: EB-5 Jobs Data Highly Elusive," Aberdeen American News, 2014.10.24].
Voters, Mercer comes to the same conclusion I came to last month from real South Dakota jobs data: there is no hard evidence to support the claims Mike Rounds is making about EB-5's economic benefits. In other words, voters, Rounds is telling you things that he can't prove are true.
Related Reading: Meanwhile, by Denise Ross's diligent calculation, Joop Bollen may have generated $13 million for himself in fees from running EB-5 through his private company while he was still on the state payroll and operating from a state-funded office in 2009. Stay tuned!