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Weiland a Threat to Reid’s EB-5 Favors?

I remain puzzled by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's persistent and petty denigration of Democrat Rick Weiland's U.S. Senate campaign.

In the crazy world of connection between everything, could it be that Harry Reid feels some strange kinship with Republican candidate Mike Rounds over his scandalous exploitation of the EB-5 visa investment program?

I cite Breitbart with caution, but here we go:

On December 16, 2013 Cause of Action submitted an ethics complaint charging that Reid inappropriately influenced then-U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas and another official for the approval of EB-5 visas for certain “favored investors” that had not been approved due to “suspicious financial activity.”

“Despite the fact that these applications were ineligible for appeal, Senator Reid's efforts to lobby USCIS resulted in the reconsideration and approval of these applications, as well as the subsequent securing of millions of dollars in foreign and domestic funds for the SLS Hotel & Casino and American Dream Fund EB-5 Regional Center—both of which are major contributors to the Democratic Party and its candidates,” the initial December complain letter read. “Even more troublesome is the fact that Senator Reid's son, Rory Reid, and his law firm, Lionel, Sawyer & Collins P.C., are legal counsel to the SLS Hotel & Casino” [Caroline May, "Senate Ethics Committee Conveniently Misplaces Reid Ethics Complaint," Breitbart, 2014.10.28].

I find almost no one but conservative media making a fuss over the Reid's EB-5 strong-arming. But maybe Weiland's promise to repeal the EB-5 program has stoked Senator Reid's fire against the South Dakota populist.

Rick, maybe it's time to retool one of those EB-5 ads to add a Harry Reid footnote.


  1. John Tsitrian 2014.11.01

    Occamizing it, I think your view is a stretch, Cory. Looks to me like this is just one of those mean intraparty squabbles that never get resolved, ala Abdnor/Janklow from way back when.

  2. Nicholas Weiland 2014.11.01

    John, do you not find it strange that EB-5 shows up in Reid's history? If he had done something wrong within the scope of EB5, like this

    Why would he support the guy that was inevitably going to bring it up as a campaign issue and obviously exploit it as the problem that we all know that it is? Not to mention the Dashle feud...

    EB-5 is toxic, we all know that, it has no oversight... Rounds has obviously corrupted South Dakota with it, and now Reid is getting caught with blood on his hands, seems like the same fight. Against Big Money special interest! (We got plenty of signals from the DSCC to tone down the Big Money talk.)

    EB-5 is not just a South Dakota problem, it is a big money Washington problem. And my dad is probably one of the first persons to come out so forcefully against it, at least on the national level. That is why Mayday came in and Every Voice Action. This is a fight against Rounds and against Reid, its a fight against crony capitalist and the money that funds them.

    Well that is exactly what my dad is against and my father, Rick Weiland will continue that fight, win or loose on Tuesday, you can count on it.

  3. mike from iowa 2014.11.01

    Certainly won't hurt my feelers if Reid is forced out. Frankly,there are far too many that have been there too damn long and need to go.

  4. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.11.01

    I know not a fan of Harry Reid either. I'd like to see a new Democratic senate leader. How about Chuck Schumer? There's a Democratic Democrat.

  5. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.11.01

    Wait! Better yet, no, Best yet - Elizabeth Warren!
    Senate Majority Leader Warren! Yeah!

  6. mike from iowa 2014.11.01

    I'd like to see Warren on the Scotus,but whitey wingnut would certainly filibuster her nomination because she would be considered too liberal. Not that ww needs a reason to filibuster Obama's nominees.

  7. leslie 2014.11.01

    nich-we appreciate your input and wish the very best for your dad and are absolutely getting the vote out for him in western sd.

    the reid thing is confusing, I don't know how much I trust the right leaning wash times and one of its two writers in the EB5/Reid article. we know reid plays hard ball politics on the highest level and trust he and Obama are working for the betterment of the nation as rick is.

    reid is the right's boogie man as Daschle once was, and of course the right's hate for Obama is legendary, but I wish we were rowing together better, on this to win for your dad.

  8. Winston 2014.11.01

    In an election season, where an Independent candidate has established relevance do to his message of ending gridlock and getting things done, there is nothing to be gained for a nominee of one of the two major parties who goes to war with his party leadership - except to help the Independent candidate in his message of bipartisanship in a world where politically things have obviously metastasized to a point where even parties no longer work - which was not suppose to be the outcome of this Weiland camp scorched earth strategy, but will be the only result if this issue gains any relevance in the waning hours of this campaign…. Another example of how Team Weiland is off message and void of a solid strategy.

    That said, I think Reid's distain for Weiland is quite simple. Sandlin fit into Reid's math as far as holding on to a Senate majority and Weiland, or for that matter a Brendan Johnson candidacy as well, were too risky and unattainable hopes in fitting into this political calculus….. So the next question is ….Was Pressler Reid's "Halo Mary?"…

  9. Roger Cornelius 2014.11.01

    EB-5 apparently isn't just a South Dakota problem, it is a national problem and Rick is right to want to eliminate it.
    The only problem I have with Cory's theory is that the reference comes from Breitbart who has a history of fraudulently distorting facts and posting fake documents.

  10. Roger Cornelius 2014.11.01

    Much better reference and a bit more accurate, thanks for the link.
    Every Republican that doesn't like Harry Reid should be voting for your Dad

  11. Nicholas Weiland 2014.11.01

    Roger I agree, hope they do! I think we will be surprised how many Republicans vote for him in the end.

  12. jerry 2014.11.01

    In the world of EB-5, if an under the radar ISIS crew wanted to come on in for a half million, Rounds and Reid would see no problem with that. There really is not much difference then between the two and both should not be considered for anything further. I do not trust that Schumer either, too close to Wall Street. Bernie Sanders would be one hell of a leader for sure.

  13. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.11.01

    Yeah, I like Bernie Sanders. What do you think of E Warren for leader? BTW, Sanders couldn't be majority leader unless independents took the majority, right? Or could a party pick an independent for their leader?

  14. jerry 2014.11.01

    Warren actually could and should be president in my book. I think she is head and shoulders above Hillary or any dwarf the republicans could run in 2016. She is indeed the real deal.

  15. Roger Cornelius 2014.11.01

    Warren is not running for president in 2016, she has repeatedly stated that, getting her to be majority leader seems iffy at best right now, we need to concentrate on getting Rick elected along with other Democrats to keep our majority.

  16. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.11.01

    Yep, Warren is a true McGovern/FDR/Wellstone Democrat. I like much about Hilary, but she is too eager to engage in wars.

    I have a sense that Rick Weiland is from the same school of politics.

  17. John Tsitrian 2014.11.02

    Nicholas, I don't find it strange that any political type has gotten mixed up in
    EB-5, and I think Rick is on the right track by trying to kill the program. However, the genesis of the feud going on between Reid and Daschle, with your dad as a pawn, doesn't seem to have had anything to do with EB-5. I think it's a strained effort at dot-connecting at this late stage of the drama.

  18. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.02

    But Winston, the whole "I wanted Stephanie!" hypothesis doesn't make practical sense. SHS didn't want to run. I don't think anyone would have been able to get her to run. If she had wanted to run, I don't think anyone would have stopped her. She'd have looked at Weiland's challenge, said "Bring it on!" and creamed him in the primary... if she had wanted to.

    That die was cast almost a year and a half ago. Why with the majority hanging in the balance would Reid still be moaning about what could have been instead of focusing on marshalling every advantage he has right now to keep the majority?

    What advantage does Reid gain by being a jerk to Weiland now? If he's really aching for Stephanie, he would do her more good by throwing in full tilt for Weiland, helping him win, and setting the stage for SHS to have a sitting Senator in 2016 who can help her win Thune's seat. He'd help put Weiland in a position to rebuild the South Dakota Democratic Party and lay groundwork for victories by SHS and all sorts of other South Dakota Democrats.

    If Reid really is that petty and short-sighted, then I'm totally on board with Warren for Majority Leader.

    But I have trouble believing a majority leader would be that stupid. That's why I'm open to considering additional motivations, like a possible EB-5 connection. I agree with John Tsitrian that it feels stretchy, but it's no more stretchy than the idea that Reid would endanger his majority just to blow raspberries at Weiland or Daschle or whoever he thinks kicked his dog.

    And for Pete's sake, everything else (NBP, Huron turkey, Hutterites, Jeff Sveen, Veblen dairies, Deadwood gambling...) seems to be connected to EB-5; why not the Reid-Weiland fracas?

  19. Jane 2014.11.02

    Ah, this is why Harry Reid sat on the SD EB-5 complaint that was submitted to him back 2007. These self serving politicians need to be audited, checked and balanced. This is why we need Weiland.

  20. 96Tears 2014.11.02

    Exactly, Cory. Stephanie was never serious about running, only on sitting on a decision that would never have put her on the ballot. Weiland did the right thing calling her bluff.

    Jane, that's precisely why Weiland's election is critical. Elect Pressler and you won't have a leader. You'll get an opportunist seeking direction.

  21. John Hess 2014.11.02

    Reid is probably just pragmatic. The state is too conservative to support a liberal. When the polls were tipping I thought I was wrong, but if EB5 can't take down Rounds then you know. If Weiland squeaks in he'll be too easily pushed out by a moderate Republican so he wasn't a good investment so to speak. Some things you just have to accept. This is South Dakota.

  22. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.02

    I understand pragmatism, John (even if I'm crappy at practicing it!). But pragmatism in the situation describe would say, "Don't spend money in South Dakota." It would not say, "Trash Weiland." Saying nice things about Weiland doesn't cost Reid a penny, does it? "We've had our differences, but Rick will make a great Senator"—why doesn't Reid say that?

  23. Slynn 2014.11.02

    Cory, I'm with you. Why would Reid trash Weiland? Reid had the opportunity to provide moral support and strategic support that would have cost nothing, e.g., databases. His actions appear ego-based.

    Stephanie told the Mitchell Daily Republic that Rick was not a factor in her decision--that she made her decision before he announced.

    Besides, are we South Dakotans okay with a candidate who would refuse to run if they had a primary challenger? Doesn't sound like democracy to me.

    If we ALL pull in for Rick now he can win. At this point, a vote for a Pressler is a vote for Rounds because Pressler is under 15 points. Rounds is counting on Pressler to peel off Democratic votes. Go Rick!

  24. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.02

    Slynn, if Reid thinks SHS would run just because he told her to or that she wouldn't just because Weiland waved her off, he gravely undervalues Stephanie's abilities and grit... which is all the more reason to tell Reid to jump in a lake.

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