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RCJ Rejects Rounds on EB-5, Endorses Pressler

Don't tell me EB-5 doesn't have legs.

The Rapid City Journal joins the chorus saying Mike Rounds is not fit to be Senator. Unlike that Sioux Falls paper, the Rapid City Journal doesn't dance around the EB-5 scandal; it says EB-5 is the primary reason Mike Rounds fails the fundamental test of character:

The revelations over his handling of the EB-5 federal immigration/investment program — many uncovered by reporters from this and other South Dakota newspapers — show that either Rounds was incompetent or has been deceptive about what he knew about the problems plaguing the program.

Those problems include turning the program over to a former Rounds cabinet member, Richard Benda, who allegedly misused travel funds, may have misappropriated a half-million dollars, and eventually committed suicide when authorities closed in.

But moreover, Rounds filed false testimony to a legislative committee after claiming his office was never served with a lawsuit over the handling of program financing by another Rounds crony, the elusive Joop Bollen. Rounds corrected the record, but it is either incompetence or deception by Rounds when he still claims not to have been told of the lawsuit even though his own brother oversaw legal matters involving the state at the time [editorial board, "Journal Endorses Pressler for US Senate," Rapid City Journal, 2014.11.02].

Incompetent, deceptive—not fit to be Senator. That's Mike Rounds.

RCJ picks Pressler over Weiland and Howie, primarily on experience. Like the Sioux Falls paper, they have to make up excuses to avoid endorsing the eminently qualified Weiland, like saying that somehow his ability to be a "man of the people" would cause him to make bad choices on foreign policy (really, RCJ? I'd think a "man of the people" would be keenly interested in protecting the people from getting tangled up in unjust wars).

RCJ doesn't mention Rounds's lies about Weiland's support for Ellsworth Air Force Base. It doesn't mention any of the anti-regulatory smaller government folderol Rounds peddles. In endorsing Pressler, they focus on what an active government can do for South Dakota, like improving commercial air service.

South Dakota's two biggest newspapers just can't bring themselves to endorse a Democrat for Senator. But they far more strongly condemn Mike Rounds as a secretive, deceptive, and incompetent choice for Senate (which is what I've been telling you on the basis of EB-5 all along).


  1. Tim 2014.11.02

    RCJ is doing what I would expect them to do, because they can't endorse Rounds with a straight face, they are endorsing the other republican on the ticket. (Howie has never ran a competent campaign and wouldn't be considered.) There is no way in hell RCJ would ever endorse a democrat.

  2. Tim 2014.11.02

    One thing this endorsement will do, reinforce West River republicans belief that RCJ is a liberal rag. Hahahaha

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.02

    West River Republicans will believe what they want to believe. We are all lucky to have Pressler in the race, since, among other things, he offers a pressure valve to conservative papers like RCJ to say what they really think of Rounds.

    And notice this key difference in language: RCJ says of Weiland, "We hope Weiland stays in the political picture in South Dakota, and believe he can do good work to help make this a better state and nation." They want him to stay involved. They make no such statement about Rounds. They want him out. That's a pretty strong rejection... one I hope voters will take them up on.

  4. John Tsitrian 2014.11.02

    My only gripe about this editorial is that it credits newspaper reporters with uncovering much of the information about EB-5 and utterly ignores us carpal-tunneled wretches in the blogosphere, most egregiously a certain Cory Heidelberger, whose yeoman work on this merits not only recognition from the conventional media, but plaudits for having done so much of the heavy lifting that supported the stories reported by RCJ and others--and heavily copped by moi, I might add, lol.

  5. 96Tears 2014.11.02

    RCJ and Argus Sanford forgot where that federal money comes from and how dependent South Dakota's economy (and Rounds' racketeering pals) is on federal funds. Send three Tea Party-approved Republicans to Washington, they will join the wrecking crew to cut money that South Dakota needs. A balanced congressional team is clearly in the state's best interest if you want funding for South Dakota schools, agriculture, health care systems and senior citizens.

    Wake up Argus Sanford and RCJ. Wake up South Dakota voters.

  6. Bill Fleming 2014.11.02

    Have ANY newspapers in the state endorsed Mr. Rounds?

  7. Lynn 2014.11.02

    Has the Aberdeen American News, Huron, Yankton, Watertown or Mitchell Daily Republic endorsed a senate Candidate yet?

  8. Lynn 2014.11.02

    I'd really be curious about the Aberdeen paper since that city and region really took the hit during Rounds time in office.

  9. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.02

    The TV stations never cowboy up and do real politics, but former KELO anchor Steve Hemmingsen is endorsing Pressler:

    "This is Steven Hemmingsen.

    I brought you the news for more than 30 years.

    I have never endorsed a major political candidate before, but the time is at hand.

    And I back Independent Larry Pressler for US Senate.

    The gridlock in Washington has gone on long enough, and Larry Pressler, as an Independent US Senator, could be a major wedge in breaking that two-party logjam" [Steve Hemmingsen, quoted by Larry Pressler, Facebook post, Pressler for Senate, 2014.11.01].

    Doug Lund, how about it?

  10. bret clanton 2014.11.02

    Well said Mr. Tsitrian..............

  11. owen reitzel 2014.11.02

    I think the Mitchell paper will go toward Pressler, especially since the Argus has. Thie impression I got was that they did't care for Rounds, but just can't endorse Weiland. You have to remember that Forum out of North Dakota owns the MDR and the Forum is very conservative

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.02

    John, Bret, I tip my cap your direction.

    EB-5 is worth investigating not for political reasons, but to ensure that justice is done.

    That said, RCJ isn't just endorsing Pressler. They are also endorsing the work bloggers and journalists and other interested parties have been doing to get to the bottom of EB-5. RCJ also says that those of us who have put stock in the political power of the EB-5 issue are right. EB-5 has changed RCJ's mind; it can change voters' minds.

    And it should.

  13. Tim 2014.11.02

    I like to think SD voters are paying attention, but I'm not going to hold my breath waiting. Although I am voting for Rick, if the majority of voters are hell bent on voting republican, Pressler would be a better choice, and one I hope the die-hards look at before holding their noses and picking Rounds.

  14. Slynn 2014.11.02

    Posted earlier under Argus Leader item.
    Both SD newspapers have excoriated Rounds. I thank them for creating that opening. However, anyone who doesn't want Rounds to be the next US Senator from South Dakota cannot vote for Pressler. A vote for Pressler, at this point, is simply a vote for Rounds.* Rick can win if Democrats come home and vote for him.

    Bonus: it will be fun to see Harry Reid eat crow.

    *Pressler has fallen by as much as 20 points and what he has left is largely Democratic votes.

  15. David Newquist 2014.11.02

    In the 80's during the early years of web sites when we had only telephone connections, the Northwest Data included a journalism review for the upper midwest and west. It contained the assessments of journalists and academics involved in journalism. It rated the South Dakota press corps as the most feeble and incapable in the region. The reason was that South Dakota media hire cheap. A good portion of the working press had no journalistic training and those that did ranked low in their educations. The result was a corps that seldom reported on facts and churned out the pap that the media wanted to feed its audience.

    Not much has changed, and that is reflected in the bad writing and mindless repetition of trite slogans of the state's major newspapers.

  16. 96Tears 2014.11.02

    Cory, excellent point about RCJ's focus on the criminality of the Rounds Administration disqualifying him for any other elected office.

    The Argus Sanford has lacked any editorial credibility on the Rounds Racketeering Scam. Not one word in its editorials, where silly issues like painting snow plow blades seem to exhaust them and distract their ability to identify real issues. The Argus Sanford editorial board has acted completely tone deaf on the only issue that defines the 2014 election in South Dakota.

    It's obvious who bought them off. The question is how much did it cost?

  17. Roger Cornelius 2014.11.02

    Dissed or pissed, I'm guessing Rounds is a little of both since his ads have dominated the Journal for months now.

  18. rollin potter 2014.11.02


  19. Bill Fleming 2014.11.02

    ...anyone else noticing that PP at DWC doesn't seem to want to talk about this? He went postal on the Arg... uhhh... That One Paper... when they threw in for Larry, but what with RCJ's Pressler nod, and fact that NOBODY IN THE PRESS is endorsing his guy must have rendered him so apoplectic his fingers can't even move to type. Poor fella.

  20. Roger Cornelius 2014.11.02

    I just noticed PP's silence on the Journal too. He is probably too mad(ville) to write anything. He'll come with some feeble excuse later.
    It is encouraging to hear that the efforts of Rock the Vote and GOTV are having an impact on the reservations. Is it possible that little ole Shannon County (name change pending) can keep the senate in the hands of Democrats?

  21. Bill Fleming 2014.11.02

    Roger, absolutely!
    We'll call it the November Surprise!
    Happy Thanksgiving, Pilgrims!

  22. Shirley Schwab 2014.11.02

    I was just talking to someone who was at the 125th birthday celebration for our State yesterday in Pierre.

    From what I was told, former Governor Mike Rounds was the only living governor who was NOT present for the event.

    One would think this would have been a perfect opportunity for him to be present and campaign for Tuesday's election - right in his own home town.

    Perhaps the RCJ and Argus endorsements had a something to do with his absence.

  23. oldguy 2014.11.02

    CAH--I too would like to say Thank-You for job well done not only EB5 but Bosworth and all the other investigating you have done which in my mind was very partisan free. You might have put your left side interpretation on it (so what) but your work was right on.

  24. mike from iowa 2014.11.02

    Poor widdle establishment wingnuts think it is so much fun to take entitlements away from the poor and elderly and now,due to their own self-inflicted troubles,Rounds may have his entitled seat in the Senate taken away. Kismet is a b$#@^. ROTFLMAO!

  25. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.02

    Rollin, Oldguy, thank you!

    Tim, Slynn has a good point for anyone who does not trust Rounds to be Senator: voting for anyone but Weiland will make Rounds Senator. In this four-way race (and there's a separate blog post brewing here), math matters. Rounds has a built-in, rock-bottom base; so does Rick Weiland. Pressler has no such base. His poll numbers have dropped over the last month. Moving enough votes from the Rounds column to the Pressler column to give Pressler a win is likely impossible. Moving enough votes from the Rounds column to the Weiland column to switch the outcome is quite possible.

    If you want Rounds out of power, you vote for Weiland. It's that simple.

  26. Donald Pay 2014.11.02

    Well, let's be realistic. RCJ won't endorse someone that the business community and their dwindling subscribers would boycott them for. RCJ got in a heap of financial hurt when they went for Daschle one year. They are smart enough to know that the corporate minders would fire the lot of them if they ended up with a lot of subscribers dumping the paper. So, whatever their true feelings, Pressler is a safe endorsement. It's a way to stick it to Rounds and his corruption while endorsing a Republican.

    I'm afraid people with high hopes for Pressler will have them dashed if he happens to pull off a win. I hope I'm wrong, but I witnessed Pressler, after his initial years of being relatively moderate and honest, turning into just another career climbing liar. He says he's independent now, but he won't stay that way. If the Republicans take the Senate he'll be scrambling for a committee chairmanship, and he'll do what he has to do to get it. All that "independence" will "vanish in the haze," and you'll all be all be singing, "Help me if you can I'm feelin' down...."

  27. JeniW 2014.11.02

    Shirley, it could be that Rounds is able to take the voters in Pierre for granted, so it did not matter if he was there or not. He may figure that his family, probably many of his friends, and some of the members of the church that he attends will still vote for him. The population of Pierre is not that great to try to impress, so he decided to do some campaigning else where?

  28. Shirley Schwab 2014.11.02


    Perhaps however even former SD Governor Frank Farrar was present.

    This was a big event and under different circumstances I would think that former Governor Mike Rounds would have loved to be present for such an event.

    From what I was told, his absence was quite noticeable. He's a politician and what better place for him to smile and shake hands with a such a large number of fellow republicans.

    Not being endorsed by two of our states largest newspapers had to be an embarrassment for the former governor and senatorial candidate.

  29. mike from iowa 2014.11.02

    Izit Quismas? I know its been said many times,many ways,but, you're pretty darn good at what you do,fella. Now stop it or you'll have me in tears. :)

  30. JeniW 2014.11.02

    That could be Shirley. I think that perhaps Rounds confidence in taking SD voters for granted has been shaken up.

    He has found out too late that he, and his campaign manager, made some very serious mistakes, and there is not enough time to do damage control.

  31. John M. Nelson 2014.11.02

    South Dakota needs to have a run-off system for statewide elections. If Rounds is elected it will suck, but if elected with only a plurality it would really suck even more.

  32. Shirley Schwab 2014.11.02

    Another source (one of my many -:) told me just a few days ago the Aberdeen American News will not be endorsing anyone of the candidates in any of the races.

    In my many, many years of living in Aberdeen, I cannot recall that happening before.

    If true, that is really making an unspoken statement.

  33. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.02

    John, I'd totally support a run-off system. I'll talk to Senator Robin Page from District 33 about drafting such a bill.

    Shirley, did the AAN endorse Rounds for governor?

  34. Shirley Schwab 2014.11.02

    Cory - in answer to your question regarding the Aberdeen News endorsing Rounds for Governor? Yes they did.

    There was actually something in the Aberdeen News recently stating they would not be doing the endorsement thing this year.

    In light of Susan Wismer being from Britton, SD - this is really rather sad but not really that surprising. The AAN took the easy way out!!

  35. Francis Schaffer 2014.11.02

    My take is the papers know something is coming regarding Marion and this is their way to save 'face'. If this turns out to be true, the questions about who gave them the heads up will dominate cyber space.

  36. W R Old Guy 2014.11.02

    I'm guessing I'll see the protesters on Main Street in Front of the RCJ like I did a month or so ago. The protesters wanted all the "liberal" coverage dropped and give them "their paper" back. I assume they are not supporters of the Freedom of the Press.

  37. grudznick 2014.11.02

    grudznick endorses Mr. Pressler

  38. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.02

    WR Old Guy, for every one noisemaker you see on that corner trying to make the RCJ a "liberal rag" just by shouting that phrase, there are a hundred voters reading the paper at home thinking, "Jeez, maybe there really is something to this EB-5 stuff. Maybe we just can't take a chance on Rounds."

    Francis, I can't go that far. For now, I'll stick with the idea that the newspapers (RCJ far less cautiously than SF) are calling it the way they see it: Rounds is too secretive, deceptive, and corrupt to deserve our vote.

  39. Tim 2014.11.02

    Cory, I didn't mean that it would be good or desirable, just if they are going to vote republican no matter what, I would prefer they vote for Pressler, not the crook. If all democrats vote for Rick, we stand a good chance, but I fear all democrats won't be doing that.

  40. Tim 2014.11.02

    I may have to renew my subscription to RCJ, they actually showed some stones for a change.

  41. Lynn 2014.11.02

    Didn't Steve retire and now resides in Canby Minnesota?

  42. larry kurtz 2014.11.02

    Mike Rounds hoist on his own Big Government eb5 bendagate petard: priceless.

  43. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.02

    Tim, we may fear that not all Dems will vote for Rick, but we have a 36 hours to change that. Charge!

  44. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.02

    Lynn, yes, Hemmingsen is retired, and I'm pretty sure he's in Minnesota, though I'm not sure what town.

  45. Joe K 2014.11.03

    Most likely, Hemmingson is in Lake Hendricks... Not that it matters much.

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