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Jackley: EB-5 Lawyers Got “Extreme” Profit, Jobs Alone Don’t Justify Visa

Now that the election is over and South Dakota Republicans have held their noses and pushed their flabby candidate into the U.S. Senate, can Republicans finally speak some truth about the EB-5 visa investment program? Attorney General Marty Jackley acknowledges some of the fundamental flaws in EB-5 as conducted under Senator-Elect Mike Rounds's gubernatorial guidance:

Jackley shares the arbitrator’s concern in the Darley case where the State of South Dakota was sued about who was really profiting from the program. It was lawyers, Jackley said, who “made an extreme profit off of this” [Todd Epp, "With Caveats, Jackley Says Troubled EB-5 Program Could Be Tool for South Dakota," Northern Plains News, 2014.11.14].

I wonder how attorneys Jeff Sveen and Tim Engel, who spent many hours negotiating the state's privatization of the EB-5 program, feel about the use of extreme here.

Jackley shows some hope for the Republican soul by questioning the economic-development-über-alles mindset that dominates the thinking of his up-ticket pals:

The Attorney General also says the country needs to look at whether green cards for investments that creates jobs is in the nation’s best interest.

“We’re going on a national debate right now on what’s right for immigration,” Jackley said. “And I think one of the concerns expressed is just because you are creating jobs doesn’t necessarily mean you ought to get that visa, so to speak” [Epp, 2014.11.14].

Dang: get Jackley to say that just one month earlier, and he'd have been committing high partisan treason by echoing Democrat Rick Weiland's criticism of EB-5 as bad policy.

Rounds, his EB-5 czar Joop Bollen, and their apologists have responded to almost every criticism of EB-5 by shouting Money and jobs! Money and jobs! Maybe I'm just dazzled by sunny Sunday optimism, but AG Jackley is signaling that he's tired of covering for other people's greed and would like to get back to concentrating on law and justice.


  1. larry kurtz 2014.11.16

    At least New Mexico's GOP governor has some balls.

  2. 96Tears 2014.11.16

    Watch Jackley thrash around, trying to pull his governor wings out of the Rounds sewer. Marty, when you haul manure for the state central committee and your buddies in Pierre, don't expect the smell to go away. Your role as the chief obstructionist is too well documented. Get on your knees and beg DD for a bench job. It worked for both of your predecessors.

  3. 90 schilling 2014.11.16

    There is a story about a donkey that fell into a well. The old farmer decides to fill the well with dirt most likely to put the old donkey out of misery. The donkey squealing with terror stated turning in circles trampling the dirt down until he stood on level ground. I'm not calling Marty Jackley an ass, but he is writing the playbook here.

  4. 90 schilling 2014.11.16

    Dusty, knew it was time to desert this sinking ship. It may not protect him from the oncoming depositions as DD circles the wagons with those closest to him.

  5. mike from iowa 2014.11.16

    From many articles I've read about EB-5 investors,the green card was all that mattered to them They knew in advance there was a good chance of no return on their investment. They wanted citizenship for their children.(especially wealthy Chinese wanted access to US schools)

  6. leslie 2014.11.16

    don't shift the blame to the fed program that produced hundreds of millions for your state, jackley, take responsibility for the mess your party made of it. neither rounds nor daugaard may deserve their seats. you are accountable to us.

  7. larry kurtz 2014.11.16

    Sveen is one of Jackley's biggest campaign donors: how is this news, Cory?

  8. Jana 2014.11.16

    Jackley is a political animal far before he is an AG.

    He had no revelation between the election and now, he just deliberately chose to withhold the truth...what a guy!

    Don't cut yourself shaving Marty.

  9. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.16

    Are you sure you're not thinking of Harvey Jewett, Larry? I'm seeing $16,000 for Daugaard from Jeff and Marcia Sveen in 2011 and 2012. I only see $200 from Sveen to Jackley's 2010 campaign (see pre-general report) and no Sveen cash this year.

  10. Disgusted Dakotan 2014.11.16

    What is surprising is how many people just don't get the Chinese issue. "Wealthy Chinese," in a Communist country, is an oxymoron. Those applying for the EB5 program do so as extensions of the Chinese government. There is a reason why this program has been cited as a major security problem for the USA as the Chinese government has been using it to exploit access to the US by their operatives.

    That is what makes the EB5 corruption all the more despicable, those involved sold access to our state and country to those who were looking to do our country harm.

    Hold Jackley accountable? He just got a get out of political trouble free card in this last election. One of the problems with a weak Democratic Party is Jackley's involvement and assistance to those involved went unspoken during this election.

  11. Roger Cornelius 2014.11.16

    I'll taken Jackley's comments about the faults with the EB-5 program as an admission to the corruption that exist.

    Why isn't Jackley holding the Mike Rounds line that EB-5 is a great job creator and the source of significant revenue for the state.

  12. Donald Pay 2014.11.16

    The depth of this scandal shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. I've seen this repeated every few years. "The way we do business in South Dakota" generates these sorts of criminal endeavors from time to time. When you don't regulate political behavior, you end up with corruption.

    It's basically organized crime that involves the dominant political party. Sure, lawyers are involved, and consultants, too. But the lawyers and consultants are always politically well-connected, which is why they get large fees. They can get Governors and or their economic development folks and key legislators pushing projects. The money gets circulated to the Republican Party or some Republican political PAC or individual candidates, generally after its laundered through some select business folks, who will also take a cut of whatever investment money is involved. It even involves academia from time to time, as in this instance.

    Back in the good old days (70s and 80s) the crookedness infected some parts of the Democratic Party, too, but that was solved by the Party falling so far out of relevancy. See, there are fewer people to pay off now, and less money required, if you just have a one party state. The Democrats made the mistake of supporting regulations, fair hearings, sunshine laws, etc., that are anathema to the crooks. So, they lost support.

    I was at a hearing once when Hunter Swanson of the SDDS Lonetree Dump scandal, offered the state Board of Minerals and Environment money to expedite their permit. That was a big no, no; not the money, but the fact that he said it in public. Rounds paid off these folks with about six million of your tax dollars, after their plans failed. Essentially they got you to pay the cost of the money they sunk into a crooked deal. The politicians, sleazy attorneys and high paid consultants (including Rounds' sister) got to keep their money.

  13. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.16

    Donald reminds why we Democrats have an obligation to win back power: we have to make it harder for the corrupt oligarchs to run the show.

  14. Dan Daily 2014.11.16

    EB-5 is disgusting. I've a feeling this matter is yet to be fully exposed. Our state is Oligarchy that's developing and transitioning into Cleptocracy.

  15. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.17

    Dan, I think Don would tell you we're already at kleptocracy. Joop Bollen got millions that should have been ours. Governor Rounds let him take that money and left us with a structural deficit. AG Jackley has obvious malfeasance staring him in the face, and he refuses to do anything about it. His words above acknowledge that something was wrong and that we ought to be doing something about it, but he can't bring himself to address the real malfeasance. The profits weren't just "extreme," Marty; they were illegal. Do your job!

  16. mike from iowa 2014.11.17

    So now we are back to the question-What does the AG's job entail. In SoDak apparently it is to protect criminals in high places while shifting blame to ones incapable of defending themselves,you know,dead Benda. A year ago Benda's ex-wife and daughter were allowed to keep ill gotten gains and told to keep their mouths shut. New year,new game. The state claims they want to retrieve ill gotten gains,but are going after the dead guy's ex and not the guy who has basically stolen tens of millions of state resources. That's a plan.

  17. tara volesky 2014.11.17

    The people have spoken. Marty Jackley won by 82% of the vote.

  18. leslie 2014.11.17

    blah blah jackley blah- two step- avoidance/ distraction. DO NOT LOOK AT WHAT ROUNDS/DAUGAARD DID WITH JOOP, BENDA, REGENTS. do not allow madville to keep these plates spinning. move on people. EB5-i blame obama!!!:)

  19. Susan 2014.11.17

    Yes, Marty. I wonder how many millions the Hanul Law Firm and James Park and Austin Kim made on this program, violating state law by practicing law in SD without a license?

  20. leslie 2014.11.22

    when did jackley or his predecessor know of the extreme profits. what other lawyers discussed this with their boss and how did they determine they had no ethical duties to inform or inquire?

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