Sunday, October 19, 2014

Please Mr. Postman, Look And See--Is There A Letter In Your Bag For Me?

     Apparently there is.  As a registered Republican I should be getting this missive from my party any day now.  Cory Heidelberger over at Madville Times just published it on his blog with a notation that it would be going out to all registered Pubs in SD.  Titled "The Bottom Line On EB-5," the dispatch aims to defend South Dakota's Republican-dominated officialdom from what it considers "politics-playing" Democrats who are "manufacturing a scandal about EB-5 through innuendo." Cory gives a good point-by-point refutation in his blog.  It might be easy enough to dismiss as politically motivated before you read it but will prove difficult to wave off if you take the time to go through even a few of the points covered.
     Way too long and detailed for coverage here, the dispatch nonetheless raises a couple of major points that we can discuss.  First off, there's the fatuous claim that this is all about politics. No doubt some serious political gain is accruing from all this to Democrats, who'd be crazy not to take advantage of it. But Dems didn't create this fiasco--it all happened when Republican senate candidate Mike Rounds was governor just a few years back.  And perhaps the most pointed critique and analysis of the whole mangled mess comes from the non-partisan, non-profit Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, D.C.  In another piece, CIS pegs the loss to South Dakota at $120 million.  I note that the author of the articles comments on the "cozy politics" of South Dakota and singles out retiring Democratic Senator Tim Johnson for not having said a thing about this. It seems pretty clear that from a non-partisan outsider's perspective, this is an equal-opportunity quagmire.  I'm a Republican myself and have been since I first registered in '68--and I'm as anxious to find out what happened as anybody else.
     That the SDGOP letter claims the investigations into the mess have been "vigorous" is actually laughable.  When the Republican-dominated state legislature's Government Operations and Audit Committee held what amounted to a kangaroo hearing on this thing last month, it didn't even seek to have Joop Bollen, the central figure in the fiasco, testify.  And candidate Rounds was allowed to respond to written questions with written answers, the substance of which he didn't get right and subsequently had to amend after a tipster called him out.The GOP calls this a "vigorous" investigation? Something carried out forcefully and energetically is "vigorous."  GOAC's limited, limp-wristed and superficial one-day pro-forma "investigation" was about as antithetical to "vigorous" as it could have been.  I'd say "feeble" is the more accurate description of it.
     Most absurd of the SDGOP's claims in this letter is that Republican leadership has been "forthright."  Good grief.  Does the fact that Mike Rounds has delivered mis-statement after mis-statement about his involvement in this financially catastrophic loss to the state come across as "forthrightness" to the letter's writers?  Rounds has tried to put it all on the Regents, claimed he never solicited investors, said he never got legal papers served on him, denied involvement in day-to-day acitivies--all proven by facts to be false.  
     Try as the party might, no mis-characterization of the GOP leadership's handling of this matter will make it go away.  Nor will its glibly oblivious attitude toward $120 million being lost to the State of South Dakota lessen the magnitude of the scandal that occurred during its watch.


  1. John,
    You don't suppose they applied the Hubble Rule to you for not openly supporting Mike Rounds candidacy?

  2. I didn't get one either John, although, I did get the funds solicitation as well as an average of three junk mail ads a day.

    As to Johnson, I am glad to see the writer to which you refer, calling him out. His everlasting legacy to our State will be the part that he played in the repeal of Glass Steagall. When it comes to shady financial matters he apparently couldn't care a whit.