Saturday, April 2, 2016

Hmm. Bollen's Lawyer Is Calling Him A "Scapegoat" And AG Jackley Wants To "Bring Back Integrity To State Government." Amazing Phraseology, Actually.

     Joop Bollen's lawyer Reed Rasmussen piped up with an interesting depiction of his client's legal problems yesterday.  You can get a recap of the situation in my prior post, which is about the
Attorney Rasmussen
Bollen Is A "Scapegoat"
(photo from
criminal charges filed a day ago against South Dakota's EB-5 maven Joop Bollen, who is accused of helping himself to money that the people of South Dakota had a claim on, to the tune of more than a million bucks. Said Rasmussen, the charges are "an apparent attempt to make Mr. Bollen a scapegoat for problems encountered with the EB-5 program."  This statement is so loaded with implications that it can't be dismissed as standard criminal defense attorney jargon. That word "scapegoat" needs some consideration.  By definition in context of current usage, a "scapegoat" is a person made to bear the blame for others or suffer in their place.  If Bollen is the scapegoat that his lawyer says he is, then the defense is taking the position that others are to blame for those EB-5 problems.  

     If I'm wrong I certainly invite Rasmussen to correct and clarify here. Not saying there was a conspiracy to divert millions of dollars that should have gone to the State of South Dakota to Bollen's company instead, just saying that this whole shebang reeks of incompetence and a culture of complacency that seems to have settled on the state government.  That a conspiracy may be buried in that morass of indifference would come as no surprise, especially now that Bollen's defensive posture is that of a scapegoat.  As this story evolves I expect Rasmussen to identify those who are scapegoating his client and shine some light on their involvement in this, even if their ineptitude doesn't sink to the level of criminal involvement.  If Bollen isn't to blame, who is, Mr. Rasmussen?
     As to the overall condition of gross laxity if not gross negligence in South Dakota state government, Attorney General Marty Jackley made a stunning statement, virtually simultaneously with Rassmussen's claim that others were scapegoating Bollen.  Jackley characterized this action against Bollen as "my desire to bring back integrity to state government, and that's part of what this process is."  Go to 19:30 of his radio interview yesterday and you can hear Jackley's remarks in full context.  Three years ago, during the early stages of the drama, Jackley's general position was that his office didn't find enough evidence to pursue further investigation, that
AG Jackley
"Bring Back Integrity"
(photo from
approach coming shortly after the suicide of a key participant in 2013.  The AG changed his mind in recent months as new information came to light.  

     Jackley's epiphany notwithstanding, his comment about bringing integrity back to Pierre stands out as the words of a crusader with truth, justice and the South Dakota way leading the charge. No question that the EB-5 fiasco and the Education Department's utterly bungled handling of federal "Gear-Up" funding have put SD government oversight in a bad light, but to go from there to making the sweeping claim about the lack of "integrity" in state government is quite the leap for a top elected official whose establishment credentials are self-evident.  It sounds to me like Jackley's well known interest in running for Governor may evolve into a campaign as a reformer. That would be most interesting indeed, considering that he'd be running against his own party's entrenched leadership.  "Bringing back integrity to state government" is a statement that has the makings of a platform.  If high-level scapegoaters are at the heart of the EB-5 disaster, they have good reason to keep their eyes on this Jackley fellow.  


  1. Right. Scapegoat. Mr Rasmussen's job is to see his client found 'not guilty'. Joop need not be found 'innocent' - that's the way it works. (See Simpson, OJ.)
    I believe this entire matter - and the GEAR-UP mess too - are more political than criminal. Criminal activity obviously occurred, but the political cronyism that enabled it and attempted to hide it after the fact are the root of it all and within our power in a democracy to remedy. We have an election in about 7 months.

    1. The political aspect that you bring up is what AG Jackley is referencing when he says he wants to "bring back integrity." We'll see about the seriousness of his intent to do so when he starts running in earnest for the governor's job and we can start pinning him down about specifics as to what he'll do to "bring back integrity."

  2. I still say that Mr. Bollen should avoid walking in corn fields alone. Mr. Jackley has an ominous tendency to blame the dead guy.

  3. "Three years ago, during the early stages of the drama, Jackley's general position was that his office didn't find enough evidence to pursue further investigation...."

    Three years ago his bosses ass was on the line. Now he sits in the Senate.