South Dakota Representative Trudging Ahead to Shed More Light on GOED
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again goes the saying. South Dakota Representative Kathy Tyler of Big Stone City did not capture enough signatures from her colleagues to induce a special legislative session to probe the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. However in the process, Tyler found some bi-partisan support to dig to the bottom of the EB-5 program and the factors that led to the bankruptcy of the Northern Beef Packers plant.
Monday will be the next milestone in the process as the State Legislature’s Executive Board will meet one more time prior to the session, which begins in January. Senator Ryan Maher of Isabel is the chairman of the Executive Board and Representative Lance Carson of Mitchell is the vice-chairman. The entire board membership is listed here. What the board does is manage issues for the legislature in the months outside of the regular session.
Tyler released the following statement leading up to the board meeting on Monday December 16:
“While I’m disappointed that two-thirds of the state legislators did not want a special session to follow the money associated with the EB-5 program, Northern Beef Packers, and the GOED, I am pleased at the amount of bipartisan support that there is for an investigation of the EB-5 program and the GOED.
“Many legislators told me they too want answers to the many questions raised about the EB-5 program but that a special session wasn’t the right venue, and I understand that. They pointed to an article by South Dakota government reporter Bob Mercer, which laid out how the state legislature’s executive board, which has subpoena and summons powers, can authorize an investigation.
“ I had, in fact, already followed Mr. Mercer’s advice. I asked to be placed on the agenda of the November 18th executive board meeting; however, the board rejected my request because of ongoing state investigations. With state investigations closed, we’re now left with more questions than answers.
“Because of continuing bipartisan support for an investigation of the South Dakota’s EB-5 program and its projects, I’m renewing my request for an independent forensic audit at the next executive board meeting on Monday, December 16.
“The more I research the issues and the more people I visit, the more I see the necessity of an independent forensic audit of the entire program and its projects. The $550,000 stolen from the state Future Funds program is just the tip of the iceberg; South Dakota citizens have lost millions of dollars and deserve to know where their money went. It’s our responsibility to find the answers; let’s get to the bottom of this once and for all.”