Letter: EB-5 scandal no surprise

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Farm Forum

What a scandal when Fox News reports that South Dakota is the second-most corrupt state in the union when it comes to transparency in government.

In 1999 Gov. Mike Rounds was a corporate backer of commodity price reporting secrecy. SB 95 was led by farmers and ranchers from across the state, and simply gave producers of commodities current price market availability and would have curbed the hidden price contracts from independent producer’s thus stifling current marketing price discovery.

I worked with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development to secure a local multi-species livestock plant. Everything was a go until Rounds discharged this project and backed a meat marketer from Connecticut. This individual had an arrest warrant issued for him in the northeast which cost money from of our state’s treasury.

Rounds in 2004 took it upon himself to shake up the industry’s State Brand Board, established in the late 1800s and under the control and administration of South Dakota Stock Growers Association. The registered brand inspection and increase of inspection fees are now solely under the control of the state. As the late Johnny Smith said, “about 90 percent of us West River are Republicans, and here’s our own governor kicking us in the mouth.”

So now enter into the state’s scandal of EB-5 and beef plant in Aberdeen. The mysterious and untimely death of Richard Benda has everyone in Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s office scrambling for facts and misplaced documents which includes the unexplained state’s expenditure of $500,000. That started with Rounds’ lucrative no-bid government contracts to one employee to administer the EB-5 program.

Now we have candidates Rounds, Daugaard and other constitutional officials helping the state earn us the second-most corrupt state distinction. It is time for all to vote for some new faces and help defeat the Koch brothers who will be financing these campaigns to the fullest.

Robert Thullner

Herreid