Entries Tagged 'SD Attorney General' ↓

SD Dems have finally awaken from their deep sleep on the EB-5 Investigation

Wondering when they were going to get off the facebooks and twitters and say something about this;

SIOUX FALLS, SD - South Dakota Democrats are calling on Attorney General Marty Jackley to recuse himself from the state investigation into the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

Last month, Governor Dennis Daugaard confirmed a state and federal investigation into alleged financial misconduct was underway in the office. Daugaard said the allegations took place prior to his administration.

South Dakota Democrats say Jackley, who was appointed by former Governor Mike Rounds, has a conflict of interest and can not conduct a ‘real investigation’ into that administration.

Jackley says because the alleged financial misconduct did not relate to the Attorney General’s Office there is no direct or indirect conflict. He also adds that the allegations do not relate to Rounds, so there is no conflict there either.

Jackley says the federal government has jurisdiction over the EB-5 immigration program that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office has said is the target of an FBI investigation.

Kind of reminds me of when Jackboots investigated the BK brothers in the SOS’s office for a crime he knew they would be innocent of, stealing from the state. Heck, a three-legged Corgi dog could have told you they weren’t stealing anything.

Even if Jackboots doesn’t think he has a conflict on the economic portion of the investigation, he certainly shouldn’t be looking into Benda’s death. BTW, how is that going . . .

Larry Long’s promotion

We’ve noticed this job advancement on David Montgomery’s blog:

Judge Long moves up

Former South Dakota Attorney General Larry Long, currently a South Dakota judge, is moving up a step to be the presiding judge for Minnehaha and Lincoln counties.

It reminds us of something we have been wondering about. When Larry Long was running for re-election to the SD Attorney General position in 2006 he received a very large contribution from a curious contributor (page 7 of PDF) Republican State Leadership Committee 2006 Oct 31 2006 3177 Larry Long.

Why would the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) give $25,000.00 to an already sitting SD Attorney General who could have been elected without it even dressed in a clown suit.

South Dacola highlighted the slimy Koch Brothers, John Birch Society, ALEC based RSLC recently and their money giving ways.  We know he accumulated thousands of dollars from other ALEC PACs to run for office so why the RLSC donation?

This is also the same AG Larry Long who ‘returned’ $1,950.00 to Sioux Falls used car salesman Dan Nelson in 2005, about the same time he offered his positive opinion of Nelson’s business operations.

In 2009 as a term limited AG and Republican, he curiously left / resigned the AG office to accept an appointment by Gov. Mike Rounds to a judgeship in the state’s Second Judicial District.  We now have Marty Jackley as our AG.

Most of us don’t usually worry about such mundane positions as Presiding Judge. This little job decides which Judge gets to preside or be your Judge, if you go to state circuit court for any reason.  If a local citizen or group of citizens do not like an action the city, county or state undertakes, we citizens can take them to court.  If we are harmed by a corporation or neighbor, we have the right to have our gripe heard in open court.  It is the Presiding Judge who determines which circuit courtroom / judge hears – decides the case.

Now he is being appointed to be ‘presiding’ judge for the state’s busiest circuit.

Food for thought.

 

Open Government in SD? LOL! (Guest Poster)

Just got done rereading Randall Beck’s open government committee article under Ellis’ byline in the Argue Endorser and it made me chuckle. We at South Dacola have been real interested in the open.sd.gov website lately. Who wrote this? Under whose guidance? With the results we see, why bother? It kind of reminds us of putting lipstick on a pig.

Was it worth it?

The reporting / contracting agency is responsible for up-loading their contracts and expenditures when and if they want to.  Just go look for a company, law firm, or medical firm you know is doing business with the state.

Try to find the contract and the terms.

How do these outfits get paid? And how many of these companies (individual owners) are donating to the same old yahoos getting elected to run our state every year?

Look for contracts – payments the Attorney General, the Secretary of State, Governor or any other office out of Pierre. You will be hard pressed to find anything out there.  So much for the phoniness of ‘open’ SD government.  With all the legislative hearings without contract questions, no-bid contracts, hidden contracts, Governor’s club arrangements and other special deals reported out of Pierre we at South Dacola want to be able to trust something out of Pierre. But you know what they say, “You can only get the shit so shiny when you polish a turd (Pierre).”

Is the SD Republican Party protecting Gant because he is an ‘investment’

Is Gant competent or just another ‘TOOL’?

First an overview of some organizations that are behind some this;

YOU MAY HAVE HEARD ABOUT the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which helps Republicans draft bills in statehouses. (We reported on the group last month.) But you’ve probably not heard of the Republican State Leadership Committee, which gets them elected in the first place.

Able to raise unlimited funds, the Republican State Leadership Committee is a stalking horse for corporate America. Top contributors to the group include Altria (formerly Philip Morris), Anheuser-Busch, Citigroup, Comcast Cable, Exxon Mobil, Home Depot, Monsanto, PhRMA, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Verizon, and WellPoint.

Guest Poster contributed to this;

There was an organization formed to takeover state legislatures starting in 2002. The group managers make their organization look like they are loosely banded together citizens with a simple public mission to be conservative.  The mission is to make all US state legislatures their version of conservative. Their version of conservatism is based in pre 1965 southern white state’s rights principles, where only certain land owners should be able to vote.  As these managers continue to assume more power they want someone to make their actions appear legal…  I am sorry, they not only want they MUST have someone to make the actions legal.  What group am I talking about?  A little known group based out of Virginia, the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC). (mentioned above).

Why does this affect us in South Dakota?  Why do I bring this up and why should you care?  In the 2010 Pre-General Election Financial Reports available on the Secretary of State’s website, we find the RSLC has given two of our senior elected officials in South Dakota $25,000.00 each for their 2010 campaigns.  These organizations do not give this kind of money out of the goodness of the heart.  They expect something in return.  In a small state like South Dakota, $50,000.00 can make a difference. Who are our owned or rented officials?  Well SOS Jason Gant and Attorney General Marty Jackley.

COMPLETE DOCUMENT: Jackley 2010 Campaign Report

You remember them, Gant of the shoddy SOS office and his legal savior when questions arose recently.  You might also remember the legal eagle AG decision made within hours of being given instructions on how to investigate potential computer / business / public ethics issues.

Is the SD Republican Party protecting Gant because he is an ‘investment’?

Click on image to enlarge. See more here.

Again, why should we care?  The RSLC wants our SOS office to control all our voters and local elections from Pierre.  This group is part of ALEC.  The mission of RSLC is to elect future members for ALEC.  We currently have several dozen GOP members of our legislature who are subsidized by ALEC. They will be pushing for more Real ID laws, use of unverifiable voting equipment, rules to block citizens from voting and limitations on the citizens right to redress their grievances before their elected officials.  Once you know what ALEC is, you see how bad both RSLC and ALEC are for South Dakota.

So how does this work with ALEC, RSLC, Gant and Jackley?  RSLC finances campaigns of ambitious politicians, usually people with no principles.  ALEC needs their legislation passed in Pierre, RSLC backed officeholders write SOS rules.  These new laws and rules are implemented by SOS offices and the Attorney General is necessary to defend the actions in court plus write ballot explanations to confuse.

After the recent Attorney General’s financial “question not asked” opinion I had to look harder at the data we have available to find reasons for the strange official responses received and NOT received.  There are more figures which do not add up and puzzle pieces still falling into place. There will be more to come in this matter.

I originally started to look into this trying to answer the questions:

“Is the AG and the SD Republican party protecting Gant because he was such a huge investment in the 2010 campaign cycle and still owes a good chunk of change?”

“Did the SD Republican party give Gant such a large donation because they had confidence that he was qualified to be SOS?”

“or… or he could be easily manipulated by the party and his benefactors to do their dirty work?”

His repeated incompetence certainly shows he is not qualified for the job, so one would assume the SD Republican party was looking for a ‘tool’.  Is Jackley there to keep him “legal”?

Justice as Retaliation; The Mette Case

This is an amazing report by the Lakota People’s Law Project about how the State of South Dakota is Attempting to Punish Lakota Child Welfare Advocates and Protect Child Abusers. You can read the entire story; Final Mette Case Special Report

On May 1st, The Aberdeen News of South Dakota reported that former South Dakota state attorney Brandon Taliaferro and court appointed child advocate Shirley Schwab were being charged by South Dakota State Attorney General Martin Jackley with witness tampering and subornation of perjury. Attorney General Jackley filed these charges in relation to the separate criminal prosecution of Aberdeen-based foster parents Richard and Gwendolyn Mette. Mr. Taliaferro is a well-known South Dakota Indian child advocate and, as a former Assistant State Attorney, he was in charge of prosecuting child abuse cases in Brown County. Mrs. Schwab is the widely respected court-appointed child advocate for Brown County. Richard Mette had been charged in 2011 by Mr. Taliaferro with a total of 23 felony counts of aggravated rape of a child and aggravated incest against two of four young Native American sisters who had been placed in his and his wife Gwendolyn Mette’s custody by the Department of Social Services (D.S.S.) over the protests of the children’s Lakota family. Gwendolyn Mette had been charged with 11 felony charges of aiding and abetting his crimes, and with neglect of the children.

 

Stan Adelstein asks the AG to remove Pat Powers from his state employment

As you may or may not know, South DaCola broke the story on Pat Powers involvement with a consulting business while serving as the SOS’s Chief of Operations. Stan left these comments today on my site;

I hate even the whiff of “Chicago Politics.” When I saw the website for Powers, and for that matter Gant – I wondered who would not purchase their campaign stuff from the office that had final say in a close race, who had final say for campaigns, or campaign committees of their expenditures, disclaimers, filing data, reporting, etc, etc. On top of that the Secy’s office has final say in close races, and between candidates on close issues. Why was this Secretary the first one to endorse the power of Speaker of the State house over an excellent seated REPUBLICAN state senator?

 

Thanks everyone on this blog site. I agree, and as to Testor 15, I have asked the Attorney General to give us all those “invesigators” that you asked for. That is the advantage of being elected by people – who even when the disagree with me – think I care about the system that I love and gave me everything that I cherish. (despite Power’s comments about my social position, supposed wealth, more than one home — and unlike rest of SD, my religious faith)

And Testor 15 — finally getting the media attention — due to this letter to our Straight Arrow Attorney General:

Dear Attorney General Jackley

I request that you investigate the office of South Dakota Secretary of State. I am concerned about allegations of impropriety, conflict of interest, and possible illegal activity.

A political commercial enterprise “Dakota Campaign Store” solicits political consulting, and sale of campaign material. It appears that it may actually be operating out of the Secretary’s office – by Mr Pat Powers, who is an apparent full time employee of that office, and has primary responsibility, in that office, for some of the same IT services that he is advertising.

Does “DakotaCampaignStore.com,” use political filings from candidates to solicit business? It is obvious that Mr. Powers is the first to see any such filing – and with the new “assistance” program offered by his office has access to private information, not available to his competition.

I am concerned about the endorsement in a primary election, of the incumbent Speaker of the House of Representatives. Does that endorsement arise out of any financial arrangements with this “consulting”service? Were any of the campaign material used in that primary race purchased through or by that enterprise?

Does the Secretary himself directly or indirectly participate in earnings of this political operation? By indirectly, I mean discounts for material, utilization of services pro bono, etc.

Has the Secretary purchased, even at market value, campaign material from that enterprise for his re-election campaign, or made use of mailing lists, etc?

Has any of the business of this commercial service utilized State computers, office space, lists, office supplies, etc. in the conduct of it’s affairs.

Time may be of the essence! I went online at 12:40 mountain time, June 15 and perused in detail Mr Powers advertising on DakotaCampaignStore.com. Shortly thereafter I expressed my concern to most of my Senate Colleagues. Since my posting to them, that website has been taken down! Mr Powers, among other things, is well known as a computer Guru – and I fear that evidence of wrongdoing could be erased, revised or otherwise distorted.

If you establish apparent impropriety or misbehavior, I am also asking for your advice with regards two sections of Article XVI of the SD Constitution. Is it possible that Section 3 – “impeachment” – is something I should be seeking as a Senator or possible (and to my Engineers mind) more likely Section 4, “Removal from Office.” My education and background makes the distinction between the offences listed in each somewhat unclear.

Stanford M Adelstein State Senator, District 32

Some are crying sour grapes, ‘Troy’ who I would assume is ‘Troy Jones, a frequent contributor to Pat’s former site Dakota War College made this comment on Madville Times;

I agree Doug. In the end, this is just a personal vendetta against Pat as we all know there is no love lost between Stan and Pat.

Another commenter ‘Jane’ disagrees, and rightfully so;

Troy, I’m sure that the “Powers” that be want this to be dismissed as a personal issue between two feuding politicians. But that misses the entire point.

There are clearly two sets of rules, ethics, and professionalism in the Office of the Secretary of State. One for the favorites and one for the rest. Gant, Powers, Gosch, et al are all caught in the same web of sloppy, partisan arrogance.

One wonders if the AG and Judge Barnett might be caught in the partisan web as well.

The State Board of Elections might have a different view of the level of hackery taking place at the SOS’s office. That will be interesting to watch.

As I told someone today, ‘Would this have happened under Chris Nelson’s watch?’ Probably not. While I have my reservations about Nelson, I don’t think Nelson bungled as much as Gant has. It seems anytime Gant has to do something important (like running elections properly) he screws up. Could this be Gant or his staff.

There seems to be this attitude by some politicians in Pierre that once they get elected they can do what they want and they can ignore the public’s wishes and the rules. Sorry, but this South Dakotan as many others are fed up with this attitude. This is a democracy, elections should be fair and unencumbered.

 

 

 

Now that Republicans in SD have ransacked public education funding on all levels, what’s next?

The Repugs managed to succeed at all levels, governor’s office, the legislature and now our courts;

In upholding the constitutionality of the state’s school funding system, a unanimous South Dakota Supreme Court said Thursday it isn’t convinced that the money appropriated for schools is inadequate or that more money would produce higher test scores and graduation rates.

Of course, this ruling has to do with timing, they were ruling on the funding setup before the state cut education by 6.6%. Of course our governor is in a state of denial when it comes to funding education;

“I am pleased with this opinion because the appropriate place to determine school funding is the Legislature, not the courts,” Gov. Dennis Daugaard said in a written statement. “I believe we should focus on student achievement, not spending, as the best measure of educational success. That approach is very consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision.”

Yeah, let’s keep cutting education and watch those test scores soar . . . .

Abdallah thinks he’d succeed with that argument today. The Legislature balanced its budgets by freezing per-student funding last year and cutting it by 6.6 percent this year. ”Although the court didn’t find that the system was unconstitutional at the time of the trial … I seriously doubt that our current system would survive this type of analysis,” Abdallah said.

But it doesn’t stop one Republican lawmaker from crying about how we need to just let him do his job;

The five-year legal battle has frustrated some observers, including Sen. Mark Johnston, R-Sioux Falls, who said he’s “very upset” that a majority of the state’s school districts would pay for a lawsuit against the state. ”The Supreme Court has spoken that it’s our job as legislators to fund schools,” he said.

So Mark, when you going to start doing your job? I hardly think cutting education by 6.6% when there is $800 million sitting in an investment fund to pick up the slack is DOING YOUR JOB, in fact, you and your party should be charged with child neglect, that would be a more appropriate lawsuit.

But there was one small victory from this lawsuit;

While the lawsuit was pending, the state threatened to audit the coalition of school districts, taking the position that it’s illegal for them to finance a lawsuit against the state. When school officials asked for a judge’s declaration that they can sue, Wilbur agreed with the state; but in that case, a unanimous Supreme Court overturned Wilbur’s decision.

Of course, Repugs bring back the tired old argument;

House Republican leader David Lust of Rapid City said Thursday that most people think school funding should be up to the governor and the Legislature. If the public disapproves of the way the Legislature pays school districts, he said, voters can make a change by electing new legislators.

Good luck with that, your party has a stranglehold on the public because of your bullshit ‘lower taxes’ campaign slogans, and the fact that most (but not all) Democrats in the legislature are a bit timid, except one;

House Democratic leader Bernie Hunhoff of Yankton, a supporter of increased state aid to schools, said he agrees that funding decisions must be made in the Legislature. The lawsuit was filed only because parents and school district officials are frustrated with lawmakers, he said.

Exactly. They sit around and talk about guns and vaginas. Instead of legislating how life may begin or end, why not legislate what happens in between, part of that is providing a good education and investing in our youth. But hey, that reality makes sense, and reality is something Repugs in this state can’t grasp.

 

 

AG Jackboots gets his ass handed to him. It’s too bad he wasn’t handed the State’s constitution.

Okay, I know this episode of Inside Stormland TV is over a week old, but I have been doing some catching up. This is actually a pretty good show, compared to Jon Wilson’s BJ episode of Rounds. Both sides of the school funding case gave great arguments, but I would have to agree with Scott that school funding is a SD constitutional obligation, and Scott let’s AG Jackboots have it over it. He uses the analogy of the state suing over ‘Obamacare’. Jackboots hangs his head so low in his lap, you thought at one point he was going to fall out of his chair.

Worth the watch.

Imagine that, now that the election is over the Dems are found not guilty

I saw this as a political football from the beginning. Funny how no one found a (Extreme Right Wing Conservative) Republican Attorney General, who was running for office, was playing politics with the food for votes fiasco;

“I think this was a clearly partisan charge from the beginning. The Republicans know you can make a charge five or six weeks before election day and the investigation is going to take several months. They can make a charge, make it seem like fact regardless of the fact that no laws were broken. They pretend that it was and use that allegation to scare voters.”

Nesselhuf said there is history of these kinds of “bogus charges,” and it probably will be seen again in elections.

While I don’t agree with the food exchange, I doubt a donut, a hot dog or a bowl of chili is going to convince people to vote for a certain candidate. In fact that assumption is freaking absurd and as Michael Jackson would say, “Ignorant.”

Lucas Lentsch, executive director of the state Republican Party, said he expects the Legislature to weigh in when next year’s session begins.

“Vote-buying or food-for-votes will more than likely be a policy discussion of the 2011 South Dakota state Legislature,” Lentsch said Tuesday. “I fully anticipated that there would be an investigation of some sort, the attorney general and U.S. attorney have rendered their decisions, I just expect it to continue to evolve and be a policy discussion.”

It seems Lucas just can’t let it go. While I agree there should be some legislative intervention, Lucas seems to think there should be an investigation. I guess it wasn’t good enough that his party beat the living daylights out of the Dems, he seems hellbent on punishing them even more. Bring it on, your party was participating in the practice also, and that is why the charges were probably dropped.

“My goal is to make sure that the integrity of our elections is not jeopardized by any activities of different groups or individuals for that matter,” Gant said. “We’re going to look at the language, we’re going to look at reports from the attorney general and the U.S. attorney and I want to do everything I can to provide the legislature with information on how we can best ensure that we have fair and legal elections.”

This coming from a guy who created a fake issue during the election about the Feds taking over state elections. This was clearly about sticking it to the Dems right before an election. Maybe there should be laws enacted that prevent political parties from creating controversies about the opposite party right before an election. I’m sure that would make Kermit Staggers very happy.

South Dakota’s newest AG to be speaking in SF on Tuesday

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Attorney General Marty Jackley will be speaking at the DownTown Holiday Inn on Tuesday Jan 19th  from 12-1:30 PM.  $15. Includes a buffet lunch with dessert. Open to the public.

Mr. Jackley is one of 15 attorneys general that is challenging the constitutionality of the Nebraska Compromise and Florida to purchase Senatorial votes.   This is a historic meeting. If you would like to attend there is limited seating. Please RSVP to 605-332-1962 by 10:00 a.m. Monday morning Jan 18.

sponsored by teapartysd.com

I’m not sure if I will attend, but I think it would be an interesting presentation.