Brendan Johnson Disappoints with Non-Answers on EB-5

John Tsitrian is rightly disappointed with Brendan Johnson. Our former U.S. Attorney spoke Friday to the Black Hills Forum and Press Club in Rapid City. Like many South Dakotans, Tsitrian would love to know what Johnson knows about the FBI’s now-closed investigation of South Dakota’s EB-5 scandal. The ever sensible Tsitrian recognizes, however, that professional ethics probably stand between Johnson and any discussion of a confidential (?) criminal investigation. Tsitrian thus posed this question to Johnson during the forum Q&A:

Forgetting about your prior position as U.S. Attorney, as a South Dakota resident are you satisfied with the State of South Dakota’s investigation into the EB-5 matter?

Johnson apparently told the audience elsewhere in his remarks that he feels less censored and can tell folks “the inside scoop.” But his response to Tsitrian’s EB-5 question sounded all censored and not at all scoopy to Tsitrian:

Johnson ignored my Q and went on and on about how he and others in his office had to recuse themselves, generally putting a rhetorical wall between him and EB-5, which we’ve all heard before. No problem with that, of course, but I couldn’t get any more out of him than that. The facilitators of the event wouldn’t let me pose a follow-up, mainly on the understandable grounds that they wanted to spread the questioning opportunities around the room [John Tsitrian, “Brendan Johnson’s Epic Fail in Rapid City,” The Constant Commoner, 2015.06.26].

I won’t go as far as Tsitrian and say that this non-response shows Johnson to be a “moxie-less” lawyer destined for no elected office. But I will second Tsitrian’s disappointment that we can’t get a former law enforcement official keenly informed on the EB-5 topic to express his disgust with the covering-up and cashing-in that the friends of Mike Rounds enjoyed from their abuse of the EB-5 program.


47 Responses to Brendan Johnson Disappoints with Non-Answers on EB-5

  1. Douglas Wiken

    Unfortunately appears that Brendan has adopted his fathers fence-straddling, waffling, and fear of offending “taliban Republicans”.

  2. Brendan is doing the speaking tour to keep his profile up, but he won’t run for anything until there is an open seat. He doesn’t want to risk losing. And he doesn’t want to risk saying anything that is the least bit controversial. So he’ll continue to bore audiences with platitudes like equality for women is great, and criminals are bad, and generic stuff of that sort until Rep. Noem vacates the house seat. Meanwhile, Tim Johnson hoards his campaign fund in anticipation of his son’s someday run.

    And I think he would make a fine officeholder, but until he runs the leadership of the Democratic Party won’t be willing or able to fully embrace or support other candidates who, by winning, might set back Mr. Johnson’s future quest for his birthright.

  3. roger that, disappointment. :(

    it would seem south dakotans deserve to know what its elite actually did, but only an inquiring press, at this point is going to force answers. investigative journalism!!

    thank you John Tsitrian, a gentleman with spine.

  4. The South Dakota Democratic party needs candidates with guts and brains. See my op-ed in today’s Argus Leader before this post gets “scrubbed”.

  5. Rod,

    Who would be the best South Dakota Democratic Party candidates with guts and brains from Davison County?

  6. Darn, Rod—I thought your op-ed would be about where we can find that leadership. Help us out: where do we Democrats find the guts and brains you are calling for?

  7. larry kurtz

    Close your primaries, South Dakota Democrats or pick your nominees at convention.

  8. Larry aren’t you forgetting something?

  9. larry kurtz

    You mean that i don’t really give a shit, Lynn?

  10. larry kurtz

    Defeating Noem next year puts a huge damper on her ability to run for governor in 2018.

  11. Well yeah and the not giving a shit about the consequences of pushing the legalization of your habit being you know…….. lol

    Wouldn’t you normally include that the South Dakota Democratic Party needs to get behind the full legalization of recreational marijuana to bring about a total political revolution here in South Dakota and drop the SDGOP to their knees! The kids will never forget what the SDDP did for them!

  12. larry kurtz

    Lynn, do you know anyone who calls it “recreational alcohol?”

  13. larry kurtz

    or “recreational video lottery?”

  14. It really doesn’t matter Larry. People just know.

  15. larry kurtz

    Let me say it one more time: no Democrat will get a dime from me until all the county chairs have heads.

  16. Larry I don’t think they will worry too much whether you donate to them or not. Actually they might prefer that you do not.

  17. larry kurtz

    Lynn, in South Dakota the state calls gambling ‘gaming’ so it seems less like sin and more like fun and you are certainly correct that if Democrats don’t pull their heads out of their asses we all lose.

  18. Larry,

    I’ve seen up close what the wreckage “gaming” has had on people from addiction and I’d support getting rid of it ASAP! I could go into it more in how those dollars circulate and how it is more of a negative than a positive for the state but we have enough negative challenges here in SD. We don’t need more!

  19. larry kurtz

    Lynn, no doubt you will be helping Bob Newland and his efforts to bring temperance back to my home state by circulating his ballot initiative in Mitchell.

  20. Larry, Please remind me what is Bob Newland’s ballot initiative? Which one?

  21. Larry,

    Any of the initiatives I know of that our good friend Bob Newland is circulating will only put more people at risk of addiction. We already have enough issues with addiction in our state. We don’t need more.

  22. Bob Newland

    It appears that some folks here favor criminalizing behavior in which some folks indulge to excess. Would that be a fair way of characterizing it?

    Some seem to favor criminalizing some potentially “addictive” behavior, some seem to favor criminalizing another. Perhaps some favor criminalizing any potentially addictive behavior; not only slippery slopes, but ALL slopes.

    Am I reading the comments correctly?

  23. What Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender proposed makes sense to me. Those caught with a small amount of marijuana should be sent to addiction treatment rather than send them to jail and keep sending them to a treatment program until it they get the help they need. Those that deal lock em up! Sooner or later they will learn or for those that keep getting caught dealing they can plan on spending more of their natural lives time behind bars.

    The so called costs of the “War on Drugs” will be far less than the social costs that we will end up paying as reflected some of the stats coming out of Colorado and more to come.

  24. Douglas Wiken

    I got the name of the story wrong in another discussion. This is a story worth reading no matter what is your position on another form of mind-numbing addiction. In the June 2015 WIRED magazine page 82 is a story titled “Boy, Interrupted”. It is about a boy with seizures every few seconds so often he could not attend school or do much of anything else. None of the US drugs worked or also produced other debilitating side-effects. A British drug company developed medicine from marijuana which reduced the boy’s seizure to something closer to one a day instead of hundreds of times a day. US classification of Marijuana as addicting as heroin makes like hell for medical experments and patients.

  25. Oh there are plenty more sources Larry. Overcoming denial is probably the biggest and first step. How many times per week do you have you posted on one of your two pot promotion blogs promoting legalization including this one and tweeting?

    “It’s easy to tell when you’re addicted when you just love it more than anything else, it’s all you think about, it’s what you’re gonna do. ” http://www.celebstoner.com/news/celebstoner-news/2013/11/19/dr.-drew-on-pot-its-extremely-addictive…-for-some-people/

  26. larry kurtz

    My intraocular pressure is at 19 this morning, Lynn: that’s low for me. Thanks for asking.

  27. Roger Cornelius

    What happened to Brendan?

  28. Bob Newland

    Lynn, sometimes you actually make some sense.

    However, it is obvious that cannabis has been bad for you. It has made you crazy.

  29. larry kurtz

    Did anyone else not know that Tim Purdon spoke about industrial cannabis at the same session Johnson spoke at?

  30. 90 schilling

    Soomeone please pull the law class roster and see how Marty J’$ and Brendan J’$ blood runs thicker than party. There’s a bowl full of those rascals.

  31. mike from iowa

    A basketball Jones is where you love basketball so much you are like a junkie. (Cheech and Chong-I got a basketball Jones)

  32. happy camper

    But Lynn I do think you are missing that important point that anything can be abused. If people eat too much should we outlaw food? If people exercise too much should we stop selling gym equipment? Marijuana is not meth or heroin. You’re being incredibly black and white on a “drug” that is comparable to alcohol. Prohibition failed. People died from moonshine. Better to regulate, collect taxes, get the criminal element out of it and enjoy its benefits: which are many.

  33. Bob Newland

    Camper, I realize you are more on my side of the argument than on Lynn’s, but I have trouble comparing cannabis to alcohol in any respect.

    Cannabis may have some harmful effects on some people, but I have yet to see or identify any. Alcohol is minimally harmful in moderate amounts, and may be said to be helpful to some people, but it is still a dangerous, toxic substance.

    Lynn has been driven crazy by cannabis, but simply because she has closed her mind to common sense.

  34. happy camper

    I’m afraid she has. Normally she’s a voice of reason.

  35. Happy,

    You and I know that is a weak comparison and where it will go. :)

    Actually South Dakota War College has an excellent posting on the negative trends coming out of Colorado as a result of pot legalization based on good data/statistics. Maybe this could be a start of all of us finding common ground in preventing this negative and harmful trend with high social costs from spreading to our state that we all deeply care about.

  36. larry kurtz

    RMHIDTA is a school to prison pipeline organization, nothing more.

    http://reason.com/blog/2014/08/15/drug-warriors-try-but-fail-to-show-that

  37. Larry,

    It doesn’t matter what legitimate study, statistics or personal testimony as to the negative affects of legalization. They will all be attacked and discounted by many out of selfish reasons either to feed their addiction or financial gain. The amount of out of state money that will be thrown at this in support of legalization will be great with essentially legal drug growers/dealers that have plenty of cash to spend and will outspend those who oppose this.

    It’s interesting to see all the out of state online commenters in support of legalization every time there is a story in our local media. Those out of state commenters are paid to do so. It’s marketing.

  38. larry kurtz

    They’re called civil liberties, Lynn, and they’re protected by the Ninth Amendment to the US Constitution even in your nanny state.

  39. The opposition was heavily outspent in Colorado by the booming pot industry and they were defeated and Colorado is now dealing with the negative consequences. Yeah! It’s been a gold mine with many people getting wealthy but there are some high social costs that were predicted and are coming true.

  40. larry kurtz

    Your attitude is why South Dakota florists are still in business, Lynn: there are more people dying than being born there and why my home state will never have nuthin’ nice.

  41. larry kurtz

    That South Dakota doesn’t recognize my medical cannabis card and my right to carry is unconstitutional.

    http://nmpoliticalreport.com/4483/court-employer-cant-block-workers-comp-for-medical-marijuana/

  42. Larry would my hangnail or blister on my hand I got from working out in the garden qualify me for a Cannabis Med Card in New Mexico or should I use I can’t sleep or have a headache?