Gant Miscounted Cash, Lost iPads, Delayed Blue Book, Misspent Federal Grant Money

Jason Gant
Jason Gant, wearing stripes…

Bob Mercer and I are reading and thinking the same things.

That historic state flag isn’t the only thing that went missing under Jason Gant’s Secretary of State-ship. The Legislature’s Government Operations and Audit Committee has in its hands an audit report on the Secretary of State’s office filed by state auditor general Marty Guindon on July 15, 2015, and sent to current Secretary of State Shantel Krebs and cc’ed to Gant on August 24. Guindon’s review found the following irregularities left for Krebs by Gant when he left office at the end of 2014:

  1. On December 31, 2014, the SOS receipting system reported $298.278.48 in its prepaid account deposit accounts. The actual money in the bank on December 31, 2014, was $254,970.63. Writes Guindon, “There was no evidence of a reconciliation explaining the $43,307.84 difference.”
  2. Gant’s office purchased thirty iPad Minis (that’s two iPads for each current staff member.) When Krebs took over on January 2, 2015, three Minis were missing.
  3. The Blue Book, our Legislative manual, is usually printed by July of each odd-numbered year. Gant’s office somehow managed not to produce the 2013 Blue Book until December 2014, which means Gant failed to perform a statutory duty (see SDCL 2-7-1). Gant’s office broke its contract with the normal printer in October 2014 and got someone else to print the Blue Book, but the original publisher filed a claim against the state in April 2015 for $28,512.93 plus interest.
  4. Gant’s office appears to have used federal Help America Vote Act grant money for purposes not encompassed by HAVA. Gant’s office used a cloud storage service for both HAVA and the Division of Business Services (is that where the corporate filings went?) but paid for that service entirely with HAVA money. Gant’s office spent $12,000 of HAVA money on unallowable Federal Voting Assistance Program expenses. Gant’s office also retained no invoices from counties that received twelve HAVA subgrants worth $110,495.

GOAC has requested Secretary Krebs attend Friday’s meeting (Agenda Item #8, well after lunch) to discuss Guindon’s report. Perhaps GOAC should overnight an invitation to Jason Gant to seek his perspective on these discrepancies as well.

And hey! Attorney General Jackley! If the disappearance of one old flag warrants criminal charges, may we anticipate similar prosecution for the disappearance of expensive electronic tablets and tens of thousands of dollars?


64 Responses to Gant Miscounted Cash, Lost iPads, Delayed Blue Book, Misspent Federal Grant Money

  1. Roger Cornelius

    More questions than comments for me.

    Where was Pat Powers of the Dump Site during all this corruption and theft?

    Who is the former Jason Gant employee that worked for SOS now living in D.C.?

    As I understand it, Gant was investigated in 2012 but Jackley found no wrong doing, did the crimes committed by Jason Gant all occur after that investigation?

    What we will get from GOAC is probably the same result we got from the EB-5 investigation. They won’t subpoena or allow any further investigation.

    Jackley will appear before GOAC and rather than admit wrongdoings in his previous Gant investigation, will simply meet with GOAC in executive session and tell them nothing to see here and back off, we got our flag back.

  2. Straight Outta Ridge

    Who elected this “Gant” dude anyway??

  3. Hope Gant doesn’t go hunting by himself in south central SD.

  4. Straight Outta Ridge

    Maybe Gant should be on suicide watch??

  5. Jason Sebern

    You cannot make this stuff up. A state employee stole the original state flag? Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic.

  6. mike from iowa

    Here I thought corruption was limited and no one committed crimes.

  7. Don’t tell that to DB or the Bos, they will tell you that Gnat was an accountant that could not have possibly have made an accounting error. What has happened is that he is just misunderstood. Now I like Shantel Krebs and think that she is trying to do a good job at his former post, but you cannot get anyplace in the Pierre underworld by outing a well placed political crook.

  8. Straight, the guilty parties on that election are 163,828 South Dakotans who chose Gant over Nesselhuf and Stacey in 2010. Many of those voters helped elect Kristi Noem and Dennis Daugaard.

    Jason, it may be that stealing a historic state flag is more incredible than the other possible thefts and misaappropriations Guindon identified.

  9. rollin potter

    straight outta ridge,The same hard heads that elected the rest of the corrupt politicons in pierre!!!!!!!!

  10. My view is this.

    Don’t focus on the person who committed these crimes (They are already gone)

    Focus on those who can do something about these crimes, and the decisions they make.

    As long as South Dakota makes excuses, hides and covers up things like this, they will keep happening.

  11. Still small potatoes compared to hundreds of millions stolen in the Rounds/Daugaard EB-5 Racketeering Scam.

    What would be interesting is having someone dig deep into how the HAVA money got spent. Bank records would be a place to start. A county or state prosecutor could also subpoena the bank and credit card records of Gant and key staff (and former Gant staff) to determine if government money went places where it had no business going.

    Also, I’ve never understood how Jackley would allow Pat Powers to operate his political consultant business and guarantee an endorsement of the SoS in return for his clients’ cooperation. How can that be legal for the number 2 official in the SoS office?

  12. SORidge – Just keep Gant and his buddy out of Charles Mix County during autumn.

  13. Go Marty lets find out went on.

  14. Hmmm…another GOP scandal. Who would have thunk.

    If there is not a call for a complete forensic audit of every department I won’t be shocked. The inbred nature of Pierre and one party boys club is just an incubator for this crap.

  15. Yes, a forensic audit of every department would be the way to go.

  16. ‘I heard that South Dakota had one of the most corrupt governments in the nation. I just do not see it.’
    – District 31 Legislator

  17. Bob Newland

    I know it looks bad, but I can see how someone could mistakenly pick up a SoDak state flag as a deservable icon of the 20 seconds (s)he spent in the service of the Great State of South Dakota (sniffle).

    Walking out with this particular flag elevates the outrage all you liberals will feel, but it’s only a matter of degree. I mean, no one spent a day in the hospital as a result, right? Chill out, then.

    For those of you who think, “Good God! How petty!” this doesn’t begin to illustrate the pettiness that transpires in intragovernmental relations. So, again, chill out.

  18. Travis Wicks

    I don’t know, Bob. The theft of a significant piece of our state’s history is pretty galling to me. Its historical significance is far more valuable than the 3 iPad minis (coincidentally, I’m writing this on my iPad mini— I bought it, though, it’s not one of the missing three!) or the missing cash, in my opinion.

  19. Craig & Ronette Guymon

    Cory, unfortunately the answer to the above question will undoubtedly be, ‘No can do. In Sept 2013, a behind closed doors deal was made with the former SD SOS Gant.’

    In August 2013, Badger provided a circuit court judge with copies of pages from SD SOS Gant’s 2012 Davison County Ballot Counting Task Force Report – Executive Summary which documents that during the Davison County June 5, 2012 primary election: (1) The election night results were inflated with the votes recorded on 1,684 non-cast ballots; 460 ballots were counted twice in one precinct and 612 sample test ballots were scanned twice but never cleared prior to counting the ballots cast by the voters; a 43% ballot count injection; (2) Based on the SD SOS and DCSA’s recommendations, the canvassing rejected the election night results – the official results were not publicly reconciled with the election night results, (3) The county auditor was allowed to use a spreadsheet application to calculate the official results; and (4) From June 7 thru Aug 31, 2013 SD SOS Gant orchestrated a smoke and mirrors ruse and spearheaded task force investigation coverup operations and corresponding news release statements that duped the voters.

    During the mid afternoon of Sept 10, 2013 the above circuit court judge stole 10-days of Badger’s life when the judge violated statute imposed “Presumptive Probation Requirements” when he illegally jailed Badger’s ass for 10-days for having cast two ballots in a June 4, 2013 standalone Mitchell school election – an act of civil disobedience objecting to the Davison County June 5, 2012 primary election having been rigged; the subsequent orchestrated coverup; and Badger’s June 15, 2015 filed election contest having not been addressed by the Court within 10-days in an expeditious manner as required by statute.

    Within hours of Badger’s ass being jailed, during the morning of Sept 11, 2013 in a news release statement, former SD SOS Gant announced he had decided not to seek re-election in 2018. KELOLAND NEWS was the first to broadcast “Gant’s Decision” shortly before the lunch hour on Sept 11, 2013.

    Badger, Out!

  20. Craig & Ronette Guymon

    typo correction … (4) From June 7 thru Aug 31, 2013 — should have stated (4) From June 7 thru Aug 31, 2012

  21. Craig & Ronette Guymon

    damn another typo … and Badger’s June 15, 2015 filed election contest … should have stated June 15, 2012

    should have not tried to type and watch World Series at the same time

  22. Roger Cornelius

    The problem with South Dakotans is that when it comes to theft of public property they “chill’ too damn much, thus allowing it to continue.

    republicans will continue to burglarize state funds for as long as they can because they know they will get away with it.

  23. here’s an idea….. whoever this person is that “criminal charges are expected” in relation to theft of the state flag —- give them a plea bargain. No jail time/light fine on the flag theft in exchange for blabbing their guts about all of the shenanigans that occurred in Gant’s office.

  24. With proper accounting, the SOS office would have the serial numbers of those ipads. Having those serial numbers, I am sure they can track them down, with the support of Apple.

    The fine folks at apple will bend over backwards to help you out. If they were properly configured using the “apple configurator” – an important tool to manage the ipads, They should easy to find, as long as they connect to the internet. When I was a K12 tech-co, I sat on several training sessions showing how manage these devices, and if I remember correctly- these training sessions were put on by BIT.

    iPads do not just get “lost.” If things were done right, they can find them easily if the connect to the internet.

    In a nutshell, If things were done right – any ipad can be tracked quickly, as long as it was set up to the recommended settings. Was this not done in the SoS office? What did the iPads do that the common PC was unable to do? Something isn’t right here…

  25. Dana, maybe that’s exactly what’s happening. Why else would the AG dangle this story and tease us all with anticipate charges but not give a name or actually make the arrest? Now the AG can turn to the perp and say, “Look at all the bad press that’s waiting to pounce on you. Save yourself from being known as the flag thief.”

    Then again, it shouldn’t be that hard to nail Gant. He probably wasn’t any better at hiding corruption in the office than he was at carrying out his actual duties. He has little political power left to keep his former employees loyal. It would seem to me that spilling the beans on Gant would put one in the good graces of the party. The AG may be able to fry the flag thief and still get plenty of info from others.

  26. oldguy7850

    Grant was/is a jerk. I used to see him in Shel’s in Pierre and he made sure everybody there know he was important. During his last few months in office he had moved to Sioux Falls only showing up in Pierre a few times a month. When did PP leave that office?

  27. Friendly Amendment – Powers resigned in DISGRACE in early July 2012.

  28. Why is it that in an economy that is growing in all places, it just seems to have hit a brick wall in South Dakota? I thought about that and then realized that reasoning was not true, the economy is growing for Gant and for the rest of the crooks and liars of the Rounds-Daugaard cabal. They are stealing money at such a rate, the rest of us cannot move ahead, we are stuck in their muck. That should raise a red flag, or a blue one with yellow letters, as a call to action to toss the riffraff overboard. Alas, but we probably will not as Obama (The Black Dude President) and the Democrats will take the guns and then raise the taxes while taking away beloved pets and then spend it all on stuff.

  29. Friendly amendment noted, hearing no objection, approved.

    Roger C., I’m inclined to believe A.G. Jackley may be ready to drop some hammer here. If he were going to tell GOAC there’s nothing to see here, he wouldn’t have made that announcement yesterday, and GOAC wouldn’t have posted this audit result for us to chew on.

    The AG’s investigation of 2012 was a different creature, looking into different issues raised by Senator Adelstein related to Pat Powers’s moonlighting and misuse of office authority. The Guindon report deals with irregularities discovered well after that period.

  30. Craig, other than falling in the general category of corruption and ineptitude, can you draw any solid connection between your repeated accusations of election monkeyshines in Davison County, your conviction for deliberate voter fraud, and the specific irregularities identified by Auditor General Guindon? Keep your response on topic, please. If your response mentions nothing but your case, it’s not on topic.

  31. rwb…sorry friend, I must disagree. .. there is no disgrace or humility among the Gant gang, whom suppressed voter rights, destroyed records and even stole our flag…lol

    oops I am not “in the know” so I don’t know if Rounds gang n Gant mob are one in the same..just kidding IMHO they are.

    I can already see our republican friends telling us to quit over reacting. Like Bob says chill out nobody went to the hospital.

    New standards for mismanagement Bob. You CAN NOT use the statement “Nobody Died” can you

    Badger deserves a medal for confronting these bullies

    Everyone have a great day

  32. mike from iowa

    It is looking like the goofy,gutless AG and the SOS should trade jobs. Krebs is still on probation for me,for what it is worth,but she is certainly giving me some hope that there may be an honest,conscientious wingnut in South Dakota’s gubmint.

  33. No medals, Spike, unless the confrontation produces real evidence and action. As for accusations of “overreacting,” we will find out tomorrow what questions legislators asks and what tone SOS Krebs takes in her response during tomorrow’s GOAC hearing.

  34. And I apologize to you Bob

    I forgot

    Also a medal to you for doing time for transparency n clarity in pierre

    Thanks

  35. It’s just one corruption story after another. Midcentral murders, EB-5, missing money and other important items from Whopper and Whopper jrs SOS time. And SD thinks MN politics is colorful and corrupted. I don’t hear these kinds of stories coming out of St Paul. MPR has a close watch on MN State politics, and I never hear state corruption like what you hear from Pierre.

  36. Right, Jenny! A candidate running for Legislature in 2016 now has an easy three-point speech on corruption: SOS, MCEC, EB-5. That’s a stump speech all by itself, showing how one-party corruption and cronyism has seeped into diverse offices (elections! education! economic development!) and concluding with a call to fix the problem by electing new management.

  37. In reading Gant’s response, and the updated reporting, its not so much incompetence as it is there is no system and guidance from the state auditing and from the state legislature on these things so everything is done as it is, and by the time the fixes are recommended another person is in charge. I remember similar things were found after Rounds left office with state travel, its all after the fact, and Pierre/ South Dakota more so than any other place has this philosophy that if we let them get away with it and they left, its fine.

    The big problem with all of these accounting errors are that when they keep happening because of no guidelines, the criminal ones don’t stick out.

    The state needs to fix this and its starts with accounting laws.

  38. Cory – In light of the audit, this so very much reminds me of the kind of graft set up we’ve seen with the GEAR UP scandal and Mike Rounds’ EB-5 racketeering scam. You did a post on the wild expenditures made for Gant’s experimental iOASIS system to help overseas soldiers vote.

    Gant announced he was spending nearly $700,000 from a federal grant on a boondoggle which was bug-ridden and in 2014, was used by only 24 voters. As you said then, Gant blew about $28,000 per voter on the program.

    This looks highly suspect and I hope it got the kind of forensic audit needed to make sure that money didn’t drift into the pockets of Gant’s political pals.

    http://dakotafreepress.com/2015/06/28/gant-burned-28k-per-voter-on-buggy-redundant-overseas-soldier-voting-system/

    I also saw on Gant’s Wikipedia page that he bragged about how that system worked so successfully.

    “In 2014, Gant activated the Innovative Overseas Absentee-balloting System (iOASIS) voting technology, which is currently available to Gant’s overseas military constituents for all upcoming elections.”

    There is also a news release where Gant is said to have taken a junket as Secretary of State during March 2014 to a few bases in Germany to show our troops how to use the system. Did Gant use this federal fund to bankroll his junket to Germany?

    “In early March, the Secretary and his team tested iOASIS in Germany at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Ramstein Air Force Base, US Army Garrison Weisbaden and US Army Garrison Stuttgart.”

    I’m wondering who’s on “his team” in this junket. There are Google references to this boondoggle going back to 2011, and that makes me wonder about our little friend on that inferior political blog. I also saw Sanford Leader investigative reporter Ellis did a puff piece on the boondoggle back in 2013.

    Here’s the link. Check this out: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/03/prweb11703076.htm

    Cory, this deserves quite a lot of scrutiny. I believe it fits a pattern we’ve become accustomed to seeing too often in our state where federal moneys get mangled by a state agency and lost in a deep hole.

  39. And don’t miss the video! Who paid for this nearly 4-minute slick PR video?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3Im-ts6LMA

  40. Whats going on 43 grand short? I wonder if Pat will tell us on his website Whats going on.

  41. This guy went to Germany to show them how to vote.How stupid was that.

  42. From the looks of this sausage in a suit, I think I know where the 43 grand went. Gant has never met a all you can eat buffet that he was not the star.

  43. 90 Schilling

    I’d look deeper than the 43,000. The 700,000 grant funds went somewhere that didn’t accomplish anything for the public good.

  44. Of course, the problems always lie in the fact that most South Dakotans cannot grasp the huge sums that are being stolen from them. EB-5 thefts of $140,000,000.00 is just too damn many zeros for the masses to even think goes into these crooks and liars pockets. Cory does a great job of bringing these numbers to examine, but grasping that is a difficult thing. $700,000.00 is an incredible amount to just vanish like the rest of these funds.

  45. Jeff Barth

    I wonder who the flag thief is/was working for in Washington DC? Perhaps a Senator?

  46. Perhaps Mr. Gant had some fellows or gals who went to work for the national legislatures council or that Alec fellow you all rail against. I’m sure we will all know soon enough. If they are working for Mr. Rounds I bet you they got smited fast. And Ms. Noem would never have hired a former Gantite would she?

  47. jerry, Mr. Gant may look like 3 scoops of mashed potatoes in a 2 scoop suit but don’t underestimate his deviousness or the lack of character he attracts.

  48. I am thinking that in the video, they must have had to use a wide angle camera. That boy put on some serious gravy and taters more than in the picture above so 43 grand may be chump change to his eatery

  49. 90 Schilling

    ““I think it’s wonderful information. I wish I’d had this before I’d left office so those accounting errors could be fixed,” Gant said.”

    I imagine you would, Jason.

  50. Wow I’m pretty sure Gant is from Charles Mix county too. What the hell is going on with my county??????

  51. What is Whopper doing these days? Embezzling money and stealing things from another business?

  52. Nick Nemec

    Gant comes across as a bumbling idiot on KELO news this morning and Shantel Krebs is portrayed as the public servant fighting for openness, accountability and protecting the taxpayers money. In my mind Krebs has just moved to the top of the list as potential GOP governor candidates. In the past two weeks two of the top contenders for the job have had bad press. Lt. Gov. Matt Michels is also the attorney for Avera who appears to have pressured Avera doctors and board members to grant credentials to a incompetent surgeon who has since skipped the country. Attorney General Marty Jackley has overseen EB-5 investigations and has, at best, appeared to be more than willing to brush issues under the rug and protect the good old boy system rather than protect the interests of SD taxpayers.

  53. Fireman, in the mitakuye oyasin department, Jason Gant did indeed come from your county. He graduated from Geddes in 1995. So did Rick Melmer, in 1975.

  54. I’m tying to imagine the purpose of the video 96 tears posted above, or the reason that taxpayer dollars needed to be spent so Gant could fly his wide body on a wide-bodied airline to Germany to show highly trained members of the military how to use a computer program. A set of instructions wasn’t adequate? Why produce a video that shows you simply doing your job (granted, with Gant such an accomplishment appears to have rarely occurred so perhaps it is worth celebrating). I’m sure Jason got his fill of beer and schnitzel during his romp through Germany…all at our expense.

  55. I do wonder (and hope) that there is some maneuvering going on behind-the-scenes also – to put pressure on an underling to spill their guts. But the cynic in me wonders whether it is more of a “keep your damn mouth shut and we’ll take it easy on you” sort of a stance. I hope that isn’t the case, but the more and more this pot gets stirred, I wonder how much scum will really rise to the top.

  56. Dave – The pricey German junket makes no sense. Other than a photo/video op (for his re-election campaign, no doubt), Jabba the Gant had no reason going overseas and visiting four different army bases in Germany (why not Afghanistan where the action is?). I’d like to know who else went on the junket (his wife?), where they stayed, departure and return dates, who bankrolled the trip, etc. Somebody gave Jabba $700k in federal money to create software, so where is the report listing expenditures? Who was the software expert that did the hard work and how much did they get paid?

    After all, this was no star who took this junket. Jabba is a mid-level politico from South Dakota. Big whoop. And only 24 people voted in iOASIS in 2014.

    Perhaps more fascinating is matching up the events leading up to the German junket. A red hot GOP Senate primary was running off the rails with the EB-5 revelations. Gant’s office was already scandal-ridden and the party bosses were in search of a replacement. Judging from the video, it looked as though Jabba was lining up the horses to pull him through the mess he made in the SoS office and had hopes of using iOASIS as a life preserver to get the SDGOP nomination. After all, with all those service men and women in the background, how could any red blooded, Tea Baggin’ Republican state delegate tell him to disappear?

    I think there is much more to all of this. Obviously, there was a major intervention by the party bosses to remove this particular weed in their SDGOP garden. It’s interesting that the GEAR UP situation was poking its way up to an audit and the EB-5 racketeering scam was running on front pages at the same time.

    What kind of deal was struck that provoked Jabba the Gant to step aside and what is still being covered up to buy Jabba’s silence and cooperation?

  57. Green Leaf Video is a Penn based production company behind the iOASIS clip, South Dakota is listed as a client. http://www.greenleafvideo.com/clients/

  58. From Mercer’s story:
    Sen. Billie Sutton, D-Burke, asked Gant at the end of the presentation if it was true that only 27 people voted using iOASIS in 2014.
    “Yes, it was very slow at the beginning,” Gant answered.
    Gant said many members of the South Dakota National Guard served overseas in the previous decade.
    “I know 27 doesn’t sound like a wonderful number, but it was a program 27 individuals took advantage of,” Gant said.

    Hmmmm. If one German junket yielded 27 votes from soldiers, imagine two German junkets. Or three German junkets. Eighty-one votes from a $680k investment? Apparently sending the secretary of state from South Dakota to get out the vote in Germany is a worthy strategy. The Gant victory lap, bankrolled by your taxes.

    Perhaps there may be a segue: Orange is the New Lederhosen.

  59. Boy, how many Indian votes could Jason Gant get out by traveling to Wanblee and running a satellite voting station? 27 votes appears to be our new standard for successful use of public dollars, so let’s see Jackson County take the few thousand it will take to open that station for its Indian residents and see who comes to vote.

  60. Thanks Cory, great point. Your concern and vocalism for all people to have their voting rights makes me proud.

    I agree with Dave, the soldiers could probably handle this voting program pretty easily without Gants wizardry on site.

    Is all this as extreme as it appears? Are we over reacting?

    We all know running big government is not perfect, but wow its constant. 6 deaths? What has happened to “South Dakota values ?”

    Those values are not the private domain of the SD GOP and I’m embarrassed and upset at death, cronyism and incompetence stalking the halls of our capital.

    Gants incompetence and racism knew no boundaries.

    Now the poor innocent EB-5 investors are at risk, so don’t can SD?
    Ha, we KNEW that one was coming.

  61. Spike, Jackson County has been arguing that the few thousand dollars it costs to set up a satellite early voting station for hundreds of Wanblee area residents is too much, even though they could access federal dollars to do it, just as Gant accessed hundreds of thousands of dollars to help 27 soldiers vote and give himself an excuse to take a trip to Germany (and where else?).