Nelson Requests Lengthy GOAC Meeting in Vermillion to Review GEAR UP Evidence

In the John Wayne Toilet Paper department, Senator Stace Nelson tells his Republican colleague Senator Deb Peters that he will fulfill her request that he provide evidence on what he knows about the GEAR UP/Mid-Central scandal to their Government Operations and Audit Committee next week. However, it’s going to take staff, subpoenas, and several days in Vermillion:

Sen. Stace Nelson
Sen. Stace Nelson (R-19/Fulton)

I will require at least 10 hours time on the GOAC schedule at the Vermillion map, and I will need the assistance in serving witness summons on at least 6 people.

In that Senator Peter’s letter is an official letter to me as a SD Senator & member of the GOAC, I request the appropriate staffing and support to provide a thorough response for the record.

Please make an impartial attorney available, two staff members to help prepare, and logistical support and approval for meeting with those persons to compile my official testimonial & documentary response.

Since it is impossible to transfer the entirety of the research material available to Pierre, we will need to meet in Vermillion for several days to prepare and for the GOAC inquisition on what myself and others know about the corruption Senator Peters is attempting to distract from and run “interference” for [Senator Stace Nelson, e-mail to Department of Legislative Audit et al., 2017.08.23].

The “Vermillion map” to which Senator Nelson refers is the wall-spanning project Marshall Damgaard’s political science students at USD created in spring 2016 to visualize all of the financial connections in the GEAR UP/Mid-Central scandal.

Senator Nelson e-mailed this request this morning to Auditor General Marty Guindon, DLA audit manager Tim Flannery, Attorney General Marty Jackley, and Legislative Research Council exec Jason Hancock. Senator Nelson cc’s this e-mail to GOAC chair Peters, GOAC vice-chair Rep. Jean Hunhoff, Senate President Pro Tempore Brock Greenfield, his occasional colleagues in GOP rump rebellion Senator Lance Russell and Rep. Elizabeth May, and members of the press.

Just to make clear he’s not gladly responding to the request for his testimony, Senator Nelson mans the guns and asks Pro-Tem Greenfield to kick Senator Peters off GOAC:

Senator Greenfield, I renew my request for you to remove Senator Peters from the GOAC. With her efforts to illegally trade votes to have me removed for my January email asking questions of Rep. Schoenfish’s involvement in GOAC; her recent Op Ed claiming nothing is amiss (before we even got the answers back from preliminary witnesses?!); and now her abuse of her position as chairwoman serving letters on committee members who are not material witnesses in attempt to intimidate and distract from the corruption at hand; she has demonstrated (as astutely pointed out by Representative May) that Sen Peters is NOT running an impartial legislative investigation into this ugly public corruption scandal, but “running interference” for her patron benefactor’s administration.

Please provide the requested assistance immediately [Nelson to DLA, 2017.08.23].

One could argue that Senator Peters has simply requested that Senator Nelson present information, and that he could respectfully decline that request with no consequences, as did the four people GOAC invited to testify about GEAR UP next week. Instead, Senator Nelson is treating Senator Peters’s letter as a official request—note his use of the word serving in that last paragraph—and threatening to knock her out of her committee seat before she can knock him out of his Senate seat.

29 Responses to Nelson Requests Lengthy GOAC Meeting in Vermillion to Review GEAR UP Evidence

  1. Roger Elgersma

    Peters does not see herself as the head investigator. She should see the committee members as helpers in investigating rather than opponents in the process.

  2. Looks like Sen. Nelson is offering to step in as chair of the committee, or maybe to step in as the entire committee. Of course none of that drama is necessary for him to stand up from his chair and walk over to the witness chair. He should practice that. Stand up. Straighten his tie. Walk 20 feet. Sit down. It will help calm his nerves.

    Imagine if every legislator tried to monopolize staff time like Sen. Nelson tries to monopolize staff time. Dozens and dozens of fluff commemorations to draft. Multiple LRC people assigned to do his bidding. The legislature would have to build a new annex to the capital building to house the new 210 staff people the legislature would have to hire. But fortunately not every legislator is so demanding.

  3. Sen. Nelson should try being a little nicer to Sen. Peters so he could maybe be her friend like that Haverly guy.

  4. Porter Lansing

    Rum Rebellion? 💣

  5. Porter Lansing

    Sen. Nelson can be a bit more succinct in his initial presentation to Sen. Peters. Get on record what he’s asserting and then, should the cheese be on the biscuit, the investigation can proceed to the stage he’s requesting.
    As an aside … Having argued often with Sen. Nelson I’ll testify he’s often long winded, repetitive and obtuse to questioning. A thumbnail of what he’s got could take a day, let alone a full blown presentation, but he deserves to trim a thumbnail just to be comprehensive.

  6. Mary Perpich

    I wish the EB5 mess had gotten as much attention from the GOAC committee. With Larry a Tidemann in charge no real in investigation took place and the key crooks got off even Joop Bollen who was indicted but received probation. The other crooks went free to continue robbing the state and federal governments here and in our capitol.

  7. Kelly Cooper

    Let’s see if Jason Ravnsborg shows up there to help Stace and Russell…the three stooges.

  8. Kelly, I’d actually find it interesting to see any active candidate for statewide office weigh on GOAC’s apparent greater interest in attacking one of its own members than in dragging in the main players in the actual corruption for further scrutiny. Asking Nelson for his evidence is reasonable—if Nelson can produce it, he deserves all the time it takes to lay it out.

    Mary, I would contend that GOAC is in the process of sweeping GEAR UP under the rug the same way they did EB-5, with a shrug at knowledgeable witnesses’ refusal to provide pertinent information.

  9. Mr. Nelson’s buffoonery has risen to new levels of entertainment. It is not Mr. Nelson’s job to prosecute anybody and he doesn’t understand what his job is. I expect the partisan Council on Legislative Research is too scared to explain it to him because they are controlled by the leadership, but I bet the General Auditor will explain it to him. Mr. Nelson is buffooner than most; in fact he is the buffoonest.

  10. Roger Cornelius

    My first reaction was to tell the committee to do whatever they can to get Nelson kicked out of the legislature.
    However, if Nelson can check his ego and hijinks at the door he can a lot to uncover the Gear Up cover.
    Nelson’s behavior is similar to that of Trump in that he often puts himself first and refuses to listen to the view of others

  11. I know what you’re saying, Roger. Nelson has to play this right. So do the rest of us. Peters and the GOP establishment would love for the GOAC hearing to become all about Stace and make everyone forget the real corruption that DOE/Schopp/Melmer let happen at Mid-Central. Nelson’s noisemaking is putting that corruption in the headlines. Nelson’s questions led to the statements from Schopp that are fueling more attention to Mid-Central. Nelson’s questions flushed out the Werdel e-mails. Nelson is thus serving the public well by getting more information out of Schopp and the DOE. He needs to keep pounding on that track.

  12. We see the danger of distraction at Dakota War College, which completely ignores the substance of the new statements and documents from Secretary Schopp and the details of the GEAR UP/Mid-Central corruption that matter to the general public and instead focuses exclusively on further assassination of Nelson’s character.

  13. Stace Nelson is just doing what Gov Daugaard should be doing.

  14. Mr. H has it right that this corruption happened at the Mid Central place. I’m not saying some people shouldn’t get spanked in the Education Department but that’s not Mr. Nelson’s job and he doesn’t get to do any spanking. Mr. Nelson is great entertainment in the buffoonery department and I expect that young Ms. Peters will outfox him yet again in the meetings because she doesn’t put up with shenanigans.

  15. Well-phrased, Jenny! Grudz, even if your interpretation of Nelson’s job description were correct, Nelson is only trying to pick up the slack for other elected officials who aren’t doing their jobs.

  16. What elected official is not doing their job? Mr. Jackley? He is prosecuting bad people for doing bad things, as I understood it. That Mr. Auditor General fellow is not elected and he has had to correct Mr. Nelson repeatedly.

  17. As Jenny said, the Governor (two governors in a row now) are not rattling the crony cages at the top that need to be rattled. That’s part of the job.

  18. I don’t think Governor Daugaard has to operate under a job description written by antis and libbies. I submit to you he gets to write his own job description and spank whoever he feels needs spanking. Even Mr. Nelson.

  19. Nelson has been claiming he has secret information but refuses to tell GOAC or the DCI or the AG’s office what it is.
    The formal request from Peters to reveal what he knows at the next meeting has sent him into a tailspin, where he is frantically demanding time, staff, a change of venue, etc,
    Why? If he has information he needs to turn it over. The assertion that all the information is in Vermillion and there is too much of it to transport to Pierre is one of the craziest excuses ever.
    Even if the infamous map were still on display, Stace could do a video conference in front of it which the rest of the committee could view in Pierre. But apparently it isn’t still on display. If it is I wish somebody would reveal its location.

  20. The not-secret map remains in Vermillion. Damgaard says an electronic version was created with some expensive software, but it’s not currently sharable online. The physical map is quite intricate; moving it would be complicated and could threaten its integrity. It may also not be strictly Damgaard’s to transport at a moment’s notice.

    That said, I do agree that it should not be hard to make information available. If someone made such a request of me pertaining to GEAR UP, I might need a little time to review my documents to make sure they don’t reveal any confidential sources, but it wouldn’t be a matter of digging up any new information.

  21. If there is an electronic version doesn’t that mean it is portable? Like a thumb drive? Even if it is not shareable online, electronic data doesn’t take up a lot of physical space.

  22. One would think so, Anne. I don’t know the details, but it may be more than a simple PDF. It’s an interactive file, meaning there’s likely a sizable database and software that may require a really big thumb drive and operating memory. It may also be proprietary software that doesn’t allow for easy sharing.

  23. mike from iowa

    Yo, Master- I am getting tired of having Stace Nelson’s mug stare at me for two days in a row. I sill have yesterday’s page come up when ever I come here. If I post a new comment it goes to the new page and when I close that comment I go back to this page.

  24. mike from iowa

    Uh, never mind my gripe. I need a new dart board target.

  25. (Mike—weird! Are you saying that you can’t access the main page? Can you try clearing your cache?)

  26. Porter Lansing

    @CAH … My Apple and my PC are both having problems with DFP again, also. Must be ‘dem darn Rooskies.

  27. mike from iowa

    I cleared the cache and now have up to date page. Thanks, Master of the Universe. :)

  28. (Mike! Glad you’re back!)

    (Porter! I just hit a button. Anything change?)

  29. Cory and Anne:

    I posted the following to DWC on 8/24:

    “I’ve seen the SD GEAR UP map twice in person, once before the computer programming began and once while it was underway. My recollections may be a little fuzzy, but that may be because I was flattered to see one of my NPQ articles posted on the map wall as a description of some of the interrelationships.

    “Making an online version of the map turned into a complex and laborious data entry project using specialized software. The programs being used are similar to those used by law enforcement to map out organized crime and criminal networks. They include multiple layers of detailed information that can be queried in countless ways.

    “Unfortunately, the results aren’t in a format that can be shared online. The programs aren’t intuitive and aren’t designed for web browser based access. I was really looking forward to using such an online tool in my research and reporting, but apparently the project grew too big and there isn’t a dedicated budget to support personnel and product costs.”

    “If anyone else has updated information, please feel free to share it.”