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Arends Helps Dakota Free Press Get on MSNBC, Suffers Identity Crisis and Memory Loss

I don’t watch MSNBC, but MSNBC watches Dakota Free Press:

Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC, screen cap, 2015.09.18
Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC, screen cap, 2015.09.18.

Rachel Maddow apparently opened her show last night with a graphic showing screen caps of the AP, CNN, and South Dakota media picking up the story she broke about the questionable legal status of Joel Arends’s Veterans for a Strong America and its endorsement of Donald Trump for President. And look who’s at the front of the local pack. (Hmm… I clearly need a bigger logo.)

Joel Arends is certainly spinning the story to fit other narratives this blog has covered. He tells KSFY that Rachel Maddow is a liar, just as he helped Annette Bosworth call her former employees liars and frame them for her raffle scam. He tells that Sioux Falls paper an even wilder story that his organization isn’t really his organization:

Veterans for a Strong America had its nonprofit status revoked after failing to file tax returns for three years. Arends admitted the problems but said the issues predate his involvement with the group and the organization’s current board of directors. He said the group disbanded in 2012 and he restarted it in 2014 only to inherit the previous group’s problems.

Arends said he planned to appeal the IRS’s decision. He said the “liberal media” drug up the issue to cast Veterans for a Strong America in a negative light.

“They’ve latched onto this old organization to give us a black eye,” Arends said [Dana Ferguson, “Vets Organization Head Says Donald Trump Event Was Legal,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2015.09.18].

What? Joel Arends created Veterans for a Strong America. He ran it in 2012, when he failed to swift-boat President Obama, and he runs it now. The IRS revoked its 501(c)4 non-profit status for failure to file the required 990 form for the last three years, which would bridges both sides of the hiatus in VSA activities Arends claims.

Arends sounds an awful lot like Joop Bollen, who claimed he could form SDRC Inc. to do the same job he was doing for the state at SDIBI, sign a contract with himself, and then avoid legal liability for things done by SDIBI or SDRC because SDIBI and SDRC, which were entirely him, were not him. Following that playbook, Arends’s next move should be to say that the state forced him to create VSA.

Correction 17:54 CDT: I complained this morning that I could not find “Veterans for a Strong America” in the Secretary of State’s corporate registry. Joel Arends contacted me and said his organization is there. Sure enough, it’s under “Vets for a Strong America”:

Screen cap, SD fictitious business name registry, 2015.09.19.
Screen cap, SD fictitious business name registry, 2015.09.19.

Registration of fictitious business names is effective for five years, so Arends appears to have registered “Vets for a Strong America” just last month.

The fictitious business name “Vets for a Strong America” is owned by “Vets for America,” incorporated by directors Joel Arends, Joel B. Anderson, and Charles E. Jones on August 31, 2015:

Certificate of Incorporation, Vets for America, 2015.08.31
Certificate of Incorporation, Vets for America, 2015.08.31
Vets for America incorporators
Vets for America incorporators

There you go, Rachel Maddow: Vets for a Strong America is at least three people. I preserve my incorrect text below so I may be continually reminded of my error. :-)

Speaking of the state, South Dakota has laws requiring non-profit corporations to file reports with the Secretary of State’s office. Veterans for a Strong America, which is based in South Dakota, does not appear to have any papers on file with the Secretary of State’s office. (I checked the fictitious names database, too—nothing there.)

Dang—even SDRC Inc. still files annual reports. Joel, get with the program and remember to file your corporate papers, before you land me on MSNBC again!


  1. Shirley Harrington-Moore 2015-09-19

    You deserve front line coverage, Cory! Now if we could just get you nominated for a Pulitzer!

  2. Roger Cornelius 2015-09-19

    Congratulations Cory, but the even better news would be that Rachael and Drew Griffin over at CNN would read and comment here.
    Joel boasts a membership of 514,000 in VSA, but from what I understand there is no way for veterans to sign up and join, anybody try it yet?
    Maybe we could get our hands on at least one of the newsletters Joel refers to.
    Also, Arends has yet to name the current volunteer board members running VSA.
    You’d think there would be answers to such simple questions.

  3. David Newquist 2015-09-19

    That screen shot is an illustration of what ails the press in South Dakota. Note that all the headlines, including yours, emphasize the fact that the alleged vets group lost its non-profit status. That Sioux Falls paper and KSFY emphasize what Arends claim, placing the focus on his refutations, not the how, when, and why of the denial. As Roger points out, the actual existence of the organization outside of on the paperwork submitted by Arends is the primary question. Under the guise of balance and the belief that the journalistic audience is interested only in conflicts, the South Dakota legacy media obscure the fact of the situation and the logical journalistic questions that the facts pose. Back in the mid-1980s, when the upper midwest had on online journalism review, it said that South Dakota was notable for its feckless press corps. When someone says that the revelation of some embarrassing facts is bias, it cowers.

  4. David Newquist 2015-09-19

    That should read “all the national legacy headlines, including yours….”

  5. Bill Fleming 2015-09-19

    “Hmm… I clearly need a bigger logo.” Not bigger. Just bolder.

  6. jerry 2015-09-19

    What is really amazing is the corruption has made the front pages nationally without a whimper from our secretary of state or from the attorney general’s office. I can see why Marty does not want to be involved as he is trying to recoup some of the over $300,000.00 and counting tax payer money he wasted with the gay marriage fiasco, so maybe hopes the payday boys and girls will help him out. But Krebs silence is stunning with the petition corruption and now this. It is clear that Republicans just don’t care that corruption is on their watch as it now seems, they are encouraging it. I wonder how much it costs to be a player in the corruption game, what is the ante?

  7. leslie 2015-09-19


  8. Rorschach 2015-09-19

    Would you want this guy for your lawyer? Besides being dishonest, he’s incompetent. He can’t figure out what the laws are or how to follow them.

    We will soon learn whether or not SD laws apply to Republican operatives. I know one Assistant AG who would have loved to prosecute this turd blossom, but unfortunately he’s not in the prosecution business anymore.

  9. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-09-19

    Good work Cory, and congratulations!

    Dr. Newquist, excellent commentary on SD’s pathetic press.

    Now, I’d love the opportunity to similarly laud the AG and SOS.

  10. happy camper 2015-09-19

    Wow. Very cool.

  11. happy camper 2015-09-19

    Somebody like Rachel should offer you a job with big money.

  12. owen reitzel 2015-09-19

    “Why hasn’t AG Marty Jackley done anything?” I agree DD.
    instead of warning us about crooked roofers he should be going after crooked lawyers

  13. mike from iowa 2015-09-19

    Arends recently filed a new nonprofit corporation in South Dakota called “Vets For America” on August 31, 2015.


  14. leslie 2015-09-19

    owen-party matters for crooked lawyers. what other relationships does arends and sveen have with the state?

  15. mike from iowa 2015-09-19

    Bobby Gladd (@BobbyGvegas) says:
    September 16, 2015 at 9:47 am
    Veterans for a Strong America: Emailing a Spamtrap

    Veterans for a Strong America, a conservative U.S. political organization that campaigns for a strong national defense, is mailing an email address that has not been live since well before the 2008 presidential election. The organization appears to be using a bulk email software package that we normally associate with one of the large ESPs, but it is mailing from its own IPs at Denver, Colorado-based ForTrust, LLC. The domain is registered with GoDaddy’s Domains by Proxy, a Whois Privacy service.

    NOTE: Whois Privacy services such as Domains by Proxy are generally considered a bad idea for domains that are used for mail servers. Whois Privacy Protection (or cloaked Whois) hides the identity of the domain’s owner from the public. An individual with a vanity domain might legitimately want to prevent the public from obtaining his or her real name, address, phone number, or email address, but a legitimate company or non-profit organization should have no such need. These services are understandably popular with spammers, most of whom are not legitimate companies or organizations.

    Individuals, ISPs, and companies that receive email from a server that uses a Whois cloaked domain frequently conclude that the sender is a deliberate spammer and simply block them. Senders who do not want to be mistaken for spammers and blocked if they happen to email the wrong email address by mistake are well advised not to use Whois cloaking on their domains.

  16. Douglas Wiken 2015-09-19

    This also indicates problems with the search systems on South Dakota state government sites. The apparently have nothing like a fuzzy search which can report something like, “You searched for “Veterans”, but do you really mean “Vets”. The SDCL site searches may give you nothing even if every phrase is in a link if you ever actually can find it someway.

  17. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-09-19

    Mike, thanks for that find! Douglas, you’re right: search engines aren’t perfect. We have to get creative, especially when the incorporators are getting creative with their name (why, guys?). Joel Arends got on me about that, and another Twitter friend eventually put me on the trail of “vets” instead of “veterans.” I have corrected the above post to show the incorporation documents and fictitious name registriation.

  18. mike from iowa 2015-09-19

    Arnold says:
    September 17, 2015 at 12:17 pm
    A little more research.

    Veterans For A Strong American is apparently an unregistered DBA.

    EIN 273016581

    It can be Googled under the name Veteransforastrongamericaorg (no spaces or periods).

    It has an IRS ruling date of June 2011.

    It is a Domestic California Corporation with a business address of P.O. Box 1246, Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57101.

    It is a FTB Suspended Corporation in California and no longer able to conduct business in California.

    The Registered Agent is Paul J. Carter, 400 Oceangate, Suite 800, Long Beach, California.

    Mr. Paul J. Carter is a member of the Board of Governors of the Long Beach Bar Association and is listed as Secretary/Treasurer.

    Paul is a partner at Bergkvist, Bergkvist & Carter, LLP, specializing in civil litigation. Paul also serves as mediator for the Los Angeles Superior Court; California Court of Appeal; US District Court; California Arts, Arbitration and Mediation Service; and, and as a hearing officer for the County of Los Angeles. Paul is a member of the Ball / Hunt Inn of Court; and has served in various capacities for the Long Beach Bar Association, most recently as Secretary/Treasurer. Paul is active in the St. Mary Medical Center, currently serving as Chairman of the Foundation Board of Trustees; he is a member of the Board of Governors for Cal State Fullerton, and serves on the Board of Governors for the Los Angeles Lincoln Club. Paul’s hobbies include golf, guitar and surfing.

    While at CSUF, Paul was a Docent at the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace, where he first discovered his interest in Richard Nixon’s Southern California life. In 2010 Paul published Native Son: Richard Nixon’s Southern California, a unique map biography that is the culmination of years of research and interviews. The map is on sale at the Richard Nixon Library gift shop.

    Paul is very involved in the political community. In 2008 Paul had the honor of serving as an Alternate Delegate to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, was a full delegate to the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay, Florida, and Paul currently serves as the Chairman of the Long Beach Chapter of the Los Angeles Lincoln Club.

  19. Bob Newland 2015-09-19

    Among a lifetime of frequent weird evenings, a few hours spent at a “Lincoln Day” DInner in Sioux Falls May 31 2014 qualifies among the weird. I had, by dint of having a weird relationship with the Annette Bosworth-is-being-persecuted-because-she-believes-in-eternal-damnation group, received an invitation to a table paid for by the Bosworth coalition.

    The program included Bosworth, Thune, Rounds, Sattgast and…, well I can’t remember who else spoke from the stage. Neither can anyone else who was there.

    I reconnected with Joel Arends, who said he was “Annette Bosworth’s personal attorney.” Arends and Ihad met when he was some kind of class officer in the USD law school. He had organized a forum to discuss Amendment A, which would have allowed criminal defendants to argue the “merits, validity and applicability of the law” under which they were being prosecuted. This was in 2002.

    Arends was plainly opposed to the 2002 proposal. He graduated USD and went somewhere in uniform to gain some battlefield creds.

    Arends was gracious enough, on that evening in Sioux Falls a year-and-a-half ago, to introduce me to Phat Phough, emcee of Dakota War College. Phat and Phattpha (Mrs Powers) unleashed a little flood of unflattering remarks upon me. Arends was nowhere to be seen. I thought Arends had a reasonably good sense of humor.

    Phat Phough later characterized me at War College as a “smallish, invirile husk.” Would that I could live up to that praise.

    Later, Arends and I connected again. Joel introduced me to his wife, who towers over him, literally. I think she’s maybe 6’5″. And beautiful. (I say that at the risk of being identified with Trump’s patronizing comments about Carly Fiorina, but then Arends is a Trump flack, so…)

    Now, Arends shows up continuously in the middle of some tawdry shit. I hope it’s paying well.

  20. mike from iowa 2015-09-20

    I did a bit of searching.

    1. No apparent corporate registration for “Veterans For a Strong America” in South Dakota.
    2. No apparent corporation Registered Agent status by Arends in South Dakota.
    3. No apparent 501(c)4) nonprofit registration with the IRS.
    4. United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Civil Action 15-00464, cites pertinent data relating “VSA is the nation’s largest veteran’s group for Afghanistan and Iraqi War Veterans…” In this filing it clearly states a number of facts that appear to be exaggerated. Not good in a federal filing.
    5. By some reports Arends has active duty military status in the Reserve. This is unconfirmed yet.

    He has quite a history in the right wing funding process, with connections to prior candidates and controversy.

    Looks like a simple issue of Mr. Trump failing to do his homework. When a candidate clearly is raising funds for a Super PAC, there may be some interesting issues into election campaign caveats.

  21. mike from iowa 2015-09-20

    I did a bit of searching is not me or mine.

  22. mike from iowa 2015-09-20

    4. United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Civil Action 15-00464, cites pertinent data relating “VSA is the nation’s largest veteran’s group for Afghanistan and Iraqi War Veterans…” In this filing it clearly states a number of facts that appear to be exaggerated. Not good in a federal filing.
    5. By some reports Arends has active duty military status in the Reserve. This is unconfirmed yet.

  23. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-09-20

    Mike, I’m a little confused on those last two comments. But the statement about “largest veteran’s group for Afghanistan and Iraqi War Veterans” does raise a question of how we quantify that against VFW, American Legion, etc.

  24. mike from iowa 2015-09-20

    Arends sued the State Dept and HRC for Benghazi emails because he plans to write a book,according to the suit. VSA is non-political but VSA Super Pac contributed over $100,000 to Willard Romney. How many VSAs are there?

  25. Disgusted Dakotan 2015-09-20

    Lets get this straight:

    Arends was running a non-profit Veterans for a Strong America in SD, on the expired CA status, since 2010 for what appears to be political purposes, to include the millions he supposedly raised for the Jan 2014 venture for Annette Bosworth without filing any reports to the IRA or the SOS as required by law???!!!

    He claims he has over 500K members but its only him and 2 other guys? And their company isn’t about veterans at all? And they get away with this scam right under SOS & AG’s noses for over 5 years?!

    If this guy can get away with this scam for years, just by helping host fundraisers for Marty Jackley, I guess the pay for play corruption is more serious than we thought.

  26. Craig Guymon 2015-09-20

    Please accept my humble apology for the length of my remarks, my direct approach and candid nature. My words were not intended to offend any of the honest, friendly people of South Dakota. On the other hand, with regards to the Pack of Coward running this state, they can all simply kiss my backside!
    Folks, it easy to get lost in the Joel Arends swill. Apply smell-test with regards to Veterans for a Strong America (VSA) being a social-welfare, non-partisan, non-profit, IRS approved 501 (c) 4 and not a partisan Super Pac. The website promoting the smoke and mirrors event on the deck of the USS Iowa battleship museum stated, “… All proceeds from this event go towards helping Veterans for a Strong America supporting our warriors on and off the battlefield and not to any candidate or candidate’s committee.” What follows is from Google searches; too many websites to list here crediting each with corresponding posted statements:
    Arends previously worked with the Bush-Cheney campaign as a field director in 1999-2000. Arends consultant for the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity; not list it on his public resume; around 2006 Arends went to work for Craig Dewey, the SD director of Americans for Prosperity. Arends was director of Iowa veterans operations for John McCain in 2007; executive director of Vets for Freedom from 2007 to 2008; on McCain’s campaign payroll between March 2007 and February 2008; in 2008, posing as a “journalist”, Arends organized and participated in a taxpayer-subsidized propaganda trip to Iraq – American taxpayers paid for politically slanted, pro-McCain, anti-Obama reporters embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq; Vets for Freedom is a pro-war organization that bought attack ads against Obama – assembled a team of eight military veterans with dubious journalistic credentials to report ‘objectively’… Arends tried to Swift Boat Obama in 2008; under the auspices of Vets for Freedom, ran an ad accusing Obama of refusing to meet with wounded soldiers from Illinois. Arends appeared on a panel in March 2011 in South Dakota promoting the documentary Iranium – strongly suggested beginning a war with Iran; appeared at events with anti-Islam conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney, who has been condemned by mainstream conservatives for his intolerant views; aligned himself with William Boykin, who was found to have violated Pentagon rules by expressing his anti-Muslim views in an official capacity. First press mention of VSA dates back to October 2011 – CEO Joel Arends spoke at a press event of the Coalition for the Common Defense with testifying “witnesses” including Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy, Thomas Donnelly of the American Enterprise Institute, four Republican members of Congress, and Scott Cooper of the Virginia Tea Party Federation. VSA pops up a month later as the sponsor of a telephone call town-hall meeting with presidential candidate Newt Gingrich. As reported on May 16, 2012 by the Bismarck Tribune, television advertising in North Dakota was secured to support Republican Duane Sand’s U.S. Senate primary campaign … said Joel Arends, president of the Veterans for a Strong America Action Group. Arends said the organization is a “super PAC,” which may raise and spend unlimited amounts of money on political ads. The political action committees ad against Berg cost $40,000 … The Federal Election Commission had no record of the organization on its website on Wednesday. Arends said paperwork to set up the PAC was sent to the FEC early Wednesday. Arends declined to say where the PAC received its financing, saying the information would be included in its first federal campaign disclosure filing … In 2012, Veterans for A Strong America attack Obama … web ad portrayed a darkened-skin Obama and trashed the president for ‘spiking the football’ on the anniversary of Osama Bin Laden’s death; Karl Rove, the man known as Bush’s brain, tweeted his support for the VSA character attack; VSA recruited Navy SEALs and Special Forces to criticize the White House during the 2012 campaign attempting to Swift Boat Obama again – similar tactic as in 2004 that was aimed John Kearey; VSA PAC appears on the Center for Responsive Politics website with several five-figure donations from VSA. One of the VSA PAC’s expenditures was in support of Mitt Romney for president for $125,080. Arends appears as the treasurer of the VSA PAC. The VSA PAC disclosures of donations from VSA makes it appear like VSA camouflages the donors who would otherwise be revealed if they were to give to the VSA PAC directly.
    Now toss in Arends being a lap dog for the Rushmore PAC, Dan Lederman, Mike Rounds and Marty Jackley. Hope the FEC investigates turning over every rock. Otherwise, the SD Pack of Cowards will simply whitewash Joel Arends incidents with its grandiose propaganda machine.
    With regards to all of anti-Bosworth spin herein, time for all of you good people to wake up; the Pack of Cowards has “The System” rigged! The trial was a “she said versus he said” case. Why did Judge Brown allow the State to launch a character assignation attack in the courtroom discrediting attorney Jeff Beck’s testimony? Why did Judge Brown allow the last testimony jurors heard to be 100% third-party hearsay gossip from three non-named female friends of Ethan Crisp that discredited Dr. Bosworth’s testimony claiming she was known to be deceitful and dishonest person in the Sioux Falls community (200,000+ residents in metro area)? Contrary to the Pack of Cowards perceptions, Dr. Bosworth’s citizenship rights guaranteed her a fair and impartial trial; the Court had obligation to protect her rights and deliver such a trial; the Court failed to do so as you learn during the appeal process.
    More document facts discussing the Pack of Cowards “Rigged System” posted to our website and in a public mode at Facebook Craig Guymon in South Dakota.

  27. David Newquist 2015-09-20

    The registration of an organization doing business as Vets for America does not seem to comply with the requirement that a foreign corporation, Veterans for a Strong America, be registered in South Dakota if it is doing business here. What registration documents show that Vets for America own or operate Veterans for a Strong America as a subsidiary?

    At the behest of American business, many state corporation codes are set up to cover fraudulent activity.. Business reporters call the process of finding out who actually owns and runs a business as peeling the onion. As in trying to find out who actually ran the investments in Northern Beef Packers, aside from the EB-5 investors, one comes across a layer on the onion that is actually an impenetrable shield.

    The incorporation papers for Vets for America have the box checked that indicates it has no members.

    As for the other two incorporators besides Arends, they are Charles E. Jones, who appears to be an ophthalmologist not currently practicing, and Joel B. Anderson, for whom no address is listed in the Sioux Falls aaea. They both list their addresses as the same post office box as Arends. The registration process for corporations in South Dakota is more obfuscating than clarifying.

  28. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-09-20

    That’s a fair question, David. “Veterans for a Strong America,” the name used consistently in VSA’s website, donation page, and press statements, does not appear anywhere in the database, not even in the fictitious names database as a registered DBA name.

  29. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-09-20

    Disgusted, Arends’s claim to have hundreds of thousands of supporters seems akin to the claim I could make to have hundreds of thousands of supporters. I could show you a database showing 700K+ interactions just with Dakota Free Press over the last six months and 5M+ with Madville Times since 2007. Does each of those data points represent a unique individual or an actual supporter?

    Even if I showed the list of people who subscribe to the blog or follow on social media (akin to the list Arends says he has of newsletter subscribers), does that really measure supporters or anything that I might call “members” of this blog?

    Interestingly, I’m not sure what a “member” of VSA is. The VSA Donation page doesn’t say anything about membership, just asks for contributions.

  30. mike from iowa 2015-09-20

    The majority of VSA contributions come from VSA.

  31. Disgusted Dakotan 2015-09-20

    Correction, Arends claims to have hundreds of thousands of “members” which Donald Trump parroted in his USS Iowa event. According to Arends’ recent filings with the SD SOS his non-profit “Vets (sic) for America” that his fictitious “Vets (sic) for a Strong America” operates under now in SD (since August 27, 2015), officially states that it does not have any members (page 2) and his non-profit’s purpose has nothing to do with veterans (article III page 2 & 6):

    How is this not fraudulent activity? telling people that is organization supports veterans when it officially has nothing to do with any such type venture.

  32. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-09-20

    On where VSA got its money:

    [Republican consultant Sean] Noble’s relationship with the group began in 2012, the same year Veterans for a Strong America received $937,000 from a non-profit advocacy group that listed Noble as its principal officer, the Center to Protect Patient Rights. Joel Arends, the group’s chairman, has said the group originally hired Noble’s firm because he was impressed with its work [Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, “‘Dark Money’ Pours into Arizona Primary,” Arizona Republic, 2014.08.13].

  33. Rorschach 2015-09-20

    Nope, nothing about veterans in those Vets for a Strong America organizing documents filed with the secretary of state. I wonder if the other two organizers are veterans? Or veterinarians? They are surely all vetches.

  34. Rorschach 2015-09-20


    any of a number of leafy, climbing or trailing plants (esp. genus Vicia) of the pea family, grown chiefly for fodder and as a green manure

    Or there is the urban dictionary definition:

    Adj- Bad ass ladies.

    Noun- Bad ass ladies doing bad ass things.

    Either definition seems to fit.

  35. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-09-20

    Mike, wow—that NPW article tears VSA to shreds:

    The illegitimacy of Veterans for a Strong America isn’t just that it purported to be a nonprofit when its tax exemption had already been revoked, that in all likelihood the people who purchased tickets for the Trump speech thought they were purchasing from a nonprofit, that the U.S.S. Iowa Museum gave the Arends group a preferential rate because its chief executive took Arends at his word that the group was a nonprofit, or that it made an explicit endorsement of a presidential candidate violating 501(c) rules. Veterans for a Strong America was and is clearly yet another fake organization willing to use and abuse veterans for the personal or political ends of the man who created it [Rick Cohen, “The Fake Vet Nonprofit that Sponsored Trump’s USS Iowa Speech on Veteran’s Issues,” Nonprofit Quarterly, 2015.09.17].

    Arends (or whoever types the @V4SA Tweets) has already threatened Maddow with a defamation suit, and his language toward Megyn Kelly hints that direction as well. Expect a similar threat to be lobbed at Cohen for the above article.

    By the way, the @V4SA Twitter feed is slagging Pete Hegseth as a “Grasstops #KochPuppet” for negative comments he made on Megyn Kelly’s FOX show Friday. The Cohen article notes that Arends worked for Hegseth at Vets for Freedom and that Arends was a “consultant to the Koch-affiliated Americans for Prosperity.” Hmm… does Arends have any friends left?

  36. Disgusted Dakotan 2015-09-20

    Has anyone read some of the convoluted idiocy Arends is spreading on the “Vets for a Strong America” facebook page? Claiming that the current organization is different from the original one he founded in 2010, that the original was disbanded in 2012 and then reformed January 2014 (for Annette’s trip to Philippines?, how is that Veteran related?)

    The problem with all that lawyerly dishonesty? The principle founder Joel Arends is the same and their FB page says their current group was founded in 2010. Their FB page has nonstop posts going back all the way back, they didn’t skip a beat for a year as Joel claims.

  37. larry kurtz 2015-09-20

    Joel Arends = Per Curium

  38. larry kurtz 2015-09-20

    Per Curiam, rather.

  39. Craig Guymon 2015-09-21

    Due to the lack of integrity, honor, candor and courage surrounding Joel Arends – VSA excuses, allegations, shell games and pure swill, seasoned people skills asking some more questions.
    My wife and I served for more than 30-combined years in SDARNG units. Since January 2009, President Obama has been the Commander-in-chief for the US Military. US Army enlisted soldiers and commissioned officers must without hesitation or criticism follow all legal orders. DA Form 71; 1 AUG 1959; the US Army officer commissioning oath states:
    “I … having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States … do solemnly swear … that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion, and I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter, So help me God.”
    The Uniform Code of Military Justice Article 133 states, “Any commissioned officer … who is convicted of conduct unbecoming an officer … shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”
    While concurrently serving as a US Army Reserve Officer, in 2012 Joel Arends tried to Swift Boat President Obama (Commander-in-chief of the US Military). Veterans for A Strong America attack Obama; web ad portrayed a darkened-skin Obama and trashed the president for ‘spiking the football’ on the anniversary of Osama Bin Laden’s death. In our old-school US Army, such action aimed by a commissioned officer at the Commander-in-chief would have most certainly have been found to be conduct unbecoming of an officer and punished as determined by court-martial.
    On 09-20-2015 at 10:27 p.m. CDT, I “Cut – Pasted” the following from Joel Arends posted remarks from his pages: Joel Arends served in Iraq with the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division for their deployment to Iraq in 2004. Joel served as an infantry Platoon Leader in Baghdad and provided security for Iraqis as they went to the polls for the first free and fair elections held there in the last fifty years. He currently serves in the United States Army Reserve as a Major. Joel holds the Bronze Star for his time in Iraq. He was recognized by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld as one of the fifty heroes in the Global War on Terror …
    On 09-27-2007 posted the following: Joel A. Arends … served in Baghdad, Iraq … as an Infantry Platoon Leader … Arends told a local South Dakota reporter in February 2006, ‘The first problem is you are never quite sure who the enemy is. They don’t wear uniforms … they fight in small groups or terrorist cells. They don’t fight toe-to-toe, they more than likely hit you and run. It’s a new kind of war for a new moment in time.’ During his time in Iraq, and more specifically Baghdad, Arends completed more than 600 combat patrols … 1st Lt. Arends and his team of 30 soldiers operated in and around Baghdad from February 2004 to April 2005 …
    Folks, most combat vets reluctantly and rarely speak of the hell they survived or having been awarded medals of valor for selfless service. Gut-check asking 600 patrols from Feb ‘04 to Apr ‘05 seems excessive; what do his US Dept of Defense records show? Smell-test sensing lack of humility; what does his DA Form 2-1 show?

  40. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-09-21

    Susan, the link you provide shows a list of Silver Star recipients. Does that website offer a Bronze Star list?

  41. mike from iowa 2015-09-21

    Veterans for a Strong America
    January 2010 – Present (5 years 9 months)
    Veterans for a Strong America is a non-partisan action organization dedicated to educating the public, members of Congress and the Executive Branch about the importance of growing the world’s strongest, most robust economy, strengthening and modernizing America’s Armed Forces, implementing a common-sense national energy policy, implementing responsible intelligence reform and strengthening the ability of America’s law enforcement agencies to prosecute terrorism on a global battlefield; all in the name of keeping America safe and strong.

    Veterans for a Strong America is mobilizing veterans and veterans’ supporters as advocates in the public policy process. We are doing this by partnering supporters with respected economists, military veterans, intelligence community leaders and experienced former law enforcement officials.

    From Arends Linkedin page. Notice at the top he lists himself as chairman of VSA from its inception to the present-nearly six years with no lapse in 2012-2014.

  42. Susan 2015-09-21

    Cory, I couldn’t find a list of bronze star awards. I have looked many times for lists of awards to include who really is a Navy Seal. Hard to find. Don Shipley is the best bet for Navy Seals if anyone wants to check on someone.

  43. mike from iowa 2015-09-21

    The only reference to being honored as one of 50 heroes of the GWT is in Arend’s Linkedin page.

  44. Craig Guymon 2015-09-21

    No question in my mind, Joel Arends is a fence-straddling lawyer hiding behind his stack of law books. Above posted remarks and facts raise questions concerning integrity, honor, candor, humility and conduct unbecoming a commissioned officer, but Arends did not fabricate what was published in the below public relations propaganda brochure.

    The following is from; cut & pasted on 09-21-2015 at 6:50 p.m. CDT. US Department of Defense Document: Heroes Brochure; Office of Public Affairs, The Pentagon; OSD Writers Group.

    “In a conversation about the war a few weeks ago, I was asked, ‘Where are the heroes?’ In prior wars, everyone knew the heroes. Well, there are a great many, and they’re doing exactly what needs to be done to keep our country safe and to preserve freedom for our children and theirs. I think we could probably all do a better job — media and the military alike — in telling their stories.” – Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Senate Hearing, February 7, 2006

    Heroes in the Global War on Terror come from all parts of the country and every state. These are the stories of just a few of our nation’s sons and daughters, completing history’s great task on behalf of human freedom… 50 heroes from 50 states.

    In addition to 49 other states with posted photos and remarks, this internet posted brochure includes a photo of former Army National Guard CPT Joel Arends with the following comments:

    “Then-1st Lt. Arends and his team of 30 soldiers operated in and around Baghdad from February 2004 to April 2005. They were responsible for catching a number of terrorists, including one carrying bomb-making materials, jidhadist propaganda and large sums of cash. The terrorist claimed to be a professor at a major university in the United States. They also captured one of Saddam Hussein’s personal bodyguards. Another time, Arends’ team rescued Iraqi civilians from burning vehicles when insurgents attacked a checkpoint near their patrol area. Members of the team rushed into the flames and pulled several Iraqi civilians out of burning vehicles and administered lifesaving medical treatment. For his efforts, Arends was awarded the Bronze Star Medal in March 2005. Arends is now a Captain in the Army Reserve.”

  45. mike from iowa 2015-09-21

    Hard to swallow non-partisan when pretty much every one he has dealt with and collects donations from are rwnj.

  46. Craig Guymon 2015-09-21

    Be interesting to see VSA PAC itemized operating expense statement to see what percentage of Koch bros cash-cow donations are being funneled into Joel’s pocket as fees and expenses for services rendered? Smells like possibly one hell of a money tree for Arends.

  47. Susan 2015-09-21

    At 27 mins. after the top of the hour, Rachel just talked about Arends and Trump again (for 6 minutes). The big news from the story she said is that Veterans for a Strong America is not legally able to do business in California. Since he did not file a tax form his tax status in California is suspended, they could not legally hold their fund raiser in California. So what happens now??? She said that is the big question. Not to mention why Trump did not check out VSA to begin with.

  48. grudznick 2015-09-21

    The marionettist hovering over Mr. Trump does not seem as slick or experienced as one might have thought. It cannot be those even Koche people.

  49. Craig Guymon 2015-09-21

    This is the same spin-master the jury in the Dr. Annette Bosworth trial found to be a creditable witness; who’s testimony the jury found to be “The Whole Truth & Nothing But the Truth”.


    “Trump competence in question as ‘veterans’ group’ event exposed as illegal
    Rachel Maddow reports on the latest revelation about Veterans for a Strong America, the dubious veterans group that hosted a Donald Trump fundraising speech on the USS Iowa. The group’s non-profit status was revoked by the IRS and because it also paid no taxes in California, it did not have the legal right to do business in that state at the time of the Trump event.”

    Governor, you have the power to right this wrong, but do you have the guts required to make the right call?

    Badger, Out!

  50. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-09-21

    Funny thing is, Craig, the V4SA Twitter account is savaging the Koch brothers. Maybe he’s not getting a penny from them, or at least no more since that first gift that Mike associates with the Kochs above, and that’s why he decided to try latching on to Trump. And please, let’s not overdo the linkage to the Bosworth case. I’m willing to believe that Arends happened to be telling the truth in the Bosworth case.

  51. Craig Guymon 2015-09-21

    I share the following – please weigh and ponder. Human nature is what it is. A man does not have integrity and candor on one day; and days latter have none. Honorable men and women posses honorable intentions 24-7-365 – it is what makes them tick!

    Trust me when I say I know firsthand how low a Pack of Cowards will stoop when an honorable man is holding facts that would damage the Regime’s public image refuses to lie down and stop barking.

    Nothing more to share (for now). Have a great fall.

    Badger, Out!

  52. Craig Guymon 2015-09-21

    Got to propose a people skills sense gentlemen’s wager – cup of coffee and piece of pie after all the dust settles in the Arends-Bosworth he said versus she said appeal process – if I am wrong I will be more than happy to pick up the tab – you ready to do the same?

    Trust me when I say that you are going to find the next two years to be more than just news worthy in more than one way.

    Badger, Out!

  53. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-09-21

    No, I’m not interested in any such wager. The facts are clear, and the process has spoken on Bosworth. She’s done, and she’s mostly irrelevant to the current Arends case. Hanging Arends on this VSA/Trump issue does not in any way require that we unhang Bosworth. The Arends/VSA controversy is a new show.

  54. Craig Guymon 2015-09-22

    Must disrespectfully disagree on Bosworth facts … and the legal process has only began to address the issue … Bosworth appeal will expose the Pack of Cowards corruption. On the VSA – Arends mess, you have hit the nail square! Crow has a bitter taste; but if I am wrong about the appeal process, I will be man enough to admit it. Same Pack of Cowards tied to both incidents. The Devil is not in the Details; its the Cowards lack of integrity, honor, candor and courage … as you will learn over the next two years.

    No insults aimed … just convinced my seasoned daily people skills are on target.

  55. Lars Aanning 2015-09-22

    Wonder if an honest lawyer, protecting his client from harm, would have allowed his client to sign an election petition where the dates next to the people’s signatures coincided with his and his clients’ absence from South Dakota…

  56. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-09-22

    I’ll say it again: the Bosworth situation is immaterial to the accusations at hand around VSA. Citing Bosworth does not add any weight to the argument that VSA is really a superPAC disguising partisan political activity under the banner of veterans. The fringe effort to vindicate Bosworth of proven crimes distracts from the main thrust of this post.

  57. Disgusted Dakotan 2015-09-22

    Please do not stop covering this story, Cory! You’re the ONLY Dakotan that is talking about what is clearly a national scandal. Our state has a major tie to the GOP front runner for POTUS and no one is South Dakota even makes a PEEP?! This is baffling. Maddow covered it again last night and revealed Arends was acting illegally and in flagrant violation of California law.

    What disgusts me most of all is Pat Powers schilling for his crony. If this story had been about anybody but one of Pat’s Pets, he would have been all over it like white on rice. No excuse for this blatant favoritism. And SHAME on our South Dakota media! What kind of dirt does Arends have on the media in this state that they’re all avoiding this story?!

  58. Disgusted Dakotan 2015-09-22

    The South Dakota media outlets need to be pressured by all of us to pick up this story. KELO sends reporters to literally chase down petition workers. This story is, in many ways, even bigger for South Dakota politics. Our very own Harold Hill, with fraudulent ties to Donald Trump and Annette Bosworth, breaks federal and state laws to bilk money out of vets? Come ON, people!

  59. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-09-22

    I agree with DD.

    ((((({{{{[[[[Please, please, please!!! Find another place to discuss Bos conspiracy theories.}}}}]]]])))))

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