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AG Jackley Catches State Flag Thief; Former Gant Employee to Face Charges

To cap off the legacy of disgraced Secretary of State Jason Gant, we learn that on the way out the door, one of his employees stole one of two original South Dakota State flags:

Attorney General Marty Jackley announced today that the original State Flag of South Dakota that was missing has now been recovered by the Attorney General’s Office.  The Secretary of State’s Office began an internal investigation for the missing State Flag in January 2015, and ultimately reported the missing flag to South Dakota Legislative Audit. On July 15, 2015, South Dakota Legislative Audit referred the matter to the Attorney General’s Office. The Division of Criminal Investigation conducted an investigation and recovered the flag from a former Secretary of State employee on October 8, 2015 in Washington D.C.

“The recovery of the South Dakota’s original State Flag preserves an important part of our history for the citizens of South Dakota. I want to extend my appreciation to the Secretary of State’s Office for their assistance and cooperation throughout this investigation. Criminal charges are anticipated to be released in the near future,” said Jackley [South Dakota Attorney General’s Office, press release, 2015.10.28].

Recovered in Washington, D.C.? What gives—did Nicholas Cage nab the flag and use it as a map to National Treasure 3 underneath the Washington Monument? Or did a Gantling jump ship to Congressional staff?

Here are the Attorney General’s photos of the filched flag:

Original South Dakota state flag—obverse, commissioned 1909, stolen January 2015, recovered October 2015. Photo courtesy South Dakota Attorney General's office.
Original South Dakota flag—obverse, commissioned 1909, stolen January 2015, recovered October 2015. Photo courtesy South Dakota Attorney General’s Office, 2015.10.28.
One of two original South Dakota state flags, commissioned 1909, stolen January 2015, recovered October 2015. Photo courtesy South Dakota Attorney General's office.
Original South Dakota state flag—reverse. Photo SDAG, 2015.10.28.

But one must wonder: if Attorney General Marty Jackley can go all the way to Washington D.C. to track down a flag that, as former Gant flunky Pat Powers warns, may not even be the original flag, why can’t he send some agents to Aberdeen to apprehend Joop Bollen for his multi-million-dollar EB-5 racket?


  1. 96Tears 2015-10-28 14:49

    Excellent point, Cory! Hundreds of millions stolen by white collar criminals are ignored. But you steal one old state flag, or lie on your petitions to gain ballot access against a protect Republican, governor candidate Marty Jackley’s going to throw the book at you.

    As racket boss Mike Rounds calls it, another example of good ol’ fashioned South Dakota common sense!

  2. Roger Cornelius 2015-10-28 15:05

    Dang republicans, if they can’t steal cash they steal flags.

  3. Daniel Buresh 2015-10-28 15:29

    “Hundreds of millions stolen by white collar criminals are ignored.”

    Just because you keep repeating it doesn’t make it true….More like 96Beers

  4. moses 2015-10-28 15:45

    How many criminals went to jail from the 2008 almost depression,Congress people we will make sure we find out who they are right>

  5. Rorschach 2015-10-28 15:51

    I’m surprised we’re even hearing about this. Surely the preferable party way of handling some connected Republican appointee would have been to quietly ask them to return the flag that the public didn’t even know was missing and nothing would ever be spoken of it. There must have been too many people who knew about it that they felt they couldn’t keep it hush hush and had to do something.

  6. mikeyc, that's me! 2015-10-28 16:08

    Red herring?

  7. mike from iowa 2015-10-28 16:10

    Justice Department cleared the IRS of any criminal wrongdoing and today wingnuts filed impeachment charges against the new head of IRS who wasn’t in office when the alleged scandal took place. Wingnuts have lowered the impeachment threshold from a Dem lying about sex to one being appointed by Obama and they also have plans to file impeachment charges against HRC if she wins the election next year before she is even sworn in.As long as I’m off topic,former SOH wingnut Hastert,Mr Straight Arrow,plead guilty to some damn thing or another and might not serve any time in prison because-freedumb.

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-10-28 16:16

    Daniel, the fact that we repeat it does not make it false. And the things I’ve said about Joop Bollen’s crimes are true.

  9. Rorschach 2015-10-28 16:21

    Here’s the excuse likely given by the flag thief: “We were cleaning out our offices and I saw that old flag in the garbage can and I rescued it. All I knew is that is was a worn out old flag that somebody threw away. You guys should be thanking me for saving it – not charging me with a crime.”

  10. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-10-28 16:22

    Rohr, indeed, the public announcement and handling of the situation does seem surprising. How many people could have known about it? I wouldn’t think people in the office would have known—one guy/gal grabs the flag out of the drawer, no one notices until this year… who would know who had it? And how would one find it? Go through the current employee directory, then go through the past employee directory. DCI finds the culprit, who offers a weak “oopsie!” like what Rohr suggests. DCI gets the flag, AG quietly slaps the culprit’s wrist (perhaps by uninviting him/her from the next big Lincoln Day Dinner, and that’s the end of the show.

    Instead we get a press release and a promise of a big shoe to drop. It sounds like they want us all watching. MikeyC, maybe there is some red herring here… but I just can’t buy the idea that creating distractions like this is a net gain for anyone in power.

    Rohr, would the scenario we see suggest that the culprit has fallen out of favor with the party over some other issue?

  11. mike from iowa 2015-10-28 16:51

    It is snowing in Obrien Co,iowa. Gant was careless,to say the least. Did Rounds or Janklow sell the rights to the sunshine state to Florida for big bucks and keep the money?

  12. mike from iowa 2015-10-28 16:59

    The auditor said in his report the flag used to be displayed but then disappeared and no one could account for it. When I saw it said the sunshine state,I thought it was a bad joke.

  13. jerry 2015-10-28 17:51

    Daniel is now following the meme of the Bos, just like peas and carrots these two. It must hurt to know that corrupted state is not declared by anyone other than the Federal government, ouch.

  14. grudznick 2015-10-28 17:52

    Tsk tsk, Mr. Gant. This is why there should be primary elections for these type of offices and not the hardcore whackos only at the GOP convention appointing them. Tsk tsk. But you all need to remember that Mr. PP was no longer employed there when all these things were liberated. I’m just sayin…

  15. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-10-28 18:19

    Aberdeen’s getting occasional sleet, not snow, Mike. Like charges of corruption against the SDGOP leadership, it’s not sticking… yet. :-D

    Sunshine State—oh, Mike! We should most certainly fly that flag over this investigation.

  16. John 2015-10-28 20:19

    So, with which Washington DC SD “office” was the alleged flag criminal associated: Thune, Rounds, or Noem?

  17. Curt 2015-10-29 01:33

    The ‘herring’ may not be red, but there is plenty of fishy stuff to be uncovered … if anyone is looking for it.
    BTW, no snow (yet) in the Hills – just clear and frosty.

  18. leslie 2015-10-29 01:50

    Daniel: red herring? Maybe. The USCIS termination notice caught Daugaard/Rounds flat footed, possibly. They may have thought when Brendan and the the FBI waved off, they dodged a bullet.

    And it sets them up for more scrutiny and very bad news in 30 days. Meanwhile of course, the whole state has been traumatized by the ugliness in Platte potentially involving BOR and Regents or the Indian community. Let’s hope not. Every thinking person in the state is awaiting that next shoe to drop.

    Then we have idiots like Gant and petition mockery, Joel Arends and Trump, the threat the Kochs represent to taking over and manipulating a weak state, as they do, and the sacrificing of the state to secret nuclear waste dump processes below ground, again involving the Regents, while they have successfully lobbied for MCEC’s administration, which is no surprise given the Regents political power and money.

    So Jackley could just be a lackey for the operators, with this stupid flag prosecution slashed across the state. Squirrel!

    Fascinating. watching SDGOP spin out of control. And who is running things? Thune from D. C.? Noem may be compromised? Rounds-he looks to be in trouble. Daugaard from Pierre? Damage control? 2016 will be a great election so watch for EVERY restriction on low/middle class voters.

  19. leslie 2015-10-29 01:52


  20. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-10-29 08:11

    John, the Congressional offices of Rounds, Thune, and Noem are the first place I’d look for a former Gant employee caught with a stolen state flag in D.C. But the A.G. has made no such connection publicly; we can only speculate.

    At least one former Gant employee, Justin Lee Rollins, is on the Rounds staff:

    Also dear readers, I’m hearing that another staffer is joining Team Rounds as well. Justin Rollins has been named Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff. Justin was Deputy Director of Victory this cycle, consultant for GSG, Political Director for the SDGOP, and worked for Secretary of State Jason Gant [Pat Powers, “Senator-Elect Mike Rounds Announces Senior Leadership Team,” Dakota War College, 2014.12.18].

    But if I understand the timeline properly, Rollins only worked for Gant in 2011. Neither Jackley’s press release nor the Auditor General’s July 15, 2015, report indicate when the flag disappeared.

  21. Nick Nemec 2015-10-29 08:25

    And why wasn’t this flag kept in the State Cultural Heritage Center? I trust the historians and museum curators there more than I trust any of the political hacks staffing the offices of elected officials in that building a mile down Hilger’s Gulch.

  22. Flipper 2015-10-29 12:54

    Just love how Powers blows off the missing flag as being done by an employee who “treated it like a pen and ran off with it.”

  23. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-10-30 08:18

    Flipper, I’ll actually defend that particular statement:

    Yeah, it was too bad that an employee treated it like a pen, and ran off with it. But, if it is the genuine article, it’s best that it’s back home, and can get the care that was intended for it [Pat Powers, “Original State Flag of South Dakota Recovered by Attorney General’s Office and Criminal Charges Anticipated. That’s not good,” Dakota War College, 2015.10.28].

    That ending quote doesn’t sound like an effort to blow off the crime. Powers appears to be chastising the as-yet unnamed perp for treating the flag with such disrespect.

    The only blowing off I smelled in that post was Powers’s effort to cast doubt on the historical value of the flag. He emphasized that documentation proves that the flag in question was really the original state flag. That statement suggests that the crime may not be as egregious as it sounds, but even there, I’m willing to grant Powers leave to point out such facts.

  24. mike from iowa 2015-10-30 08:57

    Do you suppose I could walk off with the original draft(however many there were) of the constitution and use it for scratch paper?

  25. Todd Epp 2015-11-01 09:10

    The original obverse version of the flag is beautiful, simple and dignified. Too bad we didn’t keep it as our state flag instead of all the clutter we have on the current version.

  26. 90 Schilling 2015-11-01 13:57

    At least in some minds our state flag is not what it could be, Todd.

    It’s a given the most inadequate minds usually get to choose things that are completely out of their realm of abilities, such as our state flags.

  27. Roger Cornelius 2015-11-01 14:04

    90 Schilling,

    Wouldn’t you know it, the South Dakota flag is ranked right up there Mississippi as the worst flags.

    There is seems to be a pattern with South Dakota and Mississippi, we rank right up there with corruption as well.

  28. grudznick 2015-11-01 14:23

    Was Mr. Gant arrested immediately following his testimony in front of the Government Audit Committee? I would think there were armed guards outside the doors waiting to nab him before he could escape the building at a dead run.

  29. grudznick 2015-11-01 14:27

    I hope they smite the Flag Thief with the mightiest of charges that can be brought and I hope KEVN covers the trial.

  30. John M. Nelson 2015-11-02 12:46

    Daniel: “’Hundreds of millions stolen by white collar criminals are ignored.’ Just because you keep repeating it doesn’t make it true….More like 96Beers”
    So where did all that money go? As Deep Throat (FBI Associate Director Mark Felt) said, “Follow the money.”

  31. Kay 2015-11-02 12:57

    why is it just now coming to light that we had an original flag missing? How in the name of all the boys club members did they track down the offender? Someone had to know he had the flag so who ever knew that should be punished right along side of the keeper of the flag. OUR flag. When you work for crooked people you have the tendency to think you deserve your share of what you want.

  32. leslie 2015-11-02 14:12

    In attempts to follow the money these last few years, $600,000,000 of churning has been identified. joop took the records. the state let him. the state GOP cover-ed up for rounds and daugaard so they could win their elections. somewhere in there, repeating it does make it true. it was complicated. we are still waiting for long, jackley, johnson, the newest US atty and FBI to act. now thank god, obama has decided to use uscis to break this open. stay tuned.

  33. grudznick 2015-11-02 19:56

    That doesn’t seem like a very mighty charge of a crime. I had hoped they would smite this young fellow a lot more. He should have to take a walk of shame, too.

  34. Steve Sanchez 2015-11-02 20:09

    I’m sure it would have been considered more heinous, grudz, if that flag wasn’t in such poor condition. After all, Gant told Angela Kennecke the was taken down off a flag pole because it was ripping. Gant then said he put it in an office closet with the intention of putting it in a case to preserve it.

  35. Jana 2015-11-02 20:41

    Imagine this…OK it won’t be that hard.

    PP is cutting the thief a little slack. Not because he’s a forgiving and benevolent Christian, but because in his words.

    “Unless someone can produce iron clad documentation that it’s “the” flag, which I never saw evidence of, it’s just an antique flag.

    That’s not saying it isn’t the original flag, you just have to prove it. There might be a chain of custody that can be produced, but that could also be an impossible hurdle.

    If it can’t be proved, $400 is probably not out of line for a collector. ”

    Powers probably hired the kid and is now trying to lead the charge to make sure there are no consequences for a good GOP kid. Because you know…absolute power.

    Now what was it that the Pierre Capital Journal was saying about a one party system and corruption. Heck, steal and artifact… and if you are a Republican…it’s less than five fingering a candy bar at the Gas Stop.

    PP’s comments are testament to how corrupt this state is and the crooks don’t even get it. For them, it’s become business as usual.

  36. Jana 2015-11-02 21:38

    I think what PP is saying is that the original or at least historic flag is worth less than 20 collector custard cups.

    I’ve also noticed that the GOP twitter sphere is pretty quiet about the EB-5, MCEC, Gant-PPGate scandals.

    One would think that the Governor would be thrilled to have the flag back and more than a little upset about the corruption that has stained his legacy…so much so that he would instruct his son-in-law to at least give 140 characters in a tweet.

    It’s like he’s saying “nothing to see here folk…move along…every thing is under control.”

    Although his attention to how cute the Lt. Gov and his wife were at Halloween was pretty important.

  37. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-03 06:09

    Jana, indeed, funny how they’ll niggle about the provenance and dollar value of the flag and ignore the main issue: this kid thought he was justified in taking state property from the Capitol because he thought it was cool.

    Wasn’t Garrett Devries a campaign stalker? Was he following Rick Weiland around with a video camera in 2014?

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