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Noem Picks up EB-5 Baton, Taps Jackley Gently with Measly $5 Million Missing

I’ve been working since 2009 to get South Dakota voters to pay attention to the stinky business of selling green cards to foreign investors via the EB-5 visa investment program. Jason Ravnsborg chickened out of challenging Mike Rounds on EB-5 in the 2014 Senate primary; Rick Weiland and Larry Pressler tried hammering Rounds with EB-5 in the 2014 general but got nowhere.

Maybe Kristi Noem and her million-dollar campaign chest will finally get the message across. She’s attacking Marty Jackley for his involvement with the EB-5 scandal, which made tens of millions of dollars go poof in just one foreign-funded project, Northern Beef Packers in Aberdeen, and resulted in one suicide and one judicial slap on the wrist. Out of all those mysterious missing millions, Noem is pointing an accusatory finger at Jackley over a mere $5 million missing from accounts managed by SDRC Inc., the corporate shell that South Dakota EB-5 czar Joop Bollen used to privatize his state job and gob-tuple his profits and keep EB-5 off the state books.

Team Jackley flusters about, cackling, What $5 million?… rather as they’ve cockatooed about any serious questions raised about South Dakota’s mishandling of EB-5. To remind you all what $5 million, please review the United States Customs and Immigration Service letter of September 28, 2015, reported on this blog on October 22, 2015, which finds South Dakota too unreliable and incompetent, if not downright corrupt, to handle EB-5 visa investments. Among other reasons, USCIS cites five million unaccounted-for dollars:

USCIS to SD GOED, 2015.09.28, p. 9.
USCIS to SD GOED, 2015.09.28, p. 9.

Now that’s Washington saying South Dakota lost track of $5 million, so Jackley will probably try to shrug that off as he does most of what Noem says as just some Washington nonsense. The problem for Jackley is that the sky doesn’t become orange just because someone in Washington says it’s blue. USCIS found that five-million-dollar discrepancy in South Dakota’s EB-5 books. South Dakota has never explained that discrepancy, and Jackley isn’t explaining it now.

Jackley became Attorney General in 2009, when that office was aware of legal shenanigans besetting the EB-5 program and threatening the state with millions in liability. Jackley  fumbled through inconsistent explanations for his lack of inquiry into the patently shady dealings of EB-5 back in 2014. EB-5 is complicated, so Noem may just be trying to tap Jackley with tiny chunks that Republican voters can process in the few remaining days before the primary.

But she’s right to tap him, and she should keep tapping and whacking on EB-5, harder every time, because I have yet to hear Marty Jackley give a good explanation for what happened in EB-5, where the missing $5 million and millions more went, and why he didn’t do more to rein that scam in.

Keep after EB-5, Kristi. Contrary to the spin of that GOP blog on which you waste good money, there’s a there there, for which Marty Jackley and other of your fellow Republicans should be held accountable.


  1. Roger Cornelius 2018-05-30

    Where was Noem when the EB-5 scandal going down?
    Obviously she is now using EB-5 scandal for political purposes to walk herself into the governor’s office.
    I don’t know how much of a role a congresswoman could have played back when this whole thing was festering, but certainly she would of had access to some government information.

  2. Jason 2018-05-30

    Where was Billy Sutton when the EB-5 scandal was going down?

  3. Roger Cornelius 2018-05-30

    Billie Sutton is not making the republican EB-5 scandal an issue.

  4. Jason 2018-05-30


    It wasn’t a “Republican” scandal.

    Where was he Roger?

  5. Jason 2018-05-30

    Speaking of scandals since you want to generalize Roger, Is the current Federal scandal a Democrat scandal or an Obama Scandal?

    It’s going to be bigger than Watergate.

  6. grudznick 2018-05-30

    I’d bet a Tallys Meatlover breakfast with gravy on the side that should Mr. Jackley win this primary, Mr. Sutton will make the E-B5 topic an issue.

  7. Jason 2018-05-30

    Why wasn’t Billy looking into the program back then Grudz?

  8. Roger Cornelius 2018-05-30

    All the players in the EB-5 scandal were republicans, everyone of them.
    The same goes for Gear-Up.
    Billie Sutton doesn’t have to make EB-5 topic until after Labor Day when the real campaigning starts.

  9. Jason 2018-05-30

    What does their party affiliation have to do with their actions Roger?

    Should I call Obama’s Administration scandal a Democrat scandal?

  10. Roger Cornelius 2018-05-30

    Party affiliation is important because it shows a pattern of corruption in a republican state.
    I’m not aware of any Democrat or President Obama scandal of the same magnitude of the Trump/GOP scandal.

  11. Kurt Evans 2018-05-30

    Cory writes:

    Keep after EB-5, Kristi. Contrary to the spin of that GOP blog on which you waste good money, there’s a there there, for which Marty Jackley and other of your fellow Republicans should be held accountable.

    That GOP blog has been removing pro-Noem comments by the dozen for months.

  12. Jason 2018-05-30


    A program is a pattern?

    They are saying the Obama scandal is bigger than Watergate.

    There is no Trump scandal.

    I wonder what SD residents think about Obama spying on Trump’s campaign and not prosecuting Hillary for breaking the law?

  13. Roger Cornelius 2018-05-30

    “program is a pattern”?
    Who said that?

  14. Jason 2018-05-30

    You forgot the “A” Roger.

    The SD Democrat problem is SD residents get their news from reliable sources. KFYR-AM and KELO-AM.

    They get their news from the Radio, not TV since they are working.

  15. Nick Reid 2018-05-31

    Amen, brother.

  16. mike fom iowa 2018-05-31

    What’s the scandal scorecard read now? HRC-no indictments or convictions over 30 plus years. Obama admin. no indictments and no convictions in 8 years. Drumpf scandals- Oops, my Richter scale crashed in less than 18 months of Drumpf’s administration being indicted with convictions and more indictments coming.

    Yeah, Jason. Move along. Nothing to see, right?

  17. mike fom iowa 2018-05-31

    Jason’s tenuous grasp of coming Obama scandals is slipping, like his grasp on sanity and reality.

  18. Roger Cornelius 2018-05-31

    mike from iowa
    What makes the Trump/Putin scandal worse then it already is the fact that everything that comes out of Trump’s mouth is a lie.
    Trump simply cannot tell the truth about anything and when he isn’t lying he’s making excuses and finding someone to blame for his lies and failures.

  19. Dana P 2018-05-31

    Hi, I’m Jason. I’m a full supporter of “whataboutisms”. (usually without evidence)

    I sure hope South Dakotans are tired of Ms Noem’s antics and send her packing next week. Yes, the multiple scandals are bad in South Dakota and they deserve much attention. And yes, Jackley needs nailed on it. All of it where he has it coming. But jeez, where has Ms Noem been? Her faux outrage about these scandal is just that. Fake. It only “matters” to her when it might be politically expedient.

    And Ms Noem, attempting to make the case that she just hates corruption — all the while, she has turned her head and looked the other way, each and every time a scandal rears its ugly head involving her man, Mr Trump. Ms Noem is a fake. Always has been, always will be.

  20. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-05-31

    In asking where Sutton was and in saying EB-5 doesn’t merit a party label, Jason concedes that EB_5 is a scandal worth talking about and voting on. Jason concedes it’s worth punishing candidates who were involved in EB-5 or failed to use the power they had available to investigate the scandal and punish the scammers. Cool.

    In South Dakota’s EB-5 program, all may be punishèd. The current punishment voters can dish out is by voting for Noem and putting Jackley out of work, if they indeed feel that Jackley bears more responsibility for the scandal than Noem. I’d grant that point: Jackley is a central player in EB-5; Noem is peripheral (unless someone can surprise me with information about actions she might have taken while in the Legislature from 2007 to 2010 to promote EB-5 or connections she might have to EB-5-funded dairies in Hamlin County).

    We can advance to the question of which gubernatorial nominee bears more responsibility for EB-5 will come during the general election. If somehow we learn that Sutton did as much to promulgate EB-5 corruption as the GOP nominee did, then we can all vote for Kurt Evans. But let’s not confuse the voters. Let’s get through the primary first.

  21. leslie 2018-05-31

    Jason when we all here daily labored over corey’s EB5 investigative reporting of the complex, hidden machinations of SD GOP led by rounds, daugaard, jackley, Regents, NSU, GOAC t to keep a lid on the $600M churning of crony money as it came out in an election year which the state tried to blame on the Feds and a suicide, you were no where.

  22. leslie 2018-05-31

    Their lawyers, paid by the state, did a marvelous job of obfuscation, as they were copied in on everything.

  23. grudznick 2018-05-31

    Mr. C, were Roger Campbell and Lou Ann Werdell Republicans? Are even half of the employees in the Education Department Republicans? I doubt it. They were all probably not Libertarians, or card-carrying Socialists.

  24. Roger Cornelius 2018-05-31

    I know Roger Campbell but have never discussed his party affiliation.
    Lou Ann Werdell never discussed her party affiliation with me.
    In all my years of being a Democrat, I never once met a “card-carrying Socialist”. Do you know where I can get one of those socialist cards?

  25. Spike 2018-05-31

    Campbell republican

    Werdell fired for being a democrat

    Just kidding… fired for asking a couple questions

    Back to EB-5. … Pat Duffy always said. ..follow the money

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