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GOED Explains Wonderful County-CAFO Bribe Program

On May 15 the Governor’s Office of Economic Development hosted a webinar on its new CAFO-county bribe program. GOED appears not to have YouTubalized that webinar yet, but the slides are available online. Here are the highlights, with translations:

Joe Fiala, GOED Community Development Director
Joe Fiala, GOED Community Development Director

Joe Fiala, GOED Community Development Director, looks sharp and ready to deal. But why do we call the position “Community Development Director” when the factory feedlots the state is bribing counties to permit will drive neighboring community members to live elsewhere?

GOED, Livestock Development Projects, 2019.05.15, Slide #8.
GOED, Livestock Development Projects, 2019.05.15, Slide #8.

Kristi Noem campaigned on promises to change Pierre, but GOED lists state government’s objectives in the same old order of importance: business literally über alles.

GOED, Livestock Development Projects, 2019.05.15, Slide #11.
GOED, Livestock Development Projects, 2019.05.15, Slide #11.
GOED, Livestock Development Projects, 2019.05.15, Slide #13.
GOED, Livestock Development Projects, 2019.05.15, Slide #13.

The state refuses to let counties levy sales taxes of their own to pay for all the law enforcement and corrections costs that the state has shirked onto them. But if counties will surrender to corporate livestock producers who need special exceptions from the zoning rules us commoners follow to build their massive meat-, milk-, and poop-generating facilities, then the state will dribble out some sales tax dollars.

GOED, Livestock Development Projects, 2019.05.15, Slide #14.
GOED, Livestock Development Projects, 2019.05.15, Slide #14.

The GOED CAFO bribes follow a slightly circuitous route. The GOED statutes don’t appear to allow for direct transfer of sales tax rebates to counties, so it looks as if GOED will strike the same deals with the factory feedlot developers but write a clause into their contract requiring that the developers cough their cashback back to the county. I suppose the CAFO developers will figure they still come out ahead, since without the bribes, they wouldn’t have been able to build anything in the target counties.

GOED, Livestock Development Projects, 2019.05.15, Slide #15.
GOED, Livestock Development Projects, 2019.05.15, Slide #15.
GOED, Livestock Development Projects, 2019.05.15, Slide #16.
GOED, Livestock Development Projects, 2019.05.15, Slide #16.

For a ten-million-dollar CAFO, a county could get $450,000, to do with however they please. Note the emphasis on fixing roads. If the county has any money left from its CAFO bribe, maybe the commissioners can offer some matching funds for a water quality grant.

GOED, Livestock Development Projects, 2019.05.15, Slide #18.
GOED, Livestock Development Projects, 2019.05.15, Slide #18.

And look who gets to handle the GOED CAFO bribes closest to Pierre, in the Huron-Aberdeen-Mobridge quadrangle? The Governor’s imminent son-in-law, Kyle Peters. Boy, the Governor sure wants to make sure Kyle is home every night for supper….

GOED, Livestock Development Projects, 2019.05.15, Slide #19.
GOED, Livestock Development Projects, 2019.05.15, Slide #19.

Local control. 100%. You bet. Pierre waves a six-figure check at you, and you don’t see the wisdom of Mark Mickelson’s narrow vision of turning every corner of South Dakota outside Sioux Falls city limits into a CAFO for his clients, no problem—you have every right to stay in the dark ages with your silly fresh air and clean water.

GOED, Livestock Development Projects, 2019.05.15, Slide #22.
GOED, Livestock Development Projects, 2019.05.15, Slide #22.

Sign up now! GOED is excited to work with you county commissioners… because three or five guys whom we can buy off with a windfall that prevents hard budget decisions are a lot easier to persuade than the rural residents who will have to sell their homes at a loss when they move to someplace with breathable air.

13 Comments

  1. jerry 2019-05-23 14:18

    Smells like EB-5 to me. You just know someone is gonna get screwed while some politico’s get rich. Then someone gets murdered and we go back to square 1. Joop redux

  2. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-05-23 14:53

    I wonder, Jerry. There’s not nearly as much money at stake here; $500K was the price for one EB-5 visa, and Joop Bollen processed hundreds of those visa investments, making a nice percentage off each. I suppose the counties could get $500K per CAFO and invite a bunch of CAFOs in… but if the money goes to public coffers, we’ll have the opportunity to watch it far better than we had to watch the EB-5 dollars, especially once that program was privatized. I don’t see the middleman here who can easily profit.

    The CAFO bribes feel more like extortion than venal, self-interested corruption: throw out your zoning rules, approve every variance requested by the big hog and dairy boys, or you’ll never get any extra revenue from the state.

  3. Donald Pay 2019-05-23 15:39

    I’m not sure his strategy will work as they think it will. When I was in South Dakota I had a lot of respect for local governments’ ability to sniff out Pierre-based corruption and dirty politics. They can sniff it out as it travels on the pleasant rural breezes. The problem now will be that every decision of every county commission on these issues is now be suspect. Even good projects will have the taint of Noem’s corruption on it. That, more than anything else, might tilt commissioners against projects.

    I have to wonder if Noem didn’t pick this bad idea up from Obama’s “consent process” for nuclear waste that was not that successful in Spink and Haakon County. Before that, every large-scale dump operator that ever tried to hornswoggle a county commissioner in South Dakota used a similar ruse. Treating local governments as prostitutes is a bad idea. Most have more respect for themselves than that. Most commissioners take their oaths of office and their respect for local input much more seriously than Noem takes hers. Noem thinks her constituents are prostitutes, who can be bought with a few grants. Maybe some can, but most will look at this as bribery.

  4. jerry 2019-05-23 16:13

    True that, but this is in the early stage of the game. These guys have used this kind of Pigeon Trap before, so why not use it again. Start small and then move on up to the big targets, that is where you catch the whales that have the money and how to fleece them out of it.

    “PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A new public document in a lawsuit indicates that the relationship between state government and Joop Bollen — the central figure in South Dakota’s fatal and convoluted EB-5 scandal — began to develop and strengthen earlier than previously reported and was cemented during the administration of the late former governor Bill Janklow.

    That’s one of numerous revelations in the transcript of a four-hour deposition of Bollen that includes previously unknown details about his life, his early involvement with state government, and his role in converting a relatively small, international dairy-recruitment project into a lucrative investment-for-visa processing center. Another revelation was the extent to which Bollen insisted that high-ranking officials in the administration of former Gov. Mike Rounds, and officials at Northern State University and with the state Board of Regents, knew and approved of even the most controversial of his EB-5 activities.”
    https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/south-dakota/articles/2018-10-20/deposition-uncovers-details-about-south-dakota-visa-scandal

    Old dogs can’t learn new tricks, but they don’t forget the ones they know.

  5. John 2019-05-23 19:40

    If there is ever a state office needing a hard-nosed 3d party independent audit its GOED.
    If the feds are able to audit the Pentagon, then certainly modest SD is able to audit GOED.
    If only the SD legislature were not toothless.

  6. Rebecca 2019-05-23 19:42

    The CAFO developer (applicant) must apply for and get approval from the GOED for the rebate *ahead of* the county’s Conditional Use Permit hearing. That means the CAFO developer is walking into the CUP hearing not just with their application and the supposed merits of the project, but dangling a big (if it’s a big project) wad of cash for starving counties.

    I would not want to be a Board of Adjustment member in this situation.
    The state just created for them a very serious conflict of interest.
    But, that seems to be the point.

  7. grudznick 2019-05-23 21:03

    Mr. John, is there not a Auditor of The Legislatures who audits this GOED all the time? If there is not an auditor, they by gum there should be 3.

  8. Donald Pay 2019-05-23 21:17

    As Rebecca points out, it’s even worse than even I could image. It’s just out-and-out an illegal bribing mechanism. If I were a county commissioner, I’d be very, very reluctant to ever approve one of those. The GOED process is steeped in corruption and secrecy to begin with.

  9. Debbo 2019-05-23 23:44

    I’m with Don in that county commissioners are more difficult to manipulate. They live and govern full time in the midst of the people who elected them. They don’t run off to Pierre and operate in secrecy in hidden caucuses or sign pledges. They’re visible and public.

  10. leslie 2019-05-24 00:48

    Jerry, thx for the EB5 update about Joop’s earlier obscured nefariousness and the Regents, university and Rounds officials high level oversight. What is the transcript proceeding? The turkey should not be a senator. But then there’s GWB and now Trump too. Even Reagan and Kavanaugh. It looks like all the GOP can accomplish is to place incompetent politicians. I guess that is the point for reptiles like Leader McConnell. House cleaning time for Republican conspirators before and during 2020’s election! Hope hope hope.

  11. jerry 2019-05-24 08:51

    Got my email from EB5 Rounds regarding the taxpayer bailout of the farmers. EB5 Rounds blames China for the “disrupted markets” instead of blaming himself for his lack of representation of the South Dakota farmers. This is the same kind of thinking that the crooks will try to use on county commissioners to sway thinking (along with gifts, nod nod, wink wink) for the CAFO’s. Same old song and dance but with a slow rhythm until the tube steak boogie, and then look out, it’s Joop and company singing the rap.

    “Today, President Trump and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the details of its latest ‘trade aid’ package to help farmers and ranchers adversely affected by ongoing trade disputes. These programs are designed to help our ag producers recoup losses from disrupted markets.

    Specifically, the president has authorized USDA to provide up to $16 billion, which the administration says is “in line with the estimated impacts of unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods and other trade disruptions.”

    South Dakota’s ag producers have been at the tip of the spear in our trade negotiations. At a time when farmers and ranchers are facing the worst agricultural crisis since the 1980s, it’s more important than ever the administration finalizes lucrative trade deals that are good for American producers. We’re glad to see the administration recognize the disproportionate hardship the trade disputes are having on our farmers and ranchers by taking steps to help them mitigate their losses. However, we need stable, long-term trade deals in place as quickly as possible to provide our producers with much-needed certainty.” EB5 Rounds email bull puckey caused by republicans and Nikita trump.

  12. Debbo 2019-05-24 11:21

    Jerry said, “Same old song and dance but with a slow rhythm until the tube steak boogie, and then look out, it’s Joop and company singing the rap.”

    Jerry, that’s just perfect and so colorful it made me laugh! Thanks!

  13. Jim 2019-09-29 01:12

    We just had a hog CAFO approved in Hand County with this stinky money attatched to it.
    The excuses our Commissioners used were, “our hands were tied” and “we were required by law to vote yes.”
    No one even seems to address the fact that this is also discriminatory towards family sized farms. Hand County’s environment is being sold.

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