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To Defend Us from Communist China, Noem Proposes Communist Veto Power over Property Sales

Kristi Noem won her job as Governor by promising not to bloat government. She has proven that promise false with a stream of new hires and her latest bloated budget.

In another instance of expanding government to prop up her political posture, Governor Noem now wants to create a new board, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States–South Dakota (CFIUSSD—even the name is bloated) to play at foreign policy ahead of a 2024 Presidential campaign.

The CFIUSSD would investigate proposed purchases of farms and ranches to “prevent nations who hate us—like Communist China—from buying up our state’s agricultural land.” The legislators who will carry the Governor’s water on this proposal during Session say we need the CFIUSSD to stop China from choking off our food supply:

“For those of us who have lived and worked on the land, we know that it’s our past, but also our future,” said Senator Erin Tobin. “We grow the world’s food, and we need to protect the security of that food supply for our kids” [Office of the Governor, press release, 2022.12.13].

Gee, I remember the good old days when South Dakota’s leaders, including Kristi Noem herselfencouraged China to invest in South Dakota’s agricultural and other commercial resources, when we sent state officials to China and flew Chinese poobahs to Pierre to meet with the Governor to beg Chinese investors to invest in South Dakota’s ag industry.

Of course, China doesn’t need to buy up farmland to exert control over our food supply. China just needs to buy up more processors, like Smithfield Foods. (Hey, is that why Noem campaigned for the second slaughterhouse in Sioux Falls, to drive Smithfield’s packing plant out of business and shift the area hog business to an American-owned company?)

CFIUSSD boosters are also warning that the Chinese could buy up ranchland and set up spy bases and anti-aircraft guns:

“With vital national security resources like Ellsworth Air Force Base, we cannot afford for our enemies to purchase land in South Dakota,” said Representative-elect Gary Cammack. “We want to keep this land in the hands of South Dakota agriculture producers. I look forward to working with Governor Noem and my colleagues to guarantee the continued security of our state and nation” [Governor, 2022.12.13].

Yes, the floor speeches on the CFIUSSD bill should be hilarious.

Also hilarious is the fact that this bill, meant to fight Communist China, would give South Dakota’s governor a stunningly Communist power: the power to approve or deny any ag land purchase:

The plan creates a new board, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States – South Dakota (CFIUS-SD), which will investigate proposed purchases of ag land by foreign interests and recommend either approval or denial to the Governor [Governor, 2022.12.13].

Think about that for a moment: if you want to sell your property, you have to inform the Governor and get her permission. If the Governor doesn’t like your buyer, the Governor can veto your sale. Government dictating to whom you can and cannot sell your property—that’s Communism, right?

That’s certainly unconstitutional—un-state-constitutional! South Dakota’s bill of rights, Article 6 of the state constitution, leads off with the declaration that the inherent rights of “all men” include “acquiring and protecting property.” Article 6 Section 1 does not distinguish Chinese property buyers from South Dakotan or Minnesotan or Dutch or Korean property buyers; it ascribes the inherent right of acquiring property to all people. Article 6 Section 14 making any distinction “between resident aliens and citizens, in reference to the possession, enjoyment or descent of property.” So if a Chinese investor comes here on a green card (again, something we used to encourage) or just buys an RV and licenses it in Sioux Falls, that Chinese investor enjoys the same constitutional right to buy or sell a bushel of corn, a corn field, or a corn ethanol plant as Walt Bones. And if Governor Noem and the Legislature try to stop the Chinese from trading in South Dakota land, the Chinese will do something else that South Dakota encourages: form a shell corporation, or however many shells are necessary to hide the identity of the actual owners, assign titular ownership to a nice white fellow on Phillips Avenue, and send lawyers to tell the Governor to keep her darn government hands off their constitutional right to property.

Expect the Communist Chinese shell company lawyers to also invoke Article 6 Section 18, the equal privileges or immunities clause, which says the state can’t grant “to any citizen, class of citizens or corporation, privileges or immunities which upon the same terms shall not equally belong to all citizens or corporations.” The CFIUSSD would make buying ag land a special privilege of certain corporations and exclude others from exercising that constitutional right.

We eagerly await the bill Noem, Tobin, and Cammack promise to bring to the 2023 Session. We eagerly await the speeches they will make to defend South Dakota from Chinese Communism with homegrown Communism and government overreach. And Governor Noem gets to sign this bill, we look forward to the silk-suited lawsuit that will quickly destroy the CFIUSSD and the Governor’s effort to subject land purchases to her personal approval.


  1. sx123 2022-12-15 07:24

    She actually said China hates us.

  2. Richard Schriever 2022-12-15 08:19

    So much for good old free market principles of economics. And evidently Sd is only keeping “some” business open despite any obstacle nature (genetics??) has thrown up.

  3. larry kurtz 2022-12-15 08:32

    Recall Mrs. Noem called Georgia’s two Democratic US Senators, Communists. Probably not coincidental to her political grandstanding is the flight of talent from the state and calls by its entire congressional delegation to ease immigration rules.

  4. John 2022-12-15 08:46

    Consider taking a glance at what occurs when the state immerses itself in private property – “Woman in Gold”, streaming on Netflix.
    Essentially the Russians are doing thing largely similar in Ukraine.

  5. ArielMN 2022-12-15 08:49

    This rings highly ironic, “For those of us who have lived and worked on the land, we know that it’s our past, but also our future,” said Senator Erin Tobin.
    I am certain the Native population, who were here long before white people, felt much the same way. How much did THAT get honored?

  6. Loren 2022-12-15 08:58

    Larry’s comment made me wonder, if Kristi thinks the Senators from Georgia are “communist,” would she allow one of them to buy land in SD? :-)

  7. Donald Pay 2022-12-15 08:58

    Food security is an important issue, but this is not food security. It’s a political gimmick. If it ever became law, it would be a totalitarian instrument. The apparatchiks she appoints to this board have to delve deeply into a South Dakota farmers’ or ranchers’ personal finances. Any contracts, bank statements and tax returns would have to be closely scrutinized, so that it could be determined if the said farmer or rancher was obtaining any money or other consideration from a foreign entity that Noem thinks “hates us.” You don’t like IRS agents auditing you? Well, welcome to Noem’s Nazis scrutinizing your every financial transaction.

    If she wanted food security, she wouldn’t allow the siting of 5% of the nation’s hog slaughter in Sioux Falls. It’s not so much that a Chinese company owns one of those entities; it’s that a tornado could wipe out 5% of the slaughter for a long time, creating, if not starvation, at least supply disruption and economic impact. Move the plant 20 or 30 miles and you improve food security.

    China doesn’t “hate” the US. It has national priorities and goals, and sometimes they conflict with those of the US. Figuring out how to negotiate those issues doesn’t require a totalitarian board.

    My own feelings are that US farmland should be owned by US citizens, not corporations, banks, or countries. I feel the same about US mineral interests, but then Noem has entered a deal with a foreign company at the Gilt Edge Superfund Site that will allow it to take South Dakota gold. Maybe we need to scrutinize that deal.

    I have a little leeway for foreign nationals since many of us had ancestors who came to South Dakota from foreign lands to settle here. We need to be open to people who want to come here and prosper.

  8. Mark Anderson 2022-12-15 10:51

    Well, South Dakota did well with poor Norskies, it’s hard to attract them now. It would be a definite come down. Even Trump couldn’t get those socialist’s to move here.
    The Chinese communists don’t move here, they just buy here. South Dakota’s cheap. They could build that gun range near Rapid. A win win. Don’t let time run out Noem, tick tock, tick tock.

  9. bearcreekbat 2022-12-15 11:21

    Wait a minute, Reportedly pro-gun Gary Cammack wants Noem to stop SD residents (i.e. “people”) who happen to be from China from setting up bases with “anti-aircraft guns?” I thought Cammack’s view was that this is South Dakota where the literal language of the 2nd Amendment means something (except for that troublesome “militia” nonsense).,S,R,E,F,P

    “The people” as used in the 2nd Amendment does not have any exception excluding “people” from other countries who reside in the SD from the “right of the people to keep and bear Arms.” And certainly “anti-aircraft guns are “Arms” within the meaning of the 2nd Amendment just as much as AR-15s and AK 47s are Arms. One would think that Cammack would be urging Noem to protect the right of “the people” to own and use an “anti-aircraft gun.”

    And if the 2nd Amendment is designed to enable “the people” to protect themselves from an oppressive government, shouldn’t anti-aircraft guns be the exact type of modern Arms needed to stop government war planes and drones from interfering with property rights, such as the property right to acquire ag land to use for non-ag purposes? I would think that Cammack and SD’s 2nd Amendment crowd would be “up in arms” protesting any restrictions on “anti-aircraft” Arms.

  10. P. Aitch 2022-12-15 11:33

    Remember when your Governor went to China trying to sell SD cheese to a country with well over 90% of its population being lactose intolerant?
    Apparently, China has developed a way to move farmland from USA to China.
    Wouldn’t it be easier to, during times of war, to just annul Chinese deeds of ownership?

  11. P. Aitch 2022-12-15 11:36

    PS: “What’s more MAGA than playing the hate card at Christmas?” – Vote Noem – Because You Don’t Just Hate Yourself

  12. Richard Schriever 2022-12-15 13:11

    Well Donald, “My own feelings are that US farmland should be owned by US citizens, not corporations, banks, or countries.”

    In FACT, ALL real property in the US IS owned (held by sovereign title) by the citizens of the US via the corporate bodies called states. Those individuals and corporations other to the US states who knight hold a title in fee simple are actually only “owners” of those pieces of paper, which make the obligation to abide by the laws of the states and pay their rent feed (property taxes) transferable to other individuals or corporate entities – other to a US State.

    There are no Chinese “owners” of real property. none – not one square inch. This is all a pure political sham.

  13. Richard Schriever 2022-12-15 13:18

    bcb – You are correct, of course. Further, the constitution of the US guarantees all of the rights enumerated and not therein, to ALL PERSONS who happen to be present on US soil, regardless of their citizenship status, race, gender, language, etc. “All men (humans) are created EQUAL.” Those are the foundational words.

  14. Observer 2022-12-15 19:44

    I remember President Trump saying farmers will be buying bigger tractors because of the great trade deal that he will make with China.
    I also remember someone giving President Trump a statue of Mt Rushmore with his likeness on it.

  15. Observer 2022-12-15 19:45


  16. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-12-16 05:05

    SX: yes, how can they hate us when we are their #1 customer? The last thing any player in the world wants is a collapse of American capitalism.

  17. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-12-16 05:07

    Loren, she did say the CFIUSSD is intended to stop purchases by any nations who hate us, and her party likes to pretend that Democratic states aren’t the real America, so, yeah! I’d say she could easily expand her land-purchase veto to block Communist buyers from Georgia. ;-)

  18. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-12-16 05:12

    Good extrapolation of my tease, BCB! Suppose the Chinese did buy up land and start stockpiling arms there, maybe even setting up a gun training range for their secret overseas police. How can Noem stop them?

    And hey: isn’t Congress supposed to be in charge of interstate and international commerce? If a Chinese corporation can buy property in Minnesota, and if it says it wants to buy land to support that Minnesota operation in South Dakota, doesn’t the Commerce Clause stop South Dakota from interfering?

  19. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-12-16 05:14

    Donald is absolutely right that “food security” is a pose here, not a consistently upheld policy goal. The biggest threat to food security is climate change wrecking our crops and rendering our land unarable, but South Dakota government isn’t doing anything about that threat.

  20. larry kurtz 2022-12-16 13:46

    South Dakota’s current Republican governor isn’t about self-reliance because she’s wedded to moral hazard.

    Recall US Representative Kristi Noem voted against federal disaster assistance when acts of god ravaged blue states. A tornado hit her home town of Castlewood and Noem praised her god for sparing her campaign war chest because science karma chickens come home to roost where the governor is a climate change denier.

    In 2019 she was quick to ask the Trump Organization for disaster cash but when she asks a Democratic president for help, especially after blaming him for an infant formula shortage, inflation and Communism she’s admitting she’s dependent on federal aid.

    But if she doesn’t she risks looking like a miserable partisan and South Dakota sure could spend the money; so this is how red states finance infrastructure improvements while bitching about Big Government, right Kristi?

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