Dems try to tar Thune, Noem with scandal brush
Undated (KELO-AM) Their Democrat challengers in November are trying to wrap South Dakota Senator John Thune and U.S. Representative Kristi Noem in the folds of the EB-5 and Gear-up scandals.
Jay Williams says that Senator Thune sat on at least three congressional committees that dealt with the programs. The Yankton businessman says that based on the charges being leveled by South Dakota, it appears Thune was "derelict" in his duty to oversee the federal programs. Senator Mike Rounds also takes it on the chin from Williams because he was Governor at the time.
Noem's challenger, State Representative Paula Hawks, claims that Noem voted to extend EB-5 without first trying to reform the federal program. Hawks claims Noem broke her word.
The State Democratic Party is doubling down on Noem with an attack video that claims Noem broke her word on EB-5.
Noem's Chief of Staff, Jordan Stoick, responded to the charges by saying that Noem supports EB-5 reforms.
"The nine-month extension of the program was included in a broader bill that Rep. Noem thought contained provisions that benefited South Dakota," Stoick said, "including additional resources to take care of veterans and increase border security, a pay raise for our troops, funding for the Lewis & Clark water system and rural schools in South Dakota, and flexibility for the Indian Health Service to address the health care crisis facing tribal members in our state.
Stoick said that "had this vote been solely about EB-5, Rep. Noem wouldn’t have supported its extension without reforms.”
Both EB-5 and Gear-up have really heated up since criminal charges were filed in connection with the scandals. The latest charges involve Joop Bollen, who once oversaw EB-5 and is alleged to have improperly handled over a $1million.
EB-5 is tainted with the suicide of Former Economic Development Director Richard Benda and Gear-up will be forever linked to the Westerhuis murders-suicide.
- South Dakota
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