Saturday, April 4, 2015

Lucas: SDGOP egos forced breaches of constitution

The legislative process of raising the speed limit to 80 miles per hour on interstates is a stellar example of how political ego can trump legislative rules and the state Constitution. The proposal to increase the speed limit on interstates was not posted to the public, but rather offered as a surprise amendment. While amendments to legislative bills and resolutions are necessary and important, one that allows a new proposal to be entered into the committee discussion without public notification is a violation of the legislative process. Senate Bill 1 violates the state’s Constitution. Article III Section 21 states “No law shall embrace more than one subject, which shall be expressed in its title.” Senate Bill 1, as passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor, clearly has two subjects — one to increase taxes and fees for public roads and bridges and another to increase the speed limit on interstate highways.
Read it here.

A report from a GOP-heavy legislative committee has blamed the dead former Governors Office of Economic Development employee, Richard Benda, for the EB-5 scandal:
Democrats on the committee disagreed with the conclusion that Benda was the sole person at fault. "I don't believe that Richard Benda was the only one involved in this," said state Sen. Larry Lucas, D-Mission. The committee deliberately decided not to investigate the private company Bollen founded to help run the EB-5 program, SDRC Inc. Lucas stood by his call for more investigations into Bollen's private company. In particular, he highlighted the question of who owned SDRC Inc. Bollen founded the company in January 2008 but told the committee in written remarks that he didn't consider himself the company's owner for another year and a half. "I believe... that there are state laws that have been broken, particularly by Joop Bollen," Lucas said. Democrats, Lucas said, are considering filing a "minority report" about EB-5 -- though it's unclear whether the committee's rules allow a formal minority report. [David Montgomery, Sioux Falls Argus Leader]
As former US Attorney for the District of South Dakota Brendan Johnson moves into private practice the US Department of Justice has refused to trust the state's attorney general with sensitive information in the EB-5 scandal.
The Department of Justice is refusing to release records related to former cabinet secretary Richard Benda, who was at the heart of a state and federal investigation into the state's EB-5 program. The department declined the Argus Leader's request for Benda's FBI file, indicating the matter remains under investigation. The department's response to a Freedom of Information Act request said that releasing the records "could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings." Also included in the investigation was the Department of Justice's Public Integrity unit, which investigates allegations of corruption among elected and appointed government officials.​ The attorney general's office is defending itself from a lawsuit brought by journalist Bob Mercer, who is trying to force the office to release more information about the Benda investigation. [Jonathan Ellis]
The SDGOP's culture of corruption, controlled by principals in banking and health care industries, is unravelling: with a little help from Michelle Malkin and some federal due diligence Pierre might soon be liberated.

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