South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard says he has become aware of alleged misconduct in the state economic development office. In a statement released Wednesday, Daugaard said the allegations happened prior to his administration.
Attorney General Marty Jackley confirms that he is currently reviewing the allegations of financial misconduct but that the investigation is ongoing and he cannot comment further.
Daugaard also confirms that federal authorities are conducting their own investigation. U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson says as with any investigation, he can not confirm or deny that his office is looking into the matter.
“I take very seriously my responsibility as Governor to protect taxpayer dollars and to ensure the integrity of state economic development programs. I am confident in the integrity of those in my administration who work at GOED, and at my direction, GOED has initiated an independent review to verify that any alleged misconduct was an isolated incident,” Daugaard said in a statement Wednesday.
Daugaard said he became aware of the allegations earlier this year.
The news comes just one week after the former Secretary of Tourism and State Development, Richard Benda, was found dead of a gunshot wound near Lake Andes. Benda’s brother-in-law says the former Secretary was hunting when he died.
Jackley would not comment on if Benda’s death is connected to the allegations and said that his office is waiting on autopsy and forensic reports to determine how Benda died.
Former South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds said in a statement to KELOLAND News Wednesday night that he 'recently became aware of an investigation into some alleged misconduct,' and referred all questions to Jackley.