South Dakota Democrats want a legislative committee to subpoena Governor Dennis Daugaard and former Governor Mike Rounds in its probe of the immigrant investor EB-5 program.
During a news conference Tuesday, Democratic leaders said that the Government Operations and Audit Committee needs to not only subpoena Daugaard and Rounds, but also SDRC Inc. President Joop Bollen.
The legislative committee has been charged with investigating the EB-5 program following the suicide of former Tourism Secretary Richard Benda last fall and allegations of financial misconduct.
The panel declined to subpoena Bollen a few weeks ago and Democrats say the public deserves more answers.
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“They haven’t done anything. They haven’t issued any subpoena power. They haven’t asked any tough questions,” Representative Bernie Hunhoff (D) Yankton said Tuesday.
The chair of GOAC, Senator Larry Tidemann (R) Brookings, said he is ‘disappointed’ the Democrats are taking this ‘political route’ outside the process of the committee.
“I’m sure there will be a discussion by the committee now that it’s being brought up,” Tidemann said about the Democrats’ request for more subpoenas.
Governor Daugaard's Director of Policy and Communications Tony Venhuizen says Daugaard is happy to answer any questions from the legislature, or the media, about this topic.
“The governor is frustrated that we haven’t been able to get more answers about what state and federal investigators have found about the EB-5 program but he understands that is how the process works," Venhuizen said.
The Government Operations and Audit Committee is scheduled to meet again in September.