GOP Senate candidates take stands at SDNA forum

South Dakota’s five Republican candidates for U.S. Senate – Mike Rounds, Stace Nelson, Annette Bosworth, Jason Ravnsborg, and Larry Rhoden – spent about 65 minutes responding to questions asked by a panel of reporters during the Saturday, April 12, candidates’ forum sponsored by the South Dakota Newspaper Association. The forum was held in Pierre in conjunction with the SDNA’s annual convention. (Photo by David Lias)

By Bob Mercer State Capitol Bureau PIERRE — The federal Affordable Healthcare Act should be repealed, all five Republicans running for their party’s U.S. Senate nomination said Saturday, April 12. Their opposition to Obamacare and their general dislike for President Barack Obama were among the few big points on which … Read Article

GOED head: Northern Beef will reopen within two years

By Bob Mercer State Capitol Bureau PIERRE – The Aberdeen processing plant formerly known as Northern Beef Packers will be back in business with “a lot of jobs” within two years, according to Pat Costello, the governor’s commissioner of economic development. Costello told a legislative panel Friday that state government … Read Article

State paid bundle to Benda without supporting receipts

By Bob Mercer State Capitol Bureau PIERRE – The former state official that pioneered recruitment of Asian investors for a handful of South Dakota projects received many tens of thousands of dollars in reimbursements for expenses in a two-year period that weren’t backed up receipts or other proof, a special … Read Article

Legislature OKs plan for EB-5 hearings as GOED makes federal report available

By Bob Mercer State Capitol Bureau PIERRE – The state Senate gave final approval Monday to a plan for legislative hearings on the EB-5 immigrant investor program in South Dakota. Senators voted 33-1 to approve HCR 1010. The measure previously cleared the House of Representatives 51-18. The Governor’s Office of … Read Article

Legislature’s plan taking shape for hearings into EB-5 program

By Bob Mercer State Capitol Bureau PIERRE – Pieces are moving into place for the Legislature to analyze state government’s involvement in the now-suspended EB-5 immigrant investor program and decide whether further action should be taken. The eight Democratic and Republican leaders and assistant leaders in the House of Representative … Read Article

State withdraws offer to loan $5 million to Northern Beef

By Bob Mercer State Capitol Bureau PIERRE – The state Board of Economic Development canceled a $5 million loan commitment to Northern Beef Packers on Tuesday. The arrangement originally was approved Jan. 28, 2010. The board subsequently extended the commitment multiple times. The board granted its most recent extension at … Read Article

Jackley: Didn’t talk with Benda, $550,000 restitution “not my call”

By Bob Mercer State Capitol Bureau PIERRE – State investigators didn’t talk with Richard Benda before his death last month about their findings that he double-billed and received double payments from state government in 2009 and 2010 for three airline tickets while he was a member of Gov. Mike Rounds … Read Article

Death certificate: Benda used stick to push trigger

South Dakota Department of Tourism and State Development Secretary Richard Benda ends months of speculation and reveals Hyperion Resources, Inc., as the “Gorilla Project” that has plans to locate an oil refinery in Union County. Benda addressed a standing-room-only crowd of media and interested citizens at a news conference Wednesday, June 13, 2007, in the Union County Courthouse in Elk Point. (Photo by David Lias)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The death certificate for former state economic development director Richard Benda says he shot himself by pushing the trigger with a stick. The Argus Leader obtained the document Wednesday (http://argusne.ws/1gjA6yy ). The certificate says Benda secured the shotgun against a tree and used a stick … Read Article

Rounds and Daugaard used foreign-investor visa system to fund South Dakota projects

By Bob Mercer State Capitol Bureau Use of the federal EB-5 visa program for attracting foreign investors to South Dakota was done by the current administration of Gov. Dennis Daugaard as well as the previous administration of Gov. Mike Rounds. The Daugaard administration approved four projects in the past two … Read Article