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South Dakota Democrats Hire Lawyer, Says EB-5 Legal Actions Limited

SIOUX FALLS — South Dakota’s Democratic Party has hired a lawyer. But the lawyer doesn’t know for sure if he can bring any legal action on its behalf concerning the EB-5 scandal.

Patrick Duffy. Photo by Todd Epp/NPN used with permission.

In a news conference Friday in Sioux Falls, state Democratic Party executive director Zach Crago introduced Rapid City trial lawyer Patrick Duffy as the party’s legal adviser on the EB-5 matter.

The controversy has embroiled former governor and current U.S. Senate candidate Mike Rounds as well as current governor Dennis Daugaard.

But even the litigation-hardened Duffy is at a loss of what legal steps anyone can take. One idea is a qui tam or private attorney general action. The other depends on someone with the facts coming forward.

“But there is one thing, perhaps one source of relief that has been successful for people in other states that have taken apart corrupt EB-5 programs and that’s a whistle-blower action,” Duffy said.

Duffy also noted that the recent Northern Beef Packer’s bankruptcy case has eliminated many of the claims investors, contractors and others might have to recover they’re losses.

He also doubts they’re will be a U.S. Attorney “October Surprise.”

“That is some journalists have written that maybe we will have an “October Surprise,” and we will see indictments in this case before S.D. votersgo to the polling booth,” Duffy noted. “I want to assure you that can’t possibly happen. Many of you already know this, Brendan Johnson is strictly forbidden from taking any actions at all that might influence an election.”

Zach Crago. NPN photo by Todd Epp, used with permission.

However, the Department of Justice’s manual on prosecuting election crimes does not say it is illegal for a U.S. Attorney to bring forth an indictment. It only states that it is department policy to not do so during an election.

Friday’s news conference is the second one South Dakota Democrats have held this week on the EB-5 matter.

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