The other day I was listening to Minnesota Public Radio and a report came in about how China is trying to tackle the air quality problem in the country. The reporter commented that the problem is incredibly severe much like many of the large cities during the 60's. As the reporter tried to interview people about the problem, the state officials and those that strongly support the state government had a basic response: "There really is no air pollution problem. Things are just fine in our beautiful country."
This, in many ways, is the response staunch GOP leaders and their supporters take when it comes to the danger of corruption and lack of transparency in South Dakota government. Several months ago a report was released that studied the potential and level of risk in state governments. South Dakota ranked eighth. The South Dakota government, lead by the GOP, prefer everyone to "keep moving, there is nothing to see here."
Over at South Dakota War College, the response was basically come on, there is no real problem. It is all wonderful here. Which Pat Powers wrote:
So, South Dakota is ranked the 8th most corrupt state in the nation, because there was maybe 1 state employee in the ten years of the study who was a bad actor? One as in a single person? But let’s not forget it’s also based on where the study authors think states should be spending money, further biasing it against a small state like South Dakota.
Look, South Dakota state employees are a pretty good lot, often doing fairly difficult jobs in less than ideal conditions. When you see this kind of nonsense, it really does them a disservice.There is no denying that many, many of the people that would for the state are a "pretty good lot." It still doesn't mean that there may be some misuse of funds, unknowingly accepting bids that are just a little too high, or misleading the voters of South Dakota.
Who is this one person that Pat refers too? He must be talking about Mike Rounds. Who, as the governor, endorsed and encouraged the privatization of the EB-5 program, who misused state funds for airplanes, handing over no bid contracts to family members and hiring other family members. Pat Powers himself was under scrutiny while working in the SOS office. Don't even get me started on the problems with Jason Gant as SOS.
The response should have been, "I don't know if I agree with the report, but I know that there are several things we can improve on when it comes to openness of government and fighting corruption on all levels." However, when it comes to the SD GOP, we are not likely to hear that from the majority. If they claim that they want an open government, start with the EB-5 scandal. Get them to agree with Susan Wismer and Kathy Tyler to honor their promises to give us a clear and open account of the handling of the EB-5 program under Rounds and Daugaard.