An FBI October surprise dirty trick in South Dakota Senate race?

Why on earth would the FBI announce an “active” investigation potentially involving a GOP candidate for Senate just before the election? If you answered, “Because Eric Holder’s Justice Department supervises the FBI,” you might be on to something. This stinks, especially because, as Ryan Lovelace of NRO reports,

 Jeff Lanza, who worked for the FBI for more than 20 years, tells National Review Online that the acknowledgement of an investigation is a breach of FBI protocol unless a public official has made the investigation public, knowledge of the investigation is already widespread, or the public admission serves a law-enforcement function. Lanza tells NRO that it remains unclear whether the investigation met any of these standards, and he says he is surprised by the bureau’s acknowledgement of the ongoing investigation. “It’s highly unusual that you would acknowledge an investigation into a political figure who is running for office in an upcoming election,” he says. “I think it deserves an explanation, because it does come off as potentially political when you announce an investigation in a candidate who’s running for office.” 

Compounding the suspicious circumstances, it is not clear who the target of the investigation is. And the FBI spokesman who could clarify matters is “on vacation” until hours before the election.

The matter involves former South Dakota Governor and current Senate candidate Mike Rounds, whose administration’s handling of a federal visa program was investigated by the state attorney general three year ago, with no prosecution brought. NRO explains:

The investigation focuses on the administration of the federal EB-5 visa program, which awards green cards to immigrants who invest large sums of money in businesses that create jobs for American citizens. Two of the state officials running the program were accused of diverting taxpayer money and using it to line their own pockets. Two years after Rounds left office, his successor, Dennis Daugaard, who is also a Republican, directed South Dakota attorney general Marty Jackley to investigate the state’s economic development office, which was involved in the administration of the visa program.

In October of 2013, Jackley authorized the filing of a criminal complaint and an arrest warrant against former secretary of tourism and state development Richard Benda, who left public office to work for a company, SDRC Inc., to which he had helped attract EB-5 investors when he was a public official. SDRC and Benda profited greatly. More than half of a $1 million payment from the state of South Dakota to a local business, Northern Beef Packers, was redirected to cover loan-monitoring fees for SDRC, Jackley’s investigation found.

Benda was found dead from a gunshot wound to his abdomen approximately six months after Jackley’s investigation began. Asked whether Benda’s death marked the completion of his investigation, Jackley says, “For all practical purposes, it was over.” He says his investigation never found any evidence of criminal wrongdoing on the part of Rounds or any other elected official.

The attorney general’s investigation into South Dakota’s EB-5 program ended in October 2013, Jackley says, and there’s only one reason people are still talking about the controversy: politics. 

There are barely plausible reasons why the FBI might reveal the investigation at this point, for instance, if a major development such as an arrest or an indictment is pending. But given the death of a key figure and the lack of any evidence connecting Rounds to the matter, and the vagueness of the announcement, it brings to mind the DoJ's  unethical and illegal prosecution of Senator Ted Stevens, in which case exculpatory evidence was illegally withheld, and the senator lost his seat, prior to be being exonerated. Oh, and the corrupt prosecutors involved in that political operation were never held responsible and punished.

So if I suspect the DoJ's  FBI of blatant interference in an eleciton to favor the Demcorats, perhaps I can be forgiven. 

Why on earth would the FBI announce an “active” investigation potentially involving a GOP candidate for Senate just before the election? If you answered, “Because Eric Holder’s Justice Department supervises the FBI,” you might be on to something. This stinks, especially because, as Ryan Lovelace of NRO reports,

 Jeff Lanza, who worked for the FBI for more than 20 years, tells National Review Online that the acknowledgement of an investigation is a breach of FBI protocol unless a public official has made the investigation public, knowledge of the investigation is already widespread, or the public admission serves a law-enforcement function. Lanza tells NRO that it remains unclear whether the investigation met any of these standards, and he says he is surprised by the bureau’s acknowledgement of the ongoing investigation. “It’s highly unusual that you would acknowledge an investigation into a political figure who is running for office in an upcoming election,” he says. “I think it deserves an explanation, because it does come off as potentially political when you announce an investigation in a candidate who’s running for office.” 

Compounding the suspicious circumstances, it is not clear who the target of the investigation is. And the FBI spokesman who could clarify matters is “on vacation” until hours before the election.

The matter involves former South Dakota Governor and current Senate candidate Mike Rounds, whose administration’s handling of a federal visa program was investigated by the state attorney general three year ago, with no prosecution brought. NRO explains:

The investigation focuses on the administration of the federal EB-5 visa program, which awards green cards to immigrants who invest large sums of money in businesses that create jobs for American citizens. Two of the state officials running the program were accused of diverting taxpayer money and using it to line their own pockets. Two years after Rounds left office, his successor, Dennis Daugaard, who is also a Republican, directed South Dakota attorney general Marty Jackley to investigate the state’s economic development office, which was involved in the administration of the visa program.

In October of 2013, Jackley authorized the filing of a criminal complaint and an arrest warrant against former secretary of tourism and state development Richard Benda, who left public office to work for a company, SDRC Inc., to which he had helped attract EB-5 investors when he was a public official. SDRC and Benda profited greatly. More than half of a $1 million payment from the state of South Dakota to a local business, Northern Beef Packers, was redirected to cover loan-monitoring fees for SDRC, Jackley’s investigation found.

Benda was found dead from a gunshot wound to his abdomen approximately six months after Jackley’s investigation began. Asked whether Benda’s death marked the completion of his investigation, Jackley says, “For all practical purposes, it was over.” He says his investigation never found any evidence of criminal wrongdoing on the part of Rounds or any other elected official.

The attorney general’s investigation into South Dakota’s EB-5 program ended in October 2013, Jackley says, and there’s only one reason people are still talking about the controversy: politics. 

There are barely plausible reasons why the FBI might reveal the investigation at this point, for instance, if a major development such as an arrest or an indictment is pending. But given the death of a key figure and the lack of any evidence connecting Rounds to the matter, and the vagueness of the announcement, it brings to mind the DoJ's  unethical and illegal prosecution of Senator Ted Stevens, in which case exculpatory evidence was illegally withheld, and the senator lost his seat, prior to be being exonerated. Oh, and the corrupt prosecutors involved in that political operation were never held responsible and punished.

So if I suspect the DoJ's  FBI of blatant interference in an eleciton to favor the Demcorats, perhaps I can be forgiven.