On Eve of PBS Debate, Tapio Blasts South Dakota Swamp, Career Politician Opponents
(Wednesday, May 24, 2018) With Public Broadcasting’s televised debate between South Dakota’s GOP Congressional candidates just hours away, Neal Tapio today hit hard against his two career politician opponents and used a detailed outlay of examples of scandal and corruption in state government as examples of what to expect should either Dusty Johnson or Shantel Krebs be elected to Congress: Blind eyes and silence at the direction of whatever mainstream GOP leadership demands. Tapio says promises by either that they would help drain the swamp are laughable and ironic, given that both were at the power center of South Dakota’s political machine during the most scandalous period of politics in state history.
“People who willingly serve the public relations silence of a Governor and administration with the authority and responsibility to find those answers have no business promising to drain the swamp in Washington D.C. They’ve already proven that the swamp is where they are most comfortable.” Tapio said.
“Dusty was chief of staff to Governor Daugaard. Dusty has chosen a pathway to power so common in politics. Build your resume, keep your mouth shut and wait your turn,” Tapio said.
“Unfortunately, during Dusty’s time in Pierre, unprecedented corruption hit South Dakota as multiple Federal programs run by the state led to corruption, cronyism, criminal charges and death,” Tapio said.
“Gear Up, EB5 and the refugee resettlement programs are state-run Federal programs that have gone terribly bad and no one inside government is ever held responsible,” Tapio said.
“Dusty Johnson talks a smooth game when it comes to reforming government, but when he had his chance, Dusty remained silent. When the Director of Indian Education, LuAnn Werdel, tried to expose fraud and corruption in the Gear Up Grant program a full three years before people ended up dead, she was fired. When state government tried to own and operate a meat packing plant by raising capital by selling citizenships to foreign investors through the EB 5 Program, things went horribly wrong. The business went bankrupt, investors lost their money, the state ended up in massive lawsuits and the state employee in charge committed suicide,” Tapio said.
“Neither Dusty nor Shantel will challenge the system. They are part of the system and have been for a combined 40-years in Pierre,” Tapio said. “Dusty promises to stand up to liberals like Sen. Barbara Boxer. I’m afraid she is not the biggest problem. Establishment Republicans are the problem. If you will not stand up to Establishment Republicans during the most scandalous period of politics in South Dakota history, what are the chances of standing up to the Establishment in Washington?” Tapio said.
Tapio says the people of South Dakota deserved transparency and a fair vetting of EB-5 and Gear Up that never came, despite pleas by himself and other members of the Government Oversight and Audit Committee demanding that a deeper investigation into the Gear Up scandal be undertaken.
“When we asked for subpoenaed testimony from the central figures in the Gear Up scandal, we were told that it wasn’t the committee’s responsibility to find answers to how it all went wrong,” Tapio said. “We were told it wasn’t the committee’s responsibility to determine wrongdoing or to seek answers about the corruption that cost a family of six their lives,” Tapio said.
“I think the people of South Dakota should be asking, why it is that their elected politicians absolutely refuse to take responsibility and seek tough answers and truth when scandal and corruption leaves a trail of missing money and dead bodies that stain our state reputation,” Tapio said.