Home > SD 2014 Ballot, South Dakota > OK, I like Gordon Howie’s new commercial

OK, I like Gordon Howie’s new commercial

August 7, 2014

Earlier this week Independent US Senate candidate Gordon Howie released a thirty-second commercial that is worth watching. It pokes fun at Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul and Iowa Republican Steve King about their recent encounter with a DREAMER immigration activist. At the beginning of the encounter Senator Rand Paul appears to leave mid-meal as soon as he hears who approached them. I’ve included the Paul/King video at the end of this post.

Here is the new commercial released by Howie:

I think it was brilliant for Howie to use some humor referencing the Rand Paul video and use it in his own commercial as a segue into attacking Rounds on selling US Citizenship. At its basic level the EB-5 program supported by Governor Rounds was a way for politicians to sell prioritized green cards  to rich immigrants. This money could then be used for a variety of cronyistic pet projects.

Personally I think many activists opposing Rounds need to focus less on the illegal activities involved with Rounds use of EB-5 and focus more on whether it is a good conservative stance to issue green cards for money. Any illegal activities involved with EB-5 in South Dakota will likely point to someone who died under suspicious circumstances. Unless a federal investigation uncovers something big in the next couple of months, I cannot foresee any ‘scandal’ from EB-5 preventing Rounds from getting elected the next US Senator. That means candidates such as Howie must focus on whether South Dakota should be using a federal program such as EB-5, which gives politicians an easy way to pad their cronyistic buddies pockets. That is the route Howie, Pressler, and Weiland have to go if they want to use EB-5 as an issue.

Below is the video of Senator Paul and Representative King that Howie is doing a parody of. Paul did try to give a reason to POLITICO as to why he left the table. But I think almost anyone would be pretty skeptical of Paul’s excuse to running out just after someone introduced them-self as a DREAMer. Even if his cover story is true, he handled the situation completely wrong.


  1. Reagan Republican
    August 7, 2014 at 10:39 am

    I have yet to hear a good explanation of why EB-5 is a bad program. My understanding is that it allows private donors to donate to a private industry. In an area like Aberdeen with the beef plant how would someone raise the $100 million dollars to build something like that? It may have been a bad business plan but the project was built and still exists.

    While some want to spend federal stimulus money in private programs this money from EB-5 is private money entering the US economy to benefit US citizens by spending money here, generating revenue and hopefully creating jobs here. Those wanting to invest in EB-5 programs can choose from a variety of places and businesses to invest in.

    And obtaining a Green Card is not the same thing as citizenship. An investor first has to invest in a business that creates 10 jobs for 2 years and after that they can apply for citizenship in 3 years. In 2012 just 39% of the 12,000 people who had participated in the program were given green cards.

    If you want someone to invest in an economy they are not aware of you have to give them incentive.

    Every single person who wishes to participate in these programs is vetted by homeland security and strict background checks.

    Countries want a variety of people to come as immigrants. Some want to make a pathway for the highly educated by giving them special visas, some want to make it easier for a low wage work force and some programs are designed to spur capital investment in rural or new business projects. The best way is to ensure that we have a variety of people coming into the USA.

    Regardless of the investment of monetary capital, human capital or intellectual capital green cards are a tool that allows the USA to bargain for the type of investment needed to spur growth in an industry or a region. Diversity is important for a country.

    While it sounds good to demonize EB-5 as selling citizenship it is a very shallow view of the program and inaccurate. I’m sure there are issues with the EB-5 program that could be fixed but as an idea and a tool it is better to encourage private investors to invest in business programs than to see the federal government using stimulus funds to fun projects. Private investors who participate in EB-5 can choose the program they want to invest in and just like with any other investment people can lobby for that investors support.

    • August 7, 2014 at 11:30 am

      I agree with some of your points. Yes, diversity in immigration is very important. And I do think immigrants coming and being able to invest in the local economy is an approach that should be looked at. But that isn’t what EB-5 is.

      EB-5 is a program that foreigners invest in certain projects to shortcut getting a green card. On the surface that sounds OK. In reality though the programs most often chosen for EB-5 are considered high risk investments by financial institutes. In fact the “at risk” portion of the EB-5 code is what makes the program so tempting for the system to be abused. EB-5 investors are not guaranteed their investment back. The Aberdeen Beef Plant is an example of a project that had many high risk red flags throughout every step of the project. Yet with EB-5 funds being used nobody really cared about the misuse of funds in the project. The taxpayers didn’t care because it wasn’t taxpayer dollars. The person administering the EB-5 funds didn’t care about the mishandling of the money because his organization gets more and more money proportionately to how much EB-5 money flows though his organization.

      Why many (including myself) call EB-5 a way for foreigners to buy green cards is because of the very nature of the program. In the end it is the EB-5 administrators and government burocrats that determine where EB-5 money will go. The ability to allocate where millions of dollars go is market interventionism. It follows the fundamental believe of progressives that central planning of the market works better than free market principles.

      If the EB-5 program were simply about creating jobs there would have been a much simpler way for the program to be setup. Allow foreign investors to come and directly invest in projects with no middle-man. Right now the current EB-5 program doesn’t force the investors to have any true skin in the game; besides the original investment, which is already considered ‘at risk’. A better route would be to allow foreign entrepreneurs to enter the country and start new businesses. Right now it is very hard to do that. In fact there are many young foreign entrepreneurs that go to college in the US and would love to stay and start a business. But they are not allowed to do so by the current system. So here we have a system that forbids keeping foreigners that actually want to create businesses and jobs; yet at the same time the system is OK with a system that puts foreign investment money at risk on projects that other financing sources won’t touch.

      I’m not so worried about the security aspects of the EB-5 foreign investors. I have yet to see anything that makes me think its a security risk and haven’t understood that talking point.

      But finally I would like to address the Aberdeen Beef Plant. Yes, it is built and ready for operation. And from what I hear they are gearing up to 1/4 production so they can run for a few months as a proof of concept that the facility works properly. Then it is expected for the plant to once again be shut down and put up for for sale by the California company. The problem is nobody really wants the site. It was not wanted/needed in the market. The only ones that wanted the site were the ones selling the idea of the site. The Aberdeen Beef Plant is a a real life extreme example of what happens when bureaucrats (government or private) are allowed to utilize large amounts of money without having to worry about risk factors.

      And yes, I think this is the debate that should be happening. Is the EB-5 program a good small market conservative program?

  2. Stranahan
    August 7, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    I was at the Northern Beef plant a couple of weeks ago and it was totally closed.

  3. August 26, 2014 at 6:44 am

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