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Republicans Reject Democrat-backed Ethics Commission Plan

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The Republican-dominated state House of Representatives has rejected Democrats’ calls to restore the South Dakota Ethics Commission in response to South Dakota’s investment-for-visa scandal.

The House voted down 53-16 on Wednesday a measure requesting that the commission repealed in 1979 be re-established. Democratic Rep. Shawn Bordeaux said the state has a “big black eye,” referring to South Dakota’s EB-5 scandal.

The EB-5 program recruits wealthy immigrant investors for projects in exchange for green cards, and concerns about former Gov. Mike Rounds’ management of the program hounded him during his successful U.S. Senate campaign.

State House Republicans argue that establishing the commission would be unnecessary. Republican Rep. Justin Cronin says that exhaustive legislative hearings about the visa program prove that lawmakers acted swiftly to examine the allegations and found little wrongdoing.