With only days left before Election Day, the FBI has taken the unprecedented step of announcing it is opening an investigation into and incident that happened when GOP candidate Mike Rounds was governor of South Dakota. This is based on an incident that is three years old and has already been investigated by other authorities. Via National Review:
The FBI’s confirmation came nearly three years after a Texas lawyer reportedly notified the FBI of wrongdoing regarding the visa program in South Dakota, and nearly one year after the state’s attorney general says his own investigation came to an end. The revelation’s timing has prompted allegations that it was designed to imperil Rounds’s political prospects in a race once considered a lock for the GOP.
Federal officials have long remained mum about their investigation, refusing even to confirm or deny its existence. That changed as the midterm elections drew nearer and Rounds, one of this year’s most promising candidates, showed unexpected signs of vulnerability. Just three months ago, he had a 25-point lead in the polls; that narrowed to three points in October, with both his Democratic and independent opponents gaining ground. Rounds has since rebounded, but a poll released earlier this week shows his lead is in the single digits.
The announcement by the FBI seems calculated to cast doubt on Rounds’ character in what looks to be an election that is much closer than anyone anticipated. While the FBI has announced the investigation, they have pointedly declined to say what, exactly they are investigating, or who is the target. Again from National Review:
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.” The FBI has not identified the …read more