Newest Release of GEAR UP Emails Brings More Stunning Revelations

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — The South Dakota Democratic Party released the following statement from Executive Director Sam Parkinson in response to the latest release of emails related to the GEAR UP program, which shows that Secretary of Education Melody Schopp was warned that the state had lied to the federal government in GEAR UP performance reports, and that Schopp’s reaction was to say it was “useless” to address the concerns raised and that she wanted to “simply move forward”:

“These new revelations are yet more undeniable proof of the stunning lack of oversight of the GEAR UP grant program by state officials. It is clearer than ever that Secretary Schopp had no interest in a thorough investigation of corruption in the GEAR UP program, despite repeated warnings from two Directors of Indian Education. The fact that Schopp was more interested in “simply moving forward” than in ensuring transparency and accountability in the use of taxpayer money shows the stunning arrogance and culture of corruption which has taken hold of the Republican political establishment in Pierre.

“As more and more evidence is being brought to light exposing the Republican culture of corruption in Pierre, it is becoming painfully obvious that they cannot be trusted to clean up the corruption they had a hand in creating and have allowed to grow unchecked in our state government. It is time for a change in Pierre, and that means electing Democrats to lead, from the governor’s mansion to constitutional offices to the State Legislature. Only Democrats are fully committed to ensuring the open and accountable state government the people of South Dakota deserve.”


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