Weiland Considers Public Financing of Campaigns via Unclaimed Property, Ethics Fines

In his zeal to swear at Rick Weiland, call him names, and tell him to “shut up,” Pat Powers doesn’t bother to read the actual draft of the anti-corruption proposal Weiland and friends are working on for submission to South Dakota’s voters.

Prime example: Powers blows his usual dog whistle, attempting to paint his effort to counter the influence of big money in South Dakota politics (corruption that Pat’s sponsors don’t want discussed) with the accusation that public financing of campaigns is really a stealth effort to pass a state income tax (something else Pat’s sponsors don’t want talked about):

The other thing that Weiland doesn’t mention is how we’re going to pay for all of this.  Of course, many of the states with some public financing of campaigns are also states that have state income taxes. Which I’m sure if what they’ll be hoping for next when there’s no money to pay for his five million dollar boondoggle [Pat Powers, “Slick Rick Weiland Has Ballot Measure Drafted…,” Dakota War College, 2015.06.29].

The leaked draft Powers cites includes a funding section (see pages 28 and 29 of the version Powers posts). It does not mention an income tax. It does mention the following revenue sources for the public financing fund, which the draft names the Democracy Credit Fund:

  • (a) Under § 43-41B-24, the administrator of the unclaimed property fund shall annually deposit ten dollars ($10) per South Dakota registered voter into the Democracy Credit Fund.
  • (b) Other sources of revenue to be deposited in the Democracy Credit Fund shall include:
    • (i) Unspent Democracy Credit funds distributed to any Participating Candidate who does not remain a candidate until the election for which they were distributed, or such funds that remain unspent by a Participating Candidate following the date of the election for which they were distributed;
    • (ii) Fines levied by the Ethics Commission against candidates for violation of this chapter;
    • (iii) Voluntary donations made directly to the Democracy Credit Fund;
    • (iv) Other funds appropriated by the state;
    • (v) Any interest generated by the Democracy Credit Fund; and
    • (vi) Any other sources of revenue determined as necessary by the state [draft of anti-corruption ballot initiative, attributed to Rick Weiland and TakeItBack.org, published in Powers, 2015.06.29].

The draft cites five sources of revenue—unclaimed property, unspent Democracy credits, Ethics Commission fines, voluntary donations, and interest. The draft caps the annual amount added to the Democracy Credit Fund at $10 per registered voter in South Dakota, which by Secretary Krebs’s current count would be $5.28 million. The draft caps the accumulated amount in the fund at $12 million. So even if those five specified revenue streams don’t reach those caps, and even if the South Dakota Legislature said, “Let’s pass an income tax to help finance campaigns!” that income tax would be of the same order of magnitude as the measly bank franchise tax that we peacefully collect from our bankers.

The anti-corruption draft leaked to DWC does not call for a state income tax. It does not call for any new tax. But I guess we see the SDGOP logic here: If the Governor or the Legislature propose anything we don’t like, we don’t bother to read what the proposal actually says. We just scream, “Dennis the Menace and Lyin’ Brian“—calling names is essential in this logic—”will cause an income tax!!!” and vote it down. Ah, how simple!


14 Responses to Weiland Considers Public Financing of Campaigns via Unclaimed Property, Ethics Fines

  1. Rick can do what he pleases, within the law, of course. I do like PP’s question about the extraordinary length of Weiland’s initiative proposal (about 44 pages) and how it can be circulated – practically – for signatures in compliance with SD’s petition requirements.

  2. Michael, the length does pose a practical problem. The requirement that the entire text fit entirely on one petition sheet rather than allowing circulators to carry a simple sheet with the title of the proposal and then a separate bound copy to show to potential signers seems to impose an unfair, non-statutory restriction on ballot initiatives. Note that referred measures face no such requirement; my petitions against SB 69 only needed the title of the bill… and thank goodness: the bill text in the enrolled PDF runs 11 pages; I can knock it down to two pages (one sheet of paper, front and back) by dropping font to 7-point and formatting to two columns, but that leaves no room for signatures. When folks would decline to sign the SB 69 petition until they had a chance to read the bill, I would give them my card and point them toward the online links to the bill text. Could we allow initiators to do the same thing: offer the legal title of the proposal on the petition, then refer interested signers to the official text online?

    Note also, Michael, that Pat’s gleeful criticism of the length has nothing to do with the merits of the policy itself. Pat’s criticism is just another lazy cheap shot, not real policy discussion.

  3. Shirley Harrington-Moore

    where’s the petition??? Bring it on!!

  4. David Newquist

    Every time I am faced with something from the Dakota Wart Collage, the quotation from Macbeth comes to mind: “it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Any person with some rudiments of wit and literacy must ask, what possesses a person to descend to such levels of crude defamation and what kind of people allow him to speak for them?

    There is an important context involved with attacks on Rick Weiland. He conducted one of the most principled and arduous campaigns recorded in this state. Contrast it with the appearances, statements, strategies, and political record of Mike Rounds, with its negligence and corruption. And then to previous campaigns such as Thune’s against Daschle and Noem against Herseth Sandlin. The dominant feature of those campaigns was not a discussion of issues and policy, but the defamations. How does a witling such as Thune, whose Tweet on the ACA suit defines with precision the level of his mentality, become a U.S. senator? No one in the opposing party ever presented his actual record as a congressman. Until his challenger Curt Hohn pointed it out, Thune did not belong to the caucuses most relevant to this state–agriculture and water development. When he ran for the Senate, he depended on the script supplied by Dick Wadhams and the character assassinations of Jon Lauck to obscure his feckless record and his mental dullness. His infamous Tweet demonstrates what happens when he speaks for himself.

    Powers fits into that low-mentality performance. He cannot make cogent critiques. He is like that 5th grade bully who stands by the playground swing set shouting out crude names and moronic insults. Then he posts a series of comments to make it seem as if there is a whole gang backing up the lead playground bully. Powers has a writing style that is like a verbal finger print. It is a style possessed by a controlling attitude, an extremely finite vocabulary, a stereotyped sentence structure, all driven by a controlling malevolence. Most of the comments are written with identical thought patterns, the same sentence patterns, the same vocabulary as the posts they presume to comment on. In other words, the same expressions of sound and fury.

    With a government run by people so obsequiously devoted to servicing the needs and notions of its corporate sponsors, Rick Weiland’s proposal to return some honesty and integrity to politics in South Dakota is a serious threat. And that threat is what, in this case, all that sound and fury signify.

  5. Cory:

    I was consciously avoiding comment on the substance of the Weiland initiative. I disagree on the substance, but defend his right to not only hold his position, but advocate for it using legal means – specifically including the initiative process.

    I’m glad we agree on the procedural issues associated with circulating petitions on such a large document. Perhaps a way may be found to do as you suggest by summarizing the initiative on petitions and referring the interested and sleep-deprived to a web site for the full text.

    I have posted on your previous web site in the past regarding campaign finance reform and, more specifically, my paper on the topic that I presented in Denver last November at the national ARNOVA conference. I’m not afraid to share my radical views , and may well do so as the issue matures in SD politics.

  6. Donald Pay

    You can’t do a 44-page initiative. You really can’t do a 44 page bill in the Legislature, either, unless it’s been the subject of an interim study. If he’s serious, he’ll find a way to boil it down to basics.

  7. mike from iowa

    One of the best explanations of DWC ever. More proof there is no god,otherwise you could never explain wingnuts.

  8. I can see all of South Dakota’s media outlets getting behind this. They’re saying, “Yes, Rick, do you have any other good ideas on how to limit our income? Maybe we should collect sales tax on our advertising revenue.”

  9. Roger Cornelius

    If you scroll down a couple of stories you’ll find Cory’s thread “America Celebrates the Fourth in Police State”, it refers to the fear and paranoia by the media and the right wing about ISIS terrorist attacks. As we know by now, America is still safe, but still subject to irrational fears planted by the media.

    The same goes with Powers at the Dump Site, if there is an opportunity to clean up South Dakota’s long history of corruption, Powers will start implanting the fear of INCOME TAX or rant on about the constitutionality of such an effort. It is like a disease with him, whatever he dislikes or fears in reforms, Powers will scream taxes.

  10. Once again Pat Powers demonstrates a high degree of irrelevancy when it comes to citizens formulating ideas for building a brighter future for South Dakota.

  11. larry kurtz

    sdwc takes so long to load is barely worth it just to troll the twitter feed since i don’t read pp’s crap but everybody blocks me now so that’s good.

  12. At least Rick is trying to do something. Agree with him or not he is offering a solution. When has any of PP’s friends offered one of their own?

  13. Deb Geelsdottir

    I am unsure of what can really stop cold the Big Money buying of American government on all levels. Public financing, strictly limited campaign time frames, complete public disclosure of all contributions of $10 or more.

    Those are just of the top of my head. What else?

    Prof. Newquist’s comment is very good, as usual. I support Rick’s plan, for starters.

  14. David Newquist

    Rick is taking up the challenge of Bernie Sanders, and an article on Sanders on Alternate points out that the people are with them.

    “A New York Times poll released this month found that “Americans, regardless of their political affiliation, agree that money has too much influence on elections, the wealthy have more influence on elections, and candidates who win office promote policies that help their donors.”

    “Eighty-four percent of respondents said money has too great an influence on political campaigns.

    “Sixty-six percent agreed that the wealthy have the most influence.

    “Seventy-seven percent want to limit the amount of money individuals can contribute to political campaigns.

    “Seventy-five percent support public disclosure of campaign contributors.

    “Forty-six percent agreed that “the system for funding political campaigns has so much wrong with it that we need to completely rebuild it.”