Osborn Cries “Fraud” on District 19 Opponents’ Fake Newspaper

District 19 Republican candidate for House ReGina Osborn is robocalling GOP voters across her district to alert them to what she calls “fraud” by her primary opponents:

We also need to discuss the fraud that has been committed against us all. Some of you have received the James River Republican Newspaper Special Edition. It’s a fraud created by the three young candidates to fake Republican support for themselves to fool you. I think we can agree—disgusting and disqualifying conduct to say the least. Please tell your neighbors, friends, and family about this so they are not fooled by this fraud [my transcription; ReGina Osborn, robocall, distributed 2016.06.06].

Osborn concludes the call by urging voters to pick her for House and her “fellow veteran” Stace Nelson for the Senate “We may be gray and mature and blunt-speaking,” she says, “but we are honest and we will serve you, not the tax-and-spend establishment.”

Yesterday I dissected the fake newspaper from Obsorn’s incumbent Republican opponents Rep. Kent Peterson and Rep. Kyle Schoenfish and their Senate-aspirant compadre Caleb Finck. I’m not sure if I’d use the word “fraud,” but the Peter-fish-Finck flyer certainly makes an effort to look like the regular newspaper. I’m hearing that readers and even some newspaper folks are alarmed at the young trio’s use of “the Editor” as a byline amidst otherwise anonymous content (which ranges from sloppily fallacious to simply false). But “fraud”—that’s a fightin’ word! Have Peterson, Schoenfish, and Finck committed fraud by creating the illusion of some sort of editorial endorsement for their paid views? Or does their teeny-print disclaimer at the bottom of the back page excuse them from any repercussions?

District 19 voters, if you haven’t early voted, you have 27.5 hours to decide.

Bonus Campaign Finance Minutiae! At the end of yesterday’s post, I asked readers to consider whether Peter-fish-Finck’s advocacy for NO votes on all ten ballot measures triggered an obligation for them to file Independent Expenditure reports under SDCL 12-27-16. It turns out I was asking a trick question. The issue isn’t the nature of the communication—did they really advocate voting NO, or did they use enough weasel language about “it’s harder and harder to argue with the people who suggest we JUST VOTE NO” to avoid actually telling people how to vote?—but of the communicators. The flyer was paid for by the three legislative campaign committees. SDCL 12-27-16 applies only to “persons” and “organizations.” By statutory definition (SDCL 12-27-1) “organizations” do not include political committees or political parties. Legislative candidates can thus use their campaign funds to publish anything they want about the ballot measures (as Peter-fish-Finck do) and other candidates (as Osborn does in telling neighbors to vote for Stace) without having to file independent expenditure reports within 48 hours of publication.

Update 17:10 CDT: To clarify why Osborn calls the James River Republican a fraud, here are images of pages 2, 3, and 4 of the fake newspaper:

Peterfish self-endorseFinck self-endorse Back page JRR disclaimer

Our Endorsements…” “Why do we like….” Only if you flip to the back and squint at the smallest, faintest print on the document do you see “James River Republican is paid for by Finck for State Senate, Kyle Schoenfish for House, and Kent Peterson for District 19” and learn that these three fellas are talking about themselves.

24 Responses to Osborn Cries “Fraud” on District 19 Opponents’ Fake Newspaper

  1. There is one thing for sure: The temperature is high in District 19.

    At the end of the day, the most significant thing in the primary results will be who worked the hardest. Postcards, robocalls, faux newspapers will be blip on the screen.

  2. They are a sensitive and noisy bunch down there, aren’t they, Troy? Any sense of who’s working hardest?

    I will say this: I get the impression that Nelson and Osborn write their own copy. Who wrote the Peter-fish-Finck “newspaper”? And what was with all the non-primary material? Was that just filler to heighten the illusion and keep people from noticing that the bous were endorsing themselves?

    I will at least try to get David Newquist to write an endorsement so I can say “Dakota Free Press and Northern Valley Beacon endorse Heidelberger for Senate!” ;-)

  3. owen reitzel

    To be honest with you I haven’t heard or seen anything from Finck except what was in that insert. I’ve heard a radio advertisement for Osborn but she sounded like a Stace echo.

    I think Finck has conceded that he’ll lose Hanson and McCook counties and he’s hoping to make it up from his area.

  4. Stace Nelson

    Here’s an interesting question for you to ponder. Since Pat was reportedly paid to create my opponents campaign material, to include the fake newspaper, and is doing another fluff piece on him using the campaign material he was paid to produce, by law shouldn’t Pat have disclaimers on his posts letting voters know that his fake conservative blog posts are paid for by…?

  5. Hanson and McCook have 3,435 GOP voters. Douglas and Hutchinson have 4,665 GOP voters. Bon Homme has 1,857 Republicans… but only a portion of them (I don’t have that number!) are in District 19—I’m going to guess about 1,000. Stace should carry Hanson by a huge margin, McCook by a smaller margin; can Caleb win his home turf by similar margins? Does he have any similar name recognition?

  6. Stace, who’s reporting that Pat authored the fake newspaper, and on what evidence?

    If that’s true, and if Pat is recycling paid campaign content as more blog fluff, those fluff posts on his blog do not invoke SDCL 12-27-16 any more than his slavish and lazy republishing of other campaign postcards… or, for that matter, any of the campaign-related material I publish on Dakota Free Press. SDCL 12-27-16(6) exempts “Any news articles, editorial endorsements, opinion, or commentary writings, or letter to the editor printed in a newspaper, magazine, flyer, pamphlet, or other periodical not owned or controlled by a candidate, political committee, or political party” and “Any communication by a person made in the regular course and scope of the person’s business.”

    Hmm… the first clause could be trouble for a candidate like me who controls a blog… but the second clause, I’m making all sorts of communications that are still in the regular course and scope of my business, right?

  7. Key word is business, Stace. Pat’s business is selling campaign postcards. So of course, on his blog, he fixates on campaign postcards, as if they are the most important news of the primary season. Then he can turn to his customers in the general election and say, “My goodness, look how much attention those postcards got! You should buy postcards, too.” Clever.

  8. Steve Sibson

    So looks like things are “legal”, so fraud may be a little strong. Certainly enough of an ethical problem to perhaps call it legalized fraud, kind of like the unethical system of legalized corruption we have in Pierre that is supported by special interests of both parties.

  9. Cory,

    I haven’t called anyone to gauge who is working the hardest. 200 swing could be the difference so it is one vote at a time via direct contact. Maybe the person who had the best reception at the Bon Homme relays. Anyone know if any of the candidates were working that crowd?

  10. Stacey Nelson is turning off voters with his mean-spirited negative campaign against a local college kid. We will see if he can limp across the finish line in the lead or a step behind. Maybe Stacey Nelson should have worked the Bon Homme relays crowd.

  11. My prediction: Half of the people that signed Stacey Nelson’s candidacy petition will vote for Caleb Finck because they are tired of dealing with Stacey Nelson’s drama queen act – as grudz would say. For a big guy Stacey Nelson sure is small.

  12. Ror, there is that element of picking on the little guy. The Nelson robocall that simultaneously disowns responsibility for the Prairie County PAC postcard but then repeats the women’s panties/drag queen attack seems counterproductive: advancing that attack negates the point about not being responsible for it. Finck still isn’t qualified to be Senator—he’s just a yes-man of the Establishment, sent to do one job: keep Stace Nelson from winning, much like Kristi Noem’s only job was to keep SHS from winning in 2010 and remains to keep Democrats from winning. Stace could do a much better job of pointing out that he will fight for local interests (as he did in challenging Walt Bones and protecting his neighbors from a CAFO invasion) much more effectively than a young, impressionable tool of the Establishment (make the connection to Mickelson and CAFOs!). That negative attack would be great, because it allows Stace to connect his strengths with Caleb’s weaknesses (“Caleb will listen to the Mickelson-Daugaard establishment, while I’ve proven I will listen to YOU!”). The panty pix are weaker in that regard, because they are pure negative, with no positive (Stace wins little by saying “Caleb wears women’s panties;” he adds zero value if he continues with, “I, on the other hand, wear only men’s clothes”).

    Caleb should not win just because he is small and weak and shouldn’t be picked on. But picking on the small and weak doesn’t boost Stace’s stock, at least not beyond a certain Trumpist sector of the electorate.

  13. Troy, I guess we don’t need to exert ourselves too hard to find out who’s worked the hardest. We’ll get an answer within twelve hours (assuming Secretary Krebs has set up her first primary results election page correctly!).

  14. Steve Sibson

    “Caleb should not win just because he is small and weak”

    Depicting the Establishment puppet as small and weak is an interesting angle. Kind of goes with all of the Republican legislators who voted for Daugaard’s sales tax increase. Might as real be fair and say the same for the Democrats who joined in with that tax and spend party.

  15. Stace Nelson

    Look at all that money and effort the tax and spend establishment RINOs could have used in other races to defeat other conservatives…

    I’ve already heard from a couple that the strategy has paid off.

    One strategy goal accomplished already.

    Kudos to Lance Russell.

  16. mike from iowa

    But tax and spend establishment rinos know which poor folks to tax and which wealthy to give tax breaks to. Seems like you’ve seen one wingnut you basically have seen them all.

  17. Stace mentions money in the context of the assessment of “small and weak”. Fair enough—let’s look again at pre-primary reports:

    —$3,220 in small individual contributions.
    —$6,903.28 in larger indiv. contribs. (hey! Where’s the attached sheet showing the itemization?)
    —$800 in PAC money (realtors, SD medical assoc)
    —total income: $10,923.28.

    —$565 in small individual contributions.
    —$2,325 in larger indiv. contribs.
    —$2,650 in PAC money.
    —$1,100 from two campaign committees (Daugaard, Van Gerpen)
    —total income: $6,640.

    As of the pre-primary reports, Finck had been able to outspend Nelson by more than double only by dint of loaning his own campaign $5,000.

    Stace, send us your itemized larger-donor list, and we’ll be able to give a full accounting of who’s small and weak and who’s flush with Establishment cash.

  18. Steve Sibson

    Cory, I think you got it right. Caleb is small because he is a puppet and not big enough to stand on principles and establish his own positions on the issues. He will probably end up doing whatever the governor wants him to do, if too many District 19 voters believe the propaganda the governor is saying with his robo calls. Sad that too many may also be swayed by referring to actual photos on postcards as being negative by Establishment propagandists. They were not photo chopped like you see on blogs that support the Establishment. Those are designed to be deceptive, demeaning and should rightly be called negative.

  19. There goes Stacey again. Throwing around labels. Unable to have a civil policy discussion. Anyone who disagrees with him is a ____________ (insert label here).

    Not a drag queen. A drama queen. Grudz is right.

  20. Stace Nelson

    @Rorschach Big ugly nasty cauldron calling little TEA Party “black?” ?
    Republicans who increase spending, increase government, increase taxes and fees to cover their crony-capitalism are in fact “Republicans in Name Only”
    somebody, please get Shach a hanky for its crocodile tears.

    @CAH Out and about. That should be on the SOS website??

  21. bearcreekbat

    Stace, just out of curiosity why do you get to define who is and who isn’t a Republican? What criteria do you use for your definition and what is the source of that criteria?

  22. Steve Sibson

    BCB, ever hear about platforms? The SDGOP calls themselves “conservatives”. They also say they are for capitalism, not socialism. Both are not free market traditional values. The propagandists have redefined the meaning of words. Liberals used to be those who opposed big government. Now those that are for it are called liberals. The capitalists can’t survive without big government. So why should they claim the word “conservative”? Martin Sklar rightly labeled current day capitalism as “liberal corporate capitalism”.

    When your GOP governor gains the support of nearly 100% of the Democrats to pass a sales tax increase, that would not be Republican. That would be tax and spend liberals and what Republicans charge Democrats for being. When people say one thing, but do another, they don’t like it when their lies are exposed. They call that “negative campaigning”.

    So why don’t you go challenge those who are being dishonest?

  23. bearcreekbat

    I’m sorry Sibby, but over the years you have lost any credibility that I ever thought you had. Your comments claim to decide who is a Christian. Your comments claim to decide who is a crony. Your comments claim to decide who is a socialist. And now you are trying to convince me that you can also decide who is a Republican.

    Why should you get to make all these determinations? Frankly, your comments suggest you seem to be in a world of your own, with virtual no one else who qualifies as a Christian or Republican.

  24. Steve Sibson

    “Why should you get to make all these determinations?”

    Because my research and evaluation of such work is more credible than a liberal atheist who has ears and eyes, but can’t hear nor see. You lack discernment, so I understand your position.