IM 22 Backers Cock Eyebrows at Lobbyist Social Calendar

Aw, come on, South Dakotans for Integrity! If we pass Initiated Measure 22, the Anti-Corruption Act, how am I going to get free supper and sundaes in Pierre?

The IM 22 ad refers to the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce Legislative Social Calendar, which lists the various banquets, breakfasts, and other lobbying events to which a wide variety of special interests treat our legislators during Session. The 2016 Social Calendar is available here. Pass IM 22, and the 2017 Social Calendar may be notably truncated… or at least more thoroughly documented.


12 Responses to IM 22 Backers Cock Eyebrows at Lobbyist Social Calendar

  1. Donald Pay

    Well, it’s an easy shot to take, but free ice cream, or even a nice steak dinner, is not the problem. In fact, non-partisan and openly disclosed socializing is probably better than what used to happen: alcohol shared between selected lobbyists and legislative leadership in closed rooms in the Capitol Building.

    If you check out the social calendar you will find many of the sponsors invite just about everyone involved in the legislature, including interns and pages (sorry, no booze for you). As a Sierra Club lobbyist, I had no problem attending the events, or participating in them a few years when we sponsored and environment day. It was a good way to get to know people outside of wrangling with them in a committee hearing. And they get to know you, and realize you aren’t quite as evil as they think you are. So, I’ve been to these events, and you might discuss bills or strategy with one or two legislators, but mostly it’s just a chance to be more of a human being than a lobbyist.

  2. Aa someone who spends a fair amount of time both selling and being sold to, and I can tell you first hand that it sometimes takes a nominal amount of courting to make your voice heard. Although I agree that we need to get the money out of politics, this measure seems pretty petty to me and not very well thought out, and we liberals already have a bit of a complex for being petty. I’m passing on this one.

  3. Donald Pay

    Well, ice cream socials aren’t the problem, but corruption is. So, I’d vote for the measure. It does drain the swamp in other ways that are beneficial.

  4. Douglas Wiken

    Democratic candidates should be knocking on doors and saying, “I will not accept so much as a cup of coffee from a lobbyist in Pierre.” Support ethics not just by talking, but by doing and meaning it.

  5. Funny that the Koch brothers and their many astro-turf organizations like AFP, ALEC, Great Plains Policy Institute etc. are behind the opposition. Add to that the big lobbyist organizations from the Chamber to the NRA that spend millions on writing our laws are against IM22.

    Me thinks they do protest to much.

  6. There’s a pretty stark difference though between millions of dollars and a few bowls of ice cream.

  7. Donald Pay

    Yeah, a cup of coffee isn’t the problem. As long as it is out in the open socializing, that’s just South Dakota neighborliness.

    The big problem is undisclosed large donations and astroturf interference in the political process that turns South Dakota values into New Jersey values. Tired of all the corruption over the past decade? If you want more of it, vote no. If you want to start on the road to cleaning up the corruption, vote yes.

  8. Mr. Wiken has it right. Righter than right. Any Democrat lobbyist or person in the legislatures who eats iced cream or has all of the free food stuffed into the maws of the legislatures is selling out. They lose all credibility to talk about “corruption.” If I hear about Paula Hawks eating USD hot dogs hand over fist then she is as corrupt as every vote she makes on higher education. I just be you that Bernie Hunhoff, the most uncorrupted former Republican current Democrat sitting in the little group he has on the left side of the rows…Bernie does not eat those free hot dogs. No siree.

  9. “out in the open”—that’s key. As long as people can see the lobbying happening and look up how much the lobbyists are spending and on whom, lobbying itself is not a problem. IM 22 increases those reporting requirements, which is why the Kochs et al are screaming their heads off against IM 22.

  10. I’ve never had a hot dog so good it would change my mind on anything. But I’m sure willing to give one a try ;p.

    Cory, what sort of process is in place already monitor large campaign contributions?

  11. John Wrede

    I’m not sure that the customary gratuity in exchange for legislative cooperation is as much of an issue as is the “individual agenda” and self dealing that seems to run rampant in the legislature in direct affront to the public trust. I got verbally assaulted by a long time legislative lobbyist for openly criticizing the legislative behavior in the passage of the bill that gutted DENR oversight of InSitu Uranium Mining near Edgemont. He seemed to think it was perfectly acceptable to manipulate legislators and their thinking to pass junk that removed the publics interest in regulating activities harmful to water and other natural assets. That’s my issue with all the corruption that goes on. It’s the self dealing that is out of control and all these elected people seem to want to take undue advantage of some program or grease the skids for somebody to make money at the expense of the taxpayer under some fictional theory of economic development. Lobbyists get paid to do that sort of thing and in a lot of cases, I don’t think it is in the best interests of the general public but they sure hold it out to be.

  12. Chip, monitoring large contributions in South Dakota? Well, candidates and PACs report their finances to the Secretary of State, and those reports are all posted online. But the SOS doesn’t have any full-time campaign finance cops to comb through the reports and enforce penalties on violators. Chad Haber failed to submit his finance reports in 2014. State law imposes a $50 penalty per late day but caps that penalty at 60 days. As far as I know, Haber has yet to file his forms or pay his fees.

    You know what kind of monitoring might make for more accountability to prevent the abuses John talks about? Webcams mounted in every corner of the Capitol.