When Kristi Noem says “I’m all in,” she means her money is all in.
In September, Rep. Kristi Noem said she opposed Initiated Measure 22, the Anti-Corruption Act, because “We shouldn’t be taking advice from out of state special interest groups when it comes to using our tax dollars and changing our election laws, which is why I oppose Measure 22.”
She left out the other 1.9 million reasons she opposed the campaign finance reform measure passed by voters last week. Jonathan Ellis confirms that the new campaign finance limits of IM22 have flushed our Congresswoman out into the field of gubernatorial fire:
Although she didn’t say it, Noem’s decision to run for governor was forced by a ballot issue that voters approved last week. Initiated Measure 22, which becomes law on Wednesday, contains a provision barring candidates for governor from collecting more than $4,000 a year from any person or political committee.
Once effective, the language would mean that Noem couldn’t transfer more than $4,000 from her congressional campaign account to an account for a governor’s run. Under current law, federal office holders can transfer all of their money into a state account.
For Noem, that would mean forfeiting a huge advantage: Prior to Tuesday’s election, her congressional campaign was reporting nearly $1.9 million in the bank, an amount that would make her a formidable candidate in the Republican primary [Jonathan Ellis, “Noem Announces Historic Bid for Governor,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2016.11.14].
For forty years, the Supreme Court has held that money is speech, so it seems fair to suggest that campaign money is also “advice”. If Rep. Noem really doesn’t want out-of-state interests advising us on South Dakota politics, then she surely will only transfer $706K of her $1.9M campaign kitty to her new gubernatorial campaign committee, since that’s the trackable amount (72% of her itemized individual contributions, 2% of her PAC contributions, 34% of that combined $2.1M haul) that came from South Dakota donors.
Read that again: for every dollar Noem raised from South Dakotans, she raised two dollars from the out-of-state special interest groups that she cites as enough reason to check No on your ballot.
So if Noem transfers more than $706K to her gubernatorial campaign fund (and I’m being generous, allowing her to claim that she spent her out-of-state money on her latest run for Congressional figurehead first and saved all the South Dakota money for just this rainy day), she falls to her own criterion for voting against her on November 6, 2018.