Curd Calls Voters Weak, Files Beatable Lawsuit Against IM 22

Wealthy Sioux Falls doctor and part-time legislator Senator R. Blake Curd (R-12) is lead plaintiff in the new lawsuit challenging the new Anti-Corruption Act, the law South Dakota voters passed in the form of Initiated Measure 22.

Wait—South Dakota voters passed that law? Not in R. Blake’s world:

Senator Blake Curd calls the new law a “constitutional crisis.” Curd says IM 22 was forced onto South Dakota by out-of-state activists [Angela Kennecke, “Lawmakers, Lobbying Group Wants Court Order to Stop IM-22 Before Session,” KELOLand.com, 2016.11.23].

That’s funny: on Election Day, I didn’t see any out-of-state lobbyists following my neighbors and me into the polls and forcing our hands to check Yes on IM22.

Senator Curd perpetuates the disrespect South Dakota Republicans show for South Dakota voters when voters don’t go Republicans’ way. In 2012, when we rejected two of Governor Daugaard’s proposals via referendum, our Republican Governor called us voters tired and stupid. Now when we enact a law to check Republicans’ rampant corruption, Republican (evidently that’s what the “R.” stands for) Blake Curd says we’re too weak to make up our own minds.

Voters, how do you keep electing guys like this who hold you in such contempt?

*     *    *

The suit lodges ten counts of unconstitutionality against the Anti-Corruption Act, plus two counts arguing for the immediate injunctive relief of throwing out all seventy sections of the law, including the eight that don’t kick in until 2018. Let’s nutshell the arguments:

  1. The state ethics commission created by Section 32 is not properly assigned to the executive, legislative, or judicial branch and thus is an illegal fourth branch of government.
  2. Section 34, which says ethics commission members shall be named from lists prepared by Legislative leaders and the presidents of USD and SDSU improperly restricts the Governor’s authority to appoint executives for each department.
  3. Section 40 gives the ethics commission authority to “replace or modify the requirements established in sections 43 to 62, inclusive, of this Act” governing the public financing portion of the Anti-Corruption Act (the Democracy Credit Fund). That’s an “unlawful delegation of legislative power.”
  4. Section 40(9) empowers the ethics commission to set rules concerning the qualification and certification of candidates, which violates the Legislature’s unique authority to determine the qualification of its members.
  5. Section 68 appropriates a specific sum each year to fund the public campaign finance portion of the Anti-Corruption Act. Only the Legislature can appropriate funds, not voters through the initiative.
  6. Section 31 prohibits lobbyists and employers of lobbyists from giving more than $100 worth of gifts—”any compensation, reward, employment, gift, honorarium, beverage, meal, food, or other thing of value”—to any “elected state officer, legislative official or staffperson, or executive department official or staffperson” or to their immediate family members in one year. Legislators and their spouses thus cannot collect salaries from entities that employ lobbyists. Section 31 thus infringes on the Contract Clause of the U.S. Constitution and the South Dakota Constitution.
  7. Gifts from employers of lobbyists are campaign contributions. Section 31 thus caps campaign contributions for this particular class of donors to $100 a year while allowing other individuals and groups to make far larger contributions. This $100 cap on gifts/political contributions violates the free speech rights of employers of lobbyists.
  8. The Democracy Credit Fund violates the Equal Protection Clause by not appropriating enough money to give every voter full Democracy Credits and by capping the amount of Democracy Credits that candidates and groups of candidates can receive.
  9. The donor disclosure requirements of Section 16 improperly exempt letters to the editor and editorials and unduly burdens the free speech rights of organizations like co-litigant Family Heritage Alliance.
  10. IM 22 violates the single-subject and title rule.

Curd et al. start strong, but then fall to throwing spaghetti on the wall. A third of the way in, the noodles stop sticking.

I like Count One. It’s my kind of technical argument, like good Topicality in high school policy debate. Constitutionally, Count One may be hard to beat. Conceptually, though, it only makes sense that the voters, alarmed at corruption in their government, would want an ethics commission not beholden to any of those corrupt branches to carry out the voters’ will in checking corruption. Hmm… can we argue that the voters are a fourth branch of government who can empower their own agency to challenge the other three branches?

Count Two also appeals to my technical side. But note that affirming Count Two negates Count One: we can only rule that the Governor’s powers are being usurped if we rule that the ethics commission is part of the executive branch, not separate from all three branches. And conceptually, we run into the same conundrum: if we have an interest in checking corruption, especially in the executive branch, then how can we allow the Governor absolute authority to appoint those corruption checkers?

Count Three is definitely problematic. No commission can rewrite or ignore statute. Section 40 grants the authority to replace of modify its own statutory charge “Only if necessary to address an unforeseen problem or a change in circumstances that arises in the ethics commission’s implementation or operation of the Program” (i.e., strictly within the operation of the Democracy Credit Fund), but even that step goes too far. Rule-making authority for state entities cannot step beyond statutory bounds.

Count Four is bunk. Section 40(9) allows the ethics commission to regulate “The qualification and certification of candidates, committees, registered representatives, treasurers, and other persons involved or participating in the Program”—i.e., in Democracy Credits. It does not address qualification to serve in the Legislature.

We tackled Count Five in a blog post Monday. Commenter Donald Pay submits an excellent precedent from Massachusetts that upheld a public campaign finance law by saying that if a voter-approved law remains on the books, the Legislature has to fund it. Curd et al.’s argument on Section 68 ignores the fact that the ethics commission still carries out other functions beyond public campaign finance. The mere statutory existence of the ethics commission compels the Legislature to appropriate funds to carry out its functions. If voters can create a government agency to carry out statutory functions, it seems absurd that the Legislature could decline to fund those functions and effectively abrogate the will of the people. It thus seems absurd that the voters cannot exercise their will and require the fiscal action necessary to realize their will.

Count Six pleads a false dilemma. Dr. Curd, nurse Senator Deb Soholt, and others wrapped into this complaint don’t have to quit their jobs or quit the Legislature. Their deep-pocketed employers could stop employing lobbyists. And really, if you have legislators or spouses of legislators on your staff, how much more lobbying firepower do you need?

Count Seven is wrong. Personal “gifts” to candidates and elected officials are not campaign contributions. Consider my own situation: folks who give me money through my Blog Tip Jar are giving me personal income, which I must declare on my income tax return. Folks who donated to the Heidelberger Campaign Fund were giving a separate legal entity money to support my District 3 Senate campaign, which I do not declare as personal or business income on my 1040. Section 31 is thus not a unique cap on campaign contributions.

Count Seven does raise a broader campaign finance question. Curd et al. are arguing that we cannot set different campaign contribution limits for different groups. Curd et al. do not expand on this argument, but by their logic, the Anti-Corruption Act cannot set different contribution limits for individuals and PACs. Nor can we revert to the pre-IM 22 system that capped individual contributions but not PAC contributions. If Count Seven’s logic holds, individuals and PACs must have the same contribution caps or no caps at all.

Count Eight hilariously reverses Count Five: instead of complaining that the voters are appropriating money, Curd et al. are now complaining that the voters aren’t appropriating enough money. Senator Curd and his fellow Legislative litigants could provide their own relief from the first part of Count Eight by appropriating more money for the Democracy Credit Fund, as allowed in Section 42. But more importantly, Curd et al. need to demonstrate that there is any propensity for voters to use the Democracy Credits program in such great numbers as to reach any of the funding limits.

Count Nine is remarkably weak. Curd et al. fail to establish that Family Heritage Alliance (or the Koch Brothers, or any other interested party) cannot fulfill the disclosure requirements. They fail to argue that being able to donate anonymously to a PAC inheres to free speech. And on their strange argument about the media exemption (what? Do you really want to make newspapers report expenditures on letters to the editor?), they fail to point out that the offending “media exemption” language of IM 22 Section 4(11) is really just borrowed from existing language in SDCL 12-27-16(6). If Curd et al. really want to argue about the media exemption, they are inviting the South Dakota Newspaper Association to come barging in with an amicus curiae on behalf of IM 22.

Count Ten falls on precedent set by the Legislature. In 2013, the Legislature had no qualms about passing Senate Bill 235, an omnibus bill tackling education, infrastructure, housing, and corporate welfare (er, economic development). That same year, the Legislature didn’t blanch at Senate Bill 70, which under the nondescript title of “improve public safety” managed to throw election reforms under the rubric of criminal justice reform. We could even reach back to 2012 House Bill 1234, the voter-killed education reform bill for an example of a bill that tries to do lots of different things (imposing merit pay, forcing schools to adopt centrally dictated teacher evaluation procedures, ending continuing contract rights). If we can justify doing all of those things in one bill under the single subject of “student achievement,” we can justify campaign finance reform, lobbying reform, and an ethics commission as components of the overarching subject of “fighting corruption.”

Curd et al. make great hay in Count Eleven of arguing that the Anti-Corruption Act’s 70 sections are all interdependent and cannot function if any provision is invalidated. But at best, all the litigants are winning is the argument that the ethics commission must be considered part of the executive branch, must be appointed by the Governor, and must get the Legislature to revise any statutes pertaining to the Democracy Credit Fund that turn out not to meet public needs. Absent more arguments about the First Amendment, anonymous donors, and rights to hire lobbyists, Attorney General Marty Jackley (who had better be working at least as hard over this holiday weekend as I am) should be able to beat back this legal challenge.


63 Responses to Curd Calls Voters Weak, Files Beatable Lawsuit Against IM 22

  1. Excellent analysis of the effects of IM 22 and Curd’s arguments against it. It strikes me as at least as ironic that General Jackley is tasked with the constitutional duty to defend IM 22 as trans-border GCC angling to help build The Donald’s Wall.

  2. @CAH IM 22 is a mess as even you pointed out. Jackley and Krebs dropped the ball by not addressing These issues before it was allowed on the ballot. You make a point though that some of our legislators have hypocrisy on their face in complaining of the fact IM 22 violates (amongst many things) our Constitutions single subject requirements. Your statement that the legislature didn’t blanch about passing those unconstitutional bills is not quite accurate though, a group of us fought them all and repeatedly filed dissenting reports http://madvilletimes.com/2013/02/stace-nelson-leads-bipartisan-protest-of-unconstitutional-appropriations-bill/

    You forget that I brought the House to a stand still when I moved to divide the question on one (235 if memory serves me). Lust and Gosch responded by violating House rules to get it passed, then changed House rules so the motion could not be made again on other illegal omnibus bills. That was the dissenting report that Gosch refused to allow be printed in the House Journal and tried to claim I was harassing the House Clerk about it to distract from their falsification of the House Journal.

  3. The South Dakota Demoratic party need to use this as a opportunity to defeat each and everyone of the elected officials that are listed as plaintiffs in this lawsuit.

    Lookd like to me IM22 is exactly what is needed to get corrruption out of State Politics

  4. Porter Lansing

    Damn, you’re smart Cory. Watching “et al” try to backstroke upstream is highly amusing. 60 MINUTES, have you heard the one about ….. ?

  5. Donald Pay

    Curd should resign. He’s crooked, and lacks perspective. Constitutional crisis? Really? The only constitutional crisis I can see is the wild attempt by crooked legislators to not have to follow a reasonable anti-corruption law.

    As a Senator, he has every opportunity to make his arguments in the Legislature, and propose remedies by amendments to the law. That’s the job of a Legislator. Voter could have some respect for Curd if he had any good ideas for improvement of the law. No, he could care less about the rampant corruption that brought forward the need for this law. He’s all in a huff because people are fed up with his and his cronies’ corruption. Drop the lawsuit, stop the corruption and follow the law!!!!

  6. owen reitzel

    I agree with Sam. The Governor and other Republicans are basically calling the people of South Dakota stupid. If this was reversed the Republicans would have a field day with this.

    Democrats have to ask the voters if they still want these people in charge. I’ve seen some Republicans try to put Democrats in with the them. No. Not really.

    When KELO did this story some of the GOP legislators complained about the bill but wouldn’t go on camera. Why? Afraid your constituents will see it?

    If the legislature guts this bill Democrats have to show the people of South Dakota who voted to do this.

    @Stace. Hopefully you’ll support keeping IM22 from being gutted. Maybe some changes need to be made but the core should stay the same

  7. Lee Schoenbeck

    Cory, the single subject issue is – from a fairness to the electorate perspective- more serious than you accord it
    First, if you read the Supreme Court cases, it’s primarily about fairly disclosing all that is involved, to the voter, which is usually a legislator. You aren’t going to seriously say that those 39 pages were fairly disclosed by a single topic describing the bill
    Secondly, at the ballot box there is no opportunity to seek amendments, which increases the importance of the voter being allowed to vote on a single subject
    Finally, if this provision was followed, and the varying opinions of voters respected, this should have been about 10 or 15 different bills
    Ask yourself: why hide dozens of issues in 39 pages, rather than giving voters an up or down vote on each matter? I think you’d agree, the people putting this on the ballot appear to be ethically challenged

  8. Porter Lansing

    Mr. Schoenbeck … Do you think this bill was written on a cocktail napkin at your Country Club? This legislation has been tested, retested, scrutinized and deemed constitutional by attorneys much more focused on the corruption issue than you, sir.
    The American Anti-Corruption Act (commonly referred to as the “AACA” or “Anti-Corruption Act”) is a piece of model legislation designed to limit the influence of money in American politics by overhauling lobbying, transparency, and campaign finance laws. It was crafted in 2011 “by former Federal Election Commission chairman Trevor Potter in consultation with dozens of strategists, democracy reform leaders and constitutional attorneys from across the political spectrum,” and is supported by reform organizations such as Represent Us, which advocate for the passage of local, state, and federal laws modeled after the AACA. It is designed to limit or outlaw practices perceived to be major contributors to political corruption.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Anti-Corruption_Act

  9. Stace Nelson

    @Owen I support suspending the enactment of IM22, breaking it up into single subjects, and sending it back to the voters as it should have been presented in the first place. I also support strengthening SD’s Constitution to prevent this type of scam from being foisted on the electorate again by special interests AND dishonest politicians who abuse the same one subject antiomnibus provisions.

  10. mike from iowa

    What about transperancy for Curd. Does he still harbor vicious, human attacking mutts-since I have not been able to find out if his dogs were killed and he was sued or even fined.

  11. Donald Pay

    The initiative clearly deals with “anti-corruption measures,” so it is a single subject.

    The fact that this initiative affects different sections of the code is quite common in legislation. It happens in many bills, particularly the most important ones. There are some awful examples each session of violations of the single subject clause. If this law is voided for that purpose, then let’s undo all such laws back to at least 1986.

  12. Porter Lansing

    “IM22 ~ MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN”, Sen. Stace Nelson. One little majority tyrannized, backwater legislature at a time.

  13. Donald Pay

    There is no way to “suspend the enactment” of a ballot measure that has passed. What kind of unconstitutional proposal is that?

  14. The IM 22 is very bad. It is bad.

    But it shows just how duplicitous out-of-state big-money special interests can be on the libbie side and just how stupid South Dakota voters can be.

  15. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr.

    Why is Senator Curd and the other Republican legislators so bothered by IM 22. As we speak, and correct me if I am wrong, but doesn’t Senator Curd have a minority interest in a business which has contracts with the state, which should make it unconstitutional for him to currently serve, (or at least unconstitutionally this January after having been “elected” instead of appointed to his next term) in the legislature regardless of IM 22?

    It seems to me that if current articles of the state constitution don’t stop the GOP in Pierre why should IM 22?

    http://www.keloland.com/news/article/featured-stories/questions-of-conflicts

    https://sdsos.gov/docs/2015SouthDakotaConstitutionFinal20150126.pdf

  16. Mr. Claussen, the IM #22 is bad. It is really bad. It takes away the rights from the people and was written by heinous out-of-state people who are trying to prey on our stupid voters.

  17. Mr. Nelson, did they try to claim you were harassing the House Clerk or did they claim it? It seems an easy thing to do without much trying.

    Were you harassing the House Clerk?

  18. South Dakota is about the 50th most corrupt state. Curd, Daugaard, Rounds, et. al., are apparent front row exhibits. Instead of trying to reverse the democratically enacted amendment, statesmen and women would work to improve and clarify the measure. The meme that SD has an unprofessional part-time legislature is irrelevant – corrupt is corrupt. If one has conflicts or is corrupt then find another part-time member of the legislature.

  19. Untrue, Mr. John. Many libbies frequently repeat that lie so it ingrains in the minds of some but many surveys show that the surveys proclaiming actual corruptness are corrupt themselves. The weak minded are easily deceived. That is how churches and cults do it too.

  20. Donald Pay

    Let’s investigate this whole “out-of-state” stuff.

    Really, until the criminal Scott Walker gang took over in Wisconsin, we had pioneered provisions in the Anti-Corruption Act. These reforms came following a massive corruption investigation involving pay to play allegations against both the majority (Democratic) and minority (Republican) in the state legislature during the late 1990s and early 2000s. For about eight years prior to the Walker Administration we had scandal-free government thanks partly to non-partisan, non-Legislative, non-executive control over an ethics commission.

    This independent commission oversaw legislative and lobbying ethics, campaign finance, and elections. We no longer have this independent commission because the commission ran headlong into rooting out lots of Scott Walker’s electioneering activities, which they found to be suspect. The commission asked for an investigation. Our AG, a Republican, turned it down, so several county prosecutors took on the job. There were two investigations, the first of which sent several Walker cronies to prison. As they were investigating the first criminal enterprise in Walker’s county offices, they uncovered a second criminal enterprise involving his use of campaign coordination and non-disclosure of campaign donations.

    Walker is a crook, but he has powerful allies in the corporate world who are vastly more crooked. Most of them are “out-of-state.” They control a lot of the corporate right wing, and they are the ones who most fear anti-corruption legislation.

    Curd and the other legislators aren’t acting by themselves. They are sock puppets acting as they are being told. They have the backing of powerful out-of-state interests who want to see anti-corruption legislation die, because, really, these out-of-state crooks don’t want to drain the swamp. The same out-of-state forces that turned Wisconsin from a clean government state into a corrupt cesspool are coming to South Dakota to make sure you continue to be the most corrupt state in the nation.

  21. Porter Lansing

    GrudSteiner … Your arguments are suffering from dementia. Scaring the weak minded by claiming a bill was “written out of state” is used BEFORE it’s passed. Once the people have spoken, that argument only means it was written so well that it can’t be challenged successfully. No proper anti-corruption law would be crafted as to let the corrupt overturn it. But, when your opponents are digging their own graves, the wise don’t try to take their shovels.

  22. Roger Cornelius

    I will have to assume that there was absolutely no out-of-state money given to SDGOP to oppose IM22.

  23. owen reitzel

    so are you Stace that the bipartisan politicians who cam up with IM22 are dishonest? Am I right or do I misunderstand you?

    Plus which parts do you like and which parts do you dislike?

  24. Donald Pay

    This is what I would say about Stace: he’s been stalwart in his attempts to tamp out the corruption in Pierre, but he’s now in danger of becoming just another pawn that the corrupt and the crooks can move around to protect their criminal enterprise. The problem can’t be solved piecemeal. It is much too big and out-of-control for that. The crooks have a stranglehold on the corrupt political class, and they will simply out spend and out-corrupt the forces for good government. They have endless bags of money to throw at the likes of Curd, et al., and the only way to really get rid of the corruption is to drain the swamp once and for all.

  25. Dr. Curd is likely uncorruptable. Dr. Curd will probably be the champion of all of us regular folk.

  26. Roger Cornelius

    Donald,
    If Nelson has been such a stalwart to tamp out corruption in Pierre, what legislation has he gotten passed or advocated for?
    Has he proposed or been a part of legislative action to investigate corrupt.
    I know he wasn’t in the legislature during some of EB-5 era or the Gear Up scandal, but did he do anything prior to these two scandals?

  27. He did generally complain a lot, Mr. C, against the powers that be that kept him down for his bad behavior and rude conduct towards others. And he passed a couple of those useless commemoration things that made him feel effective.

  28. David Newquist

    Irony is so lost in a state where the mold of ALEC is imprinted from brain pan to buttock so some can say “libbies frequently repeat that lie so it ingrains in the minds of some” and “surveys proclaiming actual corruptness are corrupt themselves.” If there were ever such surveys, they should be cited.

    Perhaps the closest thing to a survey was by the petition carriers who merely had to say the word “anti-corruption” or the limited exit polls that tried to determine why people voted the way they did. The $100 million EB-5 and $62 million Gear Up scandals with their suicides and murder of a family are evidence enough of corruption. They clip the wings of those better angels. Those loyal Republicans who would never vote for a Democrat still vote for an anti-corruption law in the hopes that members of their own party could reform their government and purge it of the dissolute practices in the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and the Department of Education that have branded the state throughout the nation as a place that condones and protects fraud, swindling, and embezzlement as a way of doing business. They expect that those who are charged with doing such things as upholding constitutions and laws against corrupt practices will do something other than dismiss laws against corruption which is engraved in recent memory and history.

  29. Lee, who was hiding the issues? Weren’t the 70 sections publicly available all year long? Didn’t I post the full text online and refer to it frequently?

    I’ll grant you that IM 22 is a pain to read, in that it’s all strike/insert/amend and thus not smooth prose. But such is the difficulty of writing legislation. Not every policy problem can be solved with one one-page bill written in plain prose.

    The criminal justice reform omnibus bill in 2013 had 83 sections. Why didn’t the Legislature break that up into 10–15 bills and pass each separately?

    Are the voters not to be allowed to address complicated problems by initiative (or repeal complicated solutions proposed by the Legislature by referendum)? Is there to be some word limit on initiatives, beyond which you will contend that the authors are simply trying to hide things from the voters?

  30. Mr. H, the public is generally stupid and mostly doesn’t read your blog. I know this is a bitter Thanksgiving pill for you but the IM #22 is probably doomed. And most of the people who voted for it will be shamed or taxed.

  31. Passed it was. Doomed it is. Struck down it will be.

  32. Donald Pay

    On issues, the public usually gets it right. They are sick and tired of the corruption. They want it to end and the Anti-Corruption Act is going to give them what they want, unless the corrupt leaders and lobbyists listed on that awfully stupid lawsuit somehow find a judge dumb and corrupt enough to gut the law.

    At least part of Trump’s appeal in the Presidential campaign was that he put his finger on the part of the problem that was addressed by the Anti-Corruption Act, though, of course, Trump will be governing as corruptly as, or more so, than Hillary would have. It’s only when the people get to speak for themselves, as in an initiative rather than through the corrupt “leaders” of either party, that anything good gets done.

    I think the people listed on that suit had better have some alternatives to address the rampant corruption in the state, or be prepare to resign. I’d like to see their “anti-corruption bills.” They spent lots of words in that lawsuit, and have yet to propose anything better. Let’s have the alternatives, you corrupt pack of crooks.

  33. I wonder if Lee or Fred would care to guesstimate the $ amount of the drinks and meals that were paid for by lobbying organizations during their time in Pierre?

    Remembering the withering examination that GOAC put poor Mr. Joob through, I can see how Lee thinks that the legislature needs no help in stopping corruption.

    Cory is right again in calling out Lee and the GOP hypocrisy.

  34. Mr. Pay, you want it both way.

    This “public” you extol elects the leaders.

    Move back here and vote.

  35. Darin Larson

    Do as the legislators say, not as they do: Wait until the last minute to debate hoghoused bills that never were considered or debated in committee. Decide in the back room how the people’s money should be spent and spring it on the public in the last few hours of session. Combine bill subjects like an encyclopedia. Declare emergencies exist for convenience and improper motive. Bring forth the latest ALEC inspired test law to start the dominoes for the rest of the country, but complain about other out of state influenced legislation. Talk about local control when it suits their agenda and then ignore it when it doesn’t suit their agenda. Put over-broad conflict of interest laws in place for every other segment of government, but have virtually none for themselves. Stack hypocritical arguments against initiatives like cord wood.

    The glass houses that these folks throw stones at initiatives from are magnificent.

  36. Perhaps even more disturbing than this unconstitutional and badly written mess of an IM #22 is that the Feds have said they will not allow these crazy IM things in Cannonball any longer. They are making people move south so they don’t freeze in the coming winter. And they are going to slap a few hands for people who have violated the rules about not building and squatting on tax-payer owned land. Don’t squat, people. It is bad.

  37. Wow, IM 22 sure has the republicans worked up in a tizzy. It is ironic that Grudz says”It takes away the rights from the people and was written by heinous out-of-state people who are trying to prey on our stupid voters.” No that would be exactly what Americans for Prosperity, ALEC and all the other Koch funded organizations do for our state legislators. The people of South Dakota knew exactly what they voted for, just like when they passed the minimum wage that the legislature tried to undo. What they are sick and tired of is corruption. What the lobbyists and legislature can’t stand is that they have to follow some rules and you can tell how much they don’t like it by all the complaining. Hilarious!

  38. Don Frankenfeld

    I appreciate your thoughtful and intelligent arguments, even when we sometimes disagree. As Republican Chair of the anti-corruption campaign, I worked to listen to the arguments of our opponents, and to make changes in our text to accommodate those arguments when possible. Our lawyers tell us that our bill is constitutional, and I believe them. The courts will decide who is right, and in the meantime I hope to avoid squabbling about legal issues.

    About legislative issues, however, I will fight fiercely for the right of voters to decide issues, and for the obligation of legislators to bow to the people’s will.

  39. mike from iowa

    The state ethics commission created by Section 32 is not properly assigned to the executive, legislative, or judicial branch and thus is an illegal fourth branch of government

    Sayeth the whole flock of foxes afeerd of losing their eay access to the plump hens.

  40. Porter Lansing

    A judge can’t take gifts of any kind and neither can a legislator. It’s the law everywhere but SoDak, until now.

  41. Based on the way the Republican state super-majority is reacting, 22 must be a good law. I have no doubt they will repeal it. Since voters here still keep pulling the R lever, the legislature has nothing to fear.

  42. Porter Lansing

    Okay, no reason to go “full German” on these legislators. They’re good people. A little timid, a little naïve, but good people. You can take up to a hundred bucks a session in coffee and whatever. By the way, these so called “meetings” where a group that wants you to do something, tells you what they want you to do to make it better for them and your constituents, but mostly better for them. They aren’t “meetings” they’re lobbying sessions. If you or your staff can’t do your own research and need to be told what to do, you can either change and follow the rules or someone who has a better grasp of the issues will be happy to take your “thankless position” as a lawmaker.

  43. mike from iowa

    Cory. write up an initiated measure that clearly defines “lobbyists” and “lobbying” as legalized bribery and then make it stop.

    Then have lawmakers prove how every dime of their per diem is spent so none flows into their pockets.

  44. mike from iowa

    If lawmakers have plenty time to think up useless gun and anti-women’s rights bills, they surely have time to fill out expense accounts every day.

  45. mike from iowa

    O(T- Fidel Castro has gone to heaven and awaits wingnuts with open arms. He was 90 and outlasted a whole dang bunch of rw nut job Potii.

  46. Porter don’t make Lee mad, he might post here again.

  47. Porter Lansing

    You crack me up, Moses. Keep it up. You’re one of the few, besides Native Americans, in SoDak with real character. Lord knows, the German sweep it under the rug and hush hush culture has none. It almost seems that many who read The Free Press have surrendered on this issue and resigned to the idea that Republicans are going to repeal the will of the voters. Maybe it’s like the wind. After it’s blown you around for so long you just give up and go inside. That kind of acquiescence has gone on too damn long.

  48. Porter Lansing

    Freed’s kind of a kook but the idea that a few states voting machines were hacked to favor Trump isn’t kooky, at all. Polls have never been that wrong.

  49. The legislatures “crack staff” are probably the most corrupt if anybody at all is corrupt, since they control access to the legislatures and schedule all their meetings and event.

  50. Curd how does somebody like that get elected.

  51. Donald Pay, the public gets it right on a lot of ballot measures, but on corruption, why can’t we get them to get it right on replacing the legislators and the party who facilitate corruption?

    I wonder if Sam at the top has it right, if we Democrats could use this lawsuit as a camel-back-breaker that gets voters to throw out corrupt officials. The ad writes itself: “Al Novstrup is suing the state so he could keep getting free food from lobbyists. You the taxpayer already give Al $142 a day to eat out in Pierre, but Al wants more. Serving in Pierre is an honor, not a hog trough. Tell Al Novstrup you’ve had enough… and so has he.” Run that text over a cartoon graphic of Al’s head on a pig, shoveling food into his mouth and his pig body swelling to fill the screen.

  52. Mr. Frankenfeld! Can your lawyers tell us what their arguments are to rebut Counts 1–3? And will Attorney General Marty Jackley consult with your lawyers?

  53. Mike, I won’t ban lobbying, since it is an exercise of First Amendment rights. You and I should have the right to go to the Capitol, hang around in the lobby, and jawbone our legislators. As long as money is speech, you and I should have the right to hire someone to go to Pierre and lay out our views to legislators, or even to raise money to get other people to pay us to spend 40 days in Pierre watchdogging legislators during Session.

  54. Moses, someone like Curd gets elected by having money and pull and vowing to put those resources to use for the SDGOP establishment. Also helpful: gerrymandering.

  55. mike from iowa

    Master, if my vernacular memory serves jawboning was a term used when someone received credit from a store- it was the borrowee’s verbal promise to make good his debt.

  56. barry freed

    Porter, I only appear to be a kook in the light of DFP. I am in reality, a True Liberal, so I appear kookie to this left wing of the Republican Party.
    Notice how DFP and the Republican Party ignore the “The Fix of Two ooh, one six”?

  57. Lee, you brought up fair disclosure. So why won’t you or Fred, Charlie or for that matter any Republican legislator disclose how much money they have accepted over the years in food and drink.

    I’d like to think that you are all embarrassed by the largess of lobbyists to persuade your votes, but I’m thinking you all don’t want to see it go away.

    Lee, Charlie and Fred. If drinks and food are not an issue, then you should have no qualms about going public with who wined and dined you and how that did or didn’t influence your vote. But if we don’t know who liquored you up then how can we tie it back to the votes you made on behalf of all of South Dakota.

    Oh, that’s right…you weren’t thinking about all of South Dakota…they didn’t buy you a drink and dinner.

    Hey everyone, drinks are on the big corporate donors! Ask Lee, Charlie and Fred where the good stuff is.

  58. Living a truly ethical life, putting the needs of others first and providing for their happiness, has tremendous implications for society. – Dalai Lama

  59. I liked this article and would have loved to link it on FB, but I have Republican friends/relatives who would take definite exception to the tone used to discuss Republican legislators. Even if every Republican in SD government is corrupt, it is the individuals and not the party making those decisions. Individuals are resisting the Act, but it was voted in by citizens of both parties. People tend not to listen to facts when their personal political preference is belittled in the same article.

    And your facts are strong. Please don’t weaken your position by making biased statements.

  60. Sorry, Beth: it’s not wrong to point out that the people trying to undo this anti-corruption act are all Republicans. It is necessary to point out the consequences of electing Republicans to unchecked power. Preferring Republicans over Democrats led us into this morass; challenging that preference is essential to getting us out. People choosing not to listen to facts bear full responsibility for their ignorance.

  61. mike from iowa

    Let’s try it this way, Cory. I would be in favor of going to your legislature and smiting them asses with their own jawbones. Works for me. Prolly won’t win you too many votes.