The Republican spin on Initiated Measure 22, the Anti-Corruption Act is so pervasive that they’re tricking the press into buying their baloney. Consider Elisa Sand’s error this morning in her front-page discussion of the impact of the voter-approved lobbying restrictions:
Legislators are missing out on opportunities to connect with and hear concerns from constituents, and many lawmakers are pointing to the recently passed Initiated Measure 22 as the reason why.
Take, for instance, next week’s scheduled chili feed organized by the Sportman’s Club of Brown County. Local lawmakers have traditionally been invited to visit and talk about outdoors issues and the upcoming legislative session. But Bob Bucholz, the president of the group, said the lawmakers aren’t attending this year, so the group is making different plans for Thursday’s gathering.
While the Sportsman’s Club of Brown County doesn’t lobby in Pierre, a membership includes membership with the South Dakota Wildlife Federation. And Bucholz said the state Wildlife Federation has a coalition that lobbies in Pierre. The lobbying connection has some legislators concerned about going to the chili feed [Elisa Sand, “Passage of IM 22 Halts Legislators’ Events,” Aberdeen American News, 2016.11.27].
Legislators are not “missing out” on opportunities to connect with constituents because of IM 22. Nothing in IM 22 is stopping Al Novstrup, Brock Greenfield, or any other area legislator from attending the Sportsman’s Club’s chili feed on Thursday and talking with constituents. If Novstrup and Greenfield—co-litigants in the save-our-free-lunches lawsuit—are really afraid that a bowl of chili will count toward the $100 limit IM 22 puts on the Wildlife Federations gifts to legislators, Novstrup and Greenfield could just pay for their bowl of chili, or just not eat any chili and instead focus on talking with constituents.
Novstrup and Greenfield aren’t missing out; they are choosing not to go, snubbing the voters who just took away their free meals.
Update 10:14 CST: Representative-Elect Michael Clark (R-9/Hartford) confirms that legislators are skipping events like the Sportsman’s Club chili feed on the recommendation of their leadership. Again, ignoring these invitations is a choice, a political calculation, and not something forced on them by Initiated Measure 22.