Call Speaker Mickelson! Out-of-staters are trying again to co-opt South Dakota’s ballot question process!
The South Dakota Right to Life booth at the Brown County Fair is handing out this flyer to oppose the Death with Dignity South Dakota petition to place an assisted suicide measure on our 2018 ballot:
The document was handed to me by nice local ladies volunteering for a South Dakota organization headed by Fred Deutsch, who has formed “Suicide Is Suicide,” one of the three ballot question committees (the other two are based in Sioux Falls and Seattle) already organized to oppose a ballot measure that isn’t even done petitioning yet and whose circulators I have not yet encountered at the Brown County Fair. But the document is not specific to the South Dakota proposal; it is actually a copy of an infographic prepared by Maryland Against Physician Assisted Suicide to lobby against legislation proposed in Maryland.
This document bears the above credit to the Maryland organization in small type almost lost in the dark background. It also bears the logo of Patients Rights Action Fund, a New Jersey-based organization.
As of end-of-business Friday, neither the Maryland group nor the New Jersey fund is listed as a ballot question committee recognized in South Dakota on the Secretary of State’s campaign finance website. Neither credit appears to comply with South Dakota’s political communications statute, SDCL 12-27-15, which requires that (emphasis mine) “Any printed material or communication made, purchased, paid for, or authorized by a candidate or political committee that disseminates information concerning a candidate, public office holder, ballot question, or political party shall prominently display or clearly speak the statement: “Paid for by (name of candidate or political committee).”
I’m sure Speaker Mickelson, avid opponent of out-of-state expenditures (and not quite as avid an opponent of dark money from unknown donors) will be contacting his former legislative colleague Deutsch to find out who exactly is paying for this intrusion on South Dakota’s ballot question process.