Nine Republican legislators from South Dakota traveled on taxpayer dollars in Fiscal Year 2017 to imbibe the corporate-fascist nectar of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. According to an Out-of-State Legislative Travel Expense Report prepared by the Legislative Research Council, we reimbursed these nine Republicans a total of $18,750.33 for 17 trips to big-money propaganda sessions designed to promote legislation to weaken state governments and increase private corporate power.
|Legislator||FY2017 ALEC travel reimbursements||# of trips|
|total ALEC bill||$18,750.33||17|
Brian Gosch attended the ALEC Annual Meeting in Indianapolis on July 27, 2016, and the ALEC 2016 States & Nation Policy Summit in Washington, D.C., on November 30, 2016, on our dime—actually, on 26,000 of our dimes—even though he did not stand for re-election and thus would not be returning to the Legislature in 2017 to provide any arguable public value for our investment.
Isaac Latterell attended both the ALEC 2016 Annual Meeting and the ALEC 2017 Spring Task Force Meeting in Charlotte, NC, with his now-married former power-coupler Jenna Netherton. It’s nice to know those two can still get along on the road professionally.
Al Novstrup celebrated his November victory and return to the Senate by traveling to ALEC’s Washington, D.C., shindig at the end of November. Funny that he would come back and propose a $39-million property tax increase two months later—I don’t see that anywhere in ALEC’s model legislation. Jeepers, Al: if we’re going to pay for your trips to Washington, D.C., at least pay attention to your corporate overlords!
The LRC also has data on taxpayer-funded out-of-state travel so far this year. Seven purportedly conservative Republicans charged us for their trip to the ALEC 2017 Annual Meeting in Denver, where they got to listen to billionaire Betsy DeVos tell them how to further ALEC’s goal of destroying public education:
|Legislator||FY2018 ALEC travel reimbursements (as of 9/22/2017)|
|total ALEC charges||$7,443.66|
The LRC reports cover lodging, transportation, and meals. It omits taxi fares, baggage charges, and other miscellaneous expenses that, according to LRC director Jason Hancock, may add a single-digit percentage point to the out-of-state travel charges.