We knew the Republicans on Senator Jordan Youngberg’s interim task force on campaign finance would never let Democrats sneak the old IM 22 camapign finance limits back into law. The task force rejected Senator Craig Kennedy’s proposal to that effect along party lines yesterday.
What we didn’t know was that task force member and gubernatorial chief of staff Tony Venhuizen, who’s usually pretty clever, would contradict his party’s line on why it was o.k. to repeal an initiative the voters supported:
Gov. Dennis Daugaard, a Republican, signed the IM 22 repeal. Tony Venhuizen, his chief of staff, was a task force member. Venhuizen said Monday his perception of IM 22 was the reduced contribution limits were intended to work with a public campaign financing system.
Kennedy’s proposal Monday called only for the lower limits.
“If we’re going to do half without honoring the other half, we are not honoring the will of the voters,” Venhuizen argued. Venhuizen said he voted against IM 22.
Kennedy agreed his plan was “a piece” [Bob Mercer, “Republicans Won’t Restore IM 22’s Contribution Limits,” Pierre Capital Journal, 2017.10.17].
Wait a minute: so if voters approve A, B, and C, and if arrogant legislators repeal A, B, and C, then legislators would further dishonor voters by offering a compromise and restoring A?
I don’t buy that. Neither did Rep. Larry Rhoden, who supported passage of IM22-like lobbying restrictions to “provide assurances to the people of this state that we are listening, that we abide by their wishes.” Neither did Venhuizen’s boss back during Session, when he cheered the passage of bills to “replace portions of IM22″… unless, of course, Venhuizen is saying that Governor Daugaard dishonored the voters by signing those partial replacements, in which case, everybody go stake out the Capitol to watch Dennis toss his son-in-law Tony and his things out of his second-floor office.
Tony! Get on message! Your own party says that restoring parts of an overturned law is acceptable practice. I’m willing to bet lots of voters would take a similar, practical, glass-half-full perspective, that at least restoring the campaign finance limits in IM22 would be better than nothing.
A piece of pie is better than no pie. Serve it up, Senator Kennedy!