After running without analysis Dusty Johnson’s false claim of record fundraising for his U.S. House campaign, Dakota War College further exposes its in-the-tankedness for Team Dusty by ignoring the main headline from Johnson’s and his Republican opponent Shantel Krebs’s Q2 FEC reports: over the last three months, Krebs raised more money than Johnson.
Johnson still leads Krebs in cash on hand and overall fundraising. Johnson has raised $354,578.84 and has $288,563 in the bank, while Krebs has raised $271,113 and has $230,470 on hand. But Johnson launched his campaign last November 14, four months before Krebs. Johnson has been campaigning more than twice as long, but he only has 30% more total fundraising to show for it.
And while both have cooled from the per-day rates I calculated in April, Krebs is still squeezing more money per day from donors, raising an average of $2,464.66 per day on the campaign trail, %59 better than Johnson’s $1,548.38 daily take.
In addition to the glaring omission of Krebs’s fundraising superiority to Johnson, the Johnson-sponsored DWC uses other language to boost its man while dismissing the woman who ousted its past patron:
DWC says Johnson is “chugging along”; DWC gives Krebs no such muscular verb.
Johnson is “maintaining” cash on hand, while Krebs is “sitting on” money in the bank. Johnson gets an active verb; Krebs gets a more passive verb.
DWC lists notable donors to each candidate, but emphasizes that Johnson’s donors include “a pile of other names you might recognize.”
DWC notes Krebs’s spending on “consulting” from two out-of-state firms, and Republicans and Democrats alike like to ding campaigns for out-of-state influence. DWC omits mention of Johnson’s expenses… but this time, that’s o.k., since Dusty didn’t spend anything on out-of-state consultants or vendors in Q2! Well done, Dusty, keeping it all local!
“Dusty’s fundraising has been extraordinary,” said Campaign Manager Erin Schoenbeck. “No one in the history of our state has garnered sustained support like Dusty – meeting or exceeding $100,000.00 for three quarters in a row. With a year to go, Dusty is already close to raising more money than any congressional challenger or open seat candidate in South Dakota history.”
Paging Dr. Curd… Sioux Falls physician and state legislator R. Blake Curd ran for House in 2010. He placed third behind winner Kristi Noem and runner-up Chris Nelson. Curd launched his campaign on October 1, 2009.
Curd exceeded $100,000.00 for three quarters in a row. Team Johnson’s claim that Dusty is the only person in the history of our state to garner over $100,000 in campaign contributions in three consecutive quarters is false.
Press releases are like picnicking: you’ve got to watch what you’re eating. Otherwise, you don’t notice the bird poop on the potato salad.
A month after Aberdeen’s local election, Elisa Sand notes that three of our ten local city council candidates went above and beyond campaign finance requirements to actually report how much they spent on their city council campaigns. Aberdeen does not require city candidates to report their campaign spending, but winners Dave Lunzman and Clint Rux and loser Tim Prater filed reports anyway. Lunzman spent $2,005, Rux spent $1,702, and Prater spent $1,220.
The only papers city council candidates have to file other than their nominating petitions are their statements of financial interest. This requirement applies to “Any candidate for county commissioner, school board member in a school district with a total enrollment of more than two thousand students, or commissioner, council member, or mayor in any first class municipality” (SDCL 12-25-30) as well as state and federal candidates. These statements must list any business or economic relationship that provides over $2,000 or more than 10% of the income of the candidate’s immediate family. That means, for example, that when I ran for Legislature last year, I had to list my substitute teaching, my blogging, and my wife’s pastoring as sources of income. I didn’t have to list how much we make in each of those enterprises; I just had to list those economic relationships.
Our Aberdeen City Council candidates did a poor job of fulfilling those requirements.
Some, like Prater, listed their jobs in the upper portion of the form but did not include those jobs in the financial interest disclosure list. Remily and Olson (the blurry scan—sorry!) are semi-retired, but they both have side jobs that are not listed in their enterprise lists, omissions which are allowable only if they don’t make more than $2,000 a year in those jobs. Tom Black left out his work as a home inspector. Dave Lunzman left out his position with the Division of Criminal Investigation, which he was scheduled to retire from on June 8 but which he held when he filed his statement of financial interest on April 3. Clint Rux, James Washnok, and Luke Bunke listed no business or economic relationships, even though they all clearly have jobs.
The only candidates who may have complied fully with the requirements of the financial interest disclosure law may be Kaleb Weis, who described himself as a stay-at-home dad” and “community and church volunteer” in his AAN bio and who dutifully listed his wife’s breadwinning at Avera, and Joshua Jones, who listed his job at Twin City Fan.
Violations of the financial interest disclosure statutes are mere petty offenses (though if anyone can prove intent, the state can bump that up to a Class 2 misdemeanor), on the same level as a parking ticket. And since Secretary of State Shantel Krebs doesn’t have any campaign finance cops (and may be pre-occupied dealing with her own campaign infraction this morning), I don’t expect anyone will be dropping by the above candidates’ houses to write a ticket any time soon.
The home screen of the Vote605 app offers three buttons: search for voter, Facebook, and Twitter.
This morning when I tap on the Vote605 Facebook button, the app sends me to Shantel Krebs’s campaign Facebook page, where the first thing I see is her profile icon reading, “Shantel Krebs—Congress“:
Now interestingly, federal election law exempts providing without charge a link to a website from reporting requirements, so the Federal Election Commission may not have a hammer to drop on Krebs. However, the state campaign finance laws for which the Secretary of State bears some enforcement responsibility may make this app-campaign linkage illegal. South Dakota Codified Law 12-27-20 says, “The state, an agency of the state, and the governing body of any county, municipality, or other political subdivision of the state may not expend or permit the expenditure of public funds for the purpose of influencing the nomination or election of any candidate….” Vote605 was created by a state office with state funds. Using that public resource to give users a link to one candidate’s political page serves the purpose of influencing the nomination and election of that candidate. That Facebook link on the Vote605 app thus appears to violate state campaign finance law.
South Dakota may see more ballot measures in 2018 than in 2016, thanks in part to Republican Speaker G. Mark Mickelson. Ten measures made the 2016 ballot; right now, petitions for five ballot measures are circulating, and nine more distinct proposals may hit the streets. That’s fourteen total, three of which come from the leader of the party that has tried to stifle ballot measures.
If a ballot question committee receives $25,000 or more from a single political action committee or an “entity” (remember, that’s the new term of campaign finance art created by 2017 Senate Bill 54 to refer to businesses, unions, and other donors other than natural persons, candidate committees, political parties, and PACs), the ballot question committee must file a report listing the names and addresses of that PAC or entity’s 50 largest contributors.
Any PAC or entity spending $25K or more on independent campaign ads must report its 50 largest contributors.
If any of those 50 largest contributors is a PAC or entity that doesn’t have to report its contributors, then the ballot question committee or entity or PAC must also go find out and report that contributor’s top fifty contributors.
Reporting committees don’t have to disclose 501(c)3 nonprofits; entities “from which any part of the net earnings inure to the benefit of a private shareholder, partner, member, or person;” or donors giving less than $5,000.
Failure to report brings up to a $5,000 civil penalty. Ballot question committees may have to pay an additional fine equal to a quarter of an undisclosed donor’s aggregate contributions. Entities and PACs may have to pay an additional fine equal to a quarter of what they spent on independent communications. Any violation would also be a Class 1 misdemeanor, meaning up to a year in jail and $2,000 fine.
Any violating committee is banned from contributing to any other ballot question committee or making any other independent communication expenditure for five years.
All ballot question committees created, funded, or run by the same outfit “are affiliated and share a single contribution limit.”
Sections 6 and 7 together interest me. If one reads Section 6 as a “limit”—and indeed, Section 6 sets a contribution limit of zero on a violator—then Section 7 appears to close the loophole that would let a violator get around Mickelson’s ban by forming a new committee.
…”When Buckley identified a sufficiently important governmental interest in preventing corruption or the appearance of corruption, that interest was limited to quid pro quo corruption.” Citizens United v. F.E.C., 567 U.S. 516 (2012).
Further, the Supreme Court of the United States directly addressed the issue of limits or prohibitions on contributions to ballot question committees and found them to be an unconstitutional restraint on the rights of association and free speech…
However, the Supreme Court has not directly addressed the issue of whether a state may prohibit independent expenditures or contributions to a ballot question committee as part of a criminal penalty. With regard to other protected rights, however, the Court has upheld a prohibition only as against those who have committed felonies, not misdemeanors [Jason Hancock, LRC director, letter to Rep. G. Mark Mickelson, 2017.06.30].
Concerns about constitutionality didn’t stop Speaker Mickelson from getting this bill through the House 42–25, but the Chamber of Commerce, the Retailers, the fundagelicals, ALEC, and the Koch Brothers all ganged up on HB 1200 to kill it in Senate Judiciary on March 1. As with his proposal to ban out-of-state money from ballot question campaigns, Speaker Mickelson is bringing to the people a measure that he couldn’t muscle past the big-money lobbyists in Pierre.
I’ll admit I’m torn in evaluating Mickelson’s initiative efforts. I appreciate his newfound faith in the voters, especially after he pushed the lawsuit and legislation that overturned the voter-approved Initiated Measure 22. But I feel a little uneasy about a legislator resorting to the people’s initiative process to pass his bills. I guess I didn’t complain about Rep. Rev. Steve Hickey using the initiative process to place his 36% payday loan rate cap on the 2016 ballot, but Hickey resigned from the Legislature during the petition process, and he never enjoyed the sort of power that Mickelson does as Speaker of the House, leading the supermajority party in the Legislature and thus in a position to pass almost anything he wants in Pierre.
And now instead of using that unique power, the chance he gets every January in Pierre to cajole and horsetrade his way to legislative wins on the floor of the House with a few dozen of his closest friends, Speaker Mickelson is coming into our clubhouse and crowding the already arduous petition process with his three proposals, every one of which has clear constitutional problems.
But even the mighty Speaker Mickelson may not be able to overcome the power of big money in Pierre. If he really can’t move campaign finance transparency among his privileged Pierre pals, maybe he has to come to us for approval. And even though he spurned us with his repeal of IM22 (and don’t let him forget that), maybe we can hear him out on his three petitions.
Two ballot question committees have formed to oppose South Dakota’s “Death with Dignity“/assisted suicide initiative, and that initiative hasn’t even made the ballot yet.
On June 17, Seattle attorney Margaret K. Dore filed a statement of organization for “Choice Is an Illusion South Dakota” (mmm… let’s get metaphysical). Dore writes frequently in opposition to “death with dignity” laws in her home state of Washington and elsewhere, saying that laws allowing terminally ill patients to request lethal prescriptions to end their lives early open the door to elder abuse. South Dakota’s measure is largely copied from Washington’s existing assisted-suicide statutes. Dore has already launched a website to campaign against the measure and discourage South Dakotans from signing the petition to place the initiative on the ballot. I will be curious to see whether Speaker G. Mark Mickelson and other Republicans try to ban Dore’s out-of-state money from the debate over the assisted-suicide initiative.
In a May 20 blog post urging South Dakotans not to sign the assisted-suicide petition, Dore claims, “The measure is sold as completely voluntary, but someone else is allowed to speak for the patient during the lethal dose request process, even a stranger.” This claim is deceptive: the initiative text circulating requires two witnesses sign a patient’s written request for life-ending drugs, but nothing in the initiative authorizes anyone to “speak for” a terminally ill patient; the patient herself must make every request.
On June 23, Lance Nielsen of Sioux Falls filed a statement of organization for “Suicide Is Suicide.” Nielsen gives his committee’s street address as 2101 W. 41st St., Sioux Falls, SD 57105, which is also the address for the Samp Law Office. Someone has reserved the domain name suicideissuicide.org for Nielsen’s committee to use for a contact e-mail address, but no website has yet been posted to that domain.
I’d still argue that Jason Glodt and utility players to be named later are likely to be handling most of the campaign’s heavy lifting. But Jackley is right about Bartscher’s upbeat attitude and skills in working with people. He is a pleasant, likable guy, whether or not you agree with him on key social issues.
Jackley rejects my “trending hard right” argument, saying that he’ll have a Reagan-like big-tent approach to staffing, with all Republican perspectives represented. But Bartscher’s hiring clearly continues Jackley’s strategy to lock up a good share of the conservative base as early in the campaign as he can.
I’d like to think Noem could exploit some rift between Bartscher and the crowd that last month pushed him out of Family Heritage Alliance (and said weird, illogical things to justify that out-push). Set the fundies against each other, pitch a primary battle so bloody the losers are left disillusioned and disinclined to vote in November.
But if the Sharia for Jesus crowd of which Bartscher is a part can rally to vote for Donald John Trump in record numbers, they’ll have no problem recoalescing for either of these lesser Republican evils for governor in November after next. The only opening for Democrats in Jackley’s Barstcher hire is the hope that the Christian absolutists will fight the primary like it’s the end of the world (and for a lot of Bartscherites, it is) and thus deplete the resources available to fight the Democratic nominee in the homestretch.
Speaker G. Mark Mickelson is proposing a second ballot initiative, this one to ban out-of-state financing of campaigns for and against ballot measures. Just like his colleague Rep. Spencer Gosch’s failed House Bill 1074, which tried to cap out-of-state contributions to ballot question committees, Speaker Mickelson’s proposal is unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court of the United States has not directly addressed the issue of limits or prohibitions on out-of-state contributions to ballot question committees. Please be advised, however, that closely related rulings by the court about contribution limits to ballot question committees indicate the prohibition in this draft may be subject to constitutional scrutiny. Political contribution limits are generally upheld by the court for “‘the prevention of corruption and the appearance of corruption.”‘ See Nixon v. Shrink Missouri Government PAC, 528 U.5.377,388 (2000), quoting Buckley v. Valeo, 425 U.S. 1,25 (I976t.. contribution limits to ballot question committees, however, have been viewed by the court as a restraint on the rights of association and free speech. see Citizens Against Rent Control v. City of Berkeley, 454 U.S. 290,300 (1981) [Jason Hancock, LRC, letter to Speaker G. Mark Mickelson, 2017.06.04].
Ben Lee, state director of Americans for Prosperity, said aiming to outlaw businesses or groups is the wrong approach when many entities span across geographic borders. The former director of the campaign to defeat Initiated Measure 22 said the measure could profoundly limit individuals’ free political speech.
Aaaarrgghh—G. Mark! Don’t go forcing me to agree with Ben Lee!
Alas, for the moment, on this point, I agree with Ben Lee. Mickelson’s proposed initiative is a step in an unconstitutional direction. Mickelson gave IM22 sponsors grief for pushing what LRC warned might be unconstitutional; if Mickelson is consistent, he will heed the advice of LRC and even his AFP pals and back off this ban on contributions to ballot measures by Minnesotans and other strangers.
The tables comparing previous campaign finance law to the amended law confirms my analysis during the Legislative Session that, far from honoring the will of the voters and putting more restrictions on big money politics, self-serving legislators essentially restored the lax status quo with some tweaks to put more money in their campaign coffers. Consider these tables comparing the status quo, the campaign finance limits that voters approved but Republicans repealed in Initiated Measure 22, and the rules included in SB 54, which kick in on July 1:
Every lower campaign finance limit that voters approved in IM 22 is gone. Almost every limit previous to IM22 is restored by SB 54. Businesses and unions (referred to as “entities”) can now donate directly to candidates and parties, in addition to the money they can funnel into campaigns via PACs. And for all the Republican concerns about too much money being spent on ballot measures, they make sure to lift the previous ban on PAC contributions to ballot question committees.
In preparing these charts, the Secretary of State did make some errors. She characterizes the rules on contributions from ballot question committees as “unclear”. This is incorrect:
IM 22 Section 5 said, “No candidate for statewide office may accept a contribution from a ballot question committee.”
IM 22 Section 6 said, “No candidate for legislative or county office may accept a contribution from a ballot question committee.”
IM 22 Section 7 maintained the prohibition on contributions to PACs from ballot question committees but phrased it more clearly: “A political action committee may not accept contributions from a ballot question committee.”
IM 22 Section 8 similarly clarified the prohibition on ballot question committees’ contributions to parties: “A political party may not accept contributions from a ballot question committee.”
The past performance presented in these summaries indicates we should not expect this interim committee to produce any major reforms limiting big money in South Dakota politics.