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Jackley Campaigner Pankratz Talks Tobacco, Haber, and Hawaii

Jeromy Pankratz speaks at the Brown County Republicans Reagan Lunch, Aberdeen, SD, 2015.05.14.
Jeromy Pankratz speaks at the Brown County Republicans Reagan Lunch, Aberdeen, SD, 2015.05.14.

Jeromy Pankratz spoke to Brown County Republicans (and one Democrat) at the Reagan Lunch in Aberdeen today. Press for the event and Pankratz’s Linkedin profile say he is, present tense, Attorney General Marty Jackley’s senior campaign advisor. Pankratz did a fine job of masterminding Jackley’s 82% victory over Chad Haber in last November’s election, which Pankratz told the crowd is the biggest win in any contested South Dakota election ever. But that was last November. I asked Pankratz if there is, present tense, a Marty Jackley campaign. He said, “Anything is possible.”

But Pankratz didn’t come to Aberdeen to launch his boss’s 2018 gubernatorial bid two years early. He came to talk about his other job, in the Attorney General’s office, where he fulfills three roles:

1. Pankratz directs all tobacco settlement litigation. Pankratz joked that it took him two years just to figure out what all that job entailed, but essentially, he makes sure South Dakota continues to receive the $23 million to $28 million annually that has rolled into our state from Big Tobacco since the 1998 settlement. (Policy note: we rank 12th among states for the percentage of that tobacco money we spend on tobacco-prevention programs: out of $23.9 million in settlement money, we spent $4.5 million on tobacco prevention prevention.)

2. Pankratz handles lobbying and governmental relations for the AG. During Session, Pankratz testifies before committees and works the halls to get legislators to do what AG Jackley wants. Pankratz reported that this year, he helped the AG get seven of the eight bills he wanted (see Senate Bills 12 through 18). The only no-go was Senate Bill 11, which would have restored a little job protection against mean politicking for the Division of Criminal Investigations chief that the Legislature took away in 2012. Pankratz said that bill died primarily because legislators said, “South Dakota’s a right-to-work state!”

3. Pankratz handles “special projects” (like Jason Williams in Secretary of State Shantel Krebs’s office). In the AG’s office, that means Pankratz gets to field the unexpected and unprecedented questions that come to the Attorney General. (Quick! Someone think up some tricky public-records questions for Jeromy!)

Pankratz indicated that we might hear a little more about Senate Bill 18, the anti-raffle-scam bill, next week as Annette Bosworth’s perjury trial gets underway in Pierre. Senate Bill 18 arose in part because of the revelations of raffle scams perpetrated in 2012 by Bosworth and her husband Chad Haber under the auspices of their so-called charity Preventive Health Strategies. As the AG’s consumer protection office looked into the bogus PHS raffles, the AG discovered that South Dakota didn’t actually have a law saying that selling raffle tickets, taking money, not holding the drawing, and keeping the money is any sort of crime. Senate Bill 18 fixes that odd loophole, saying no, really, if you sell raffle tickets, you either draw for and reward the prizes or you give refunds.

The AG shook loose five $1,000 refunds for PHS raffle ticketholders in April 2013. However, AG Jackley testified before Senate Commerce and Energy in February 2015 that thirteen other raffle ticketholders are still waiting for refunds from PHS. Pankratz said that the AG’s office can’t retroactively apply Senate Bill 18 to the Haber and Bosworth raffle scam, but the consumer protection office continues to seek some restitution for the ticket buyers Haber and Bosworth cheated.

Haber owes South Dakota taxpayers at least $6,000 for his violations of campaign finance law. Haber is now months delinquent in filing the pre-general (due October 24, 2014) and year-end (due February 2, 2015) campaign finance reports for his vindictive, publicity-seeking, but never serious campaign to unseat Jackey as AG. Past sixty days late, each delinquent form incurs the maximum $3,000 fine. Pankratz said that AG Jackley has handed investigation and enforcement of Haber’s campaign finance violations to a different prosecutor, in order to deprive Haber and his deluded hangers-on of the opportunity to say the prosecution for those crimes is simply revenge against a political opponent. (Not that reality checks matter to the cult Haber and Bosworth cultivate, but reality check: beating a guy 82% to 18% at the polls is about all the revenge any sane politician needs, and whatever his faults, Marty Jackley strikes me as quite blandly sane.)

On the personal side, Pankratz talked about his education. He has a master’s degree in English and professes a love of 19th-century European literature. Add Pankratz to the list of humanities graduates holding pretty good jobs in Pierre, despite Governor Dennis Daugaard’s insistence that liberal arts degrees lead to bad job prospects.

Pankratz, a Sioux Falls native, got to study law in Hawaii a dozen-plus years ago. He said he had an offer that could have kept him in Hawaii, but he traded the sea of blue for the sea of summer green, autumn gold, and winter white of his home state. GOED, pay attention! Instead of comparing South Dakota to Mars, you should have more guys like Pankratz comparing South Dakota to Hawaii.


  1. Roger Cornelius 2015-05-14 17:54

    Today the republican Supreme Court of South Dakota ruled against reporter Bob Mercer in his quest for information in the EB-5/Benda investigation. Did Prankratz gloat for the success of the continued cover up?

    Cory, great picture of you on the Dump Site, were you praying?

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-05-14 18:17

    Roger, I’m reading the Mercer v. Jackley decision tonight. Pankratz made no comment on that ruling. I didn’t notice any gloating, not even when he mentioned Jackley’s historic 82% vote total.

    In Pat’s gossip pic, I was taking notes on Mr. Pankratz’s speech. I didn’t want to set my notepad on the table, because I was still working on Mavericks’ pretty good cheesy tater tot casserole. Mmmm!

  3. Roger Cornelius 2015-05-14 19:12

    I’m anxious for your and Mercer’s opinions on the Supreme Court ruling that is a continue cover up of the Rounds corruption.

  4. Daniel Buresh 2015-05-14 19:24

    Someone bust out the tinfoil.

  5. owen 2015-05-14 19:29

    Tea Party has plenty left over Daniel. Help yourself

  6. Daniel Buresh 2015-05-14 19:37

    Mr Reitzel, Maybe you can hook up Roger with some contact info.

  7. miles 2015-05-14 19:47

    Is this website just trash-talking liberals or does something meaningful happen here?

  8. Blue Living in a Red State 2015-05-14 21:36

    Jeromy comes from good stock, his dad is Loren, former NARAL-SD lobbyist.

  9. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-05-15 07:37

    Miles, I have numerous meaningful conversations via this blog, including my conversation with Mr. Pankratz yesterday. And I don’t think I talked any trash, although I welcome your correction.

  10. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-05-15 07:38

    Blue Living, Pankratz mentioned his dad’s run for Legislature in District 11. Was his dad a Republican too?

  11. Bill Fleming 2015-05-15 09:06

    Miles, is that a little trick to make us think you might be smart? If you want meaning here, add some yourself. Just sayin’.

  12. larry kurtz 2015-05-15 09:18

    Pankratz is almost as ugly as Corey Brown is.

  13. Char Cornelius 2015-05-15 11:47

    Corey, I am the chairwoman of the GOP in Brown County. I was out of town yesterday and unable to meet you at our Reagan Lunch. Thank you for the informative write-up on Jeromy Pankratz. You are welcome to attend any of our Reagan Lunches. We might even try to convert you to the R side. .

  14. Curt 2015-05-15 12:30

    Was Pankratz Sr a Repub? Unquestionably. Probably still is.

  15. PlanningStudent 2015-05-15 13:32

    When Miles asked about this site being just a bunch of trash talking liberals he probably wasn’t referring to you CHH, just looking a few posts lower at Larry Kurtz’s comment. CHH why do you even let Kurtz post on your blog. He rarely adds anything constructive. He brings your entire blog down at least a notch. Some times great conversations happen here but man sometimes its disgusting…

  16. larry kurtz 2015-05-15 13:35

    Earth haters like PS bring PP’s blog up one notch from coloring books.

  17. Bill Fleming 2015-05-15 13:45

    LOL, Planning Student, nice try, but you do realize that it would have been impossible for “miles” to look down a few posts and see Larry’s comment right?

    I’m thinking his was just some random, drive-by snark.

    Besides, if he was just after Kurtz, why would he presume to indict every one who posts here? As much as I get annoyed with Kurtz’s attitude sometimes, he’s made far more meaningful contributions here (on his good days) than “Miles” ever has.

    So have you for that matter. Just sayin’.

    When “miles” throws down something deep that makes us all go “hmmm” maybe I’ll cut him some slack. But for now, his comment just looks to me like some drive-by punk.

  18. larry kurtz 2015-05-15 13:46

    thanks, honey.

  19. Roger Cornelius 2015-05-15 15:05

    If anyone wants to read trash talk, all you have to do is go to the comment sections on the Dump Site, that is when he actually post a thread.

    Since the Dump Site author has so many literally abilities, he is now reduced to posting endless republican press releases.

    (Insert Sibson whine here, Dump Site has banned me).

  20. mikeyc, that's me! 2015-05-15 16:15

    You crack me up.

  21. Rorschach 2015-05-15 16:28

    Any Republican looking for a good gubmint job probably shouldn’t look in Hawaii. At least not until there’s a Republican President. His job with AG Jackley is probably a good place for him to be, and may provide a good launching pad for a political career of his own. Maybe an attorney general race in a couple of years. I know his father, have done some business with him. Good stock indeed.

  22. larry kurtz 2015-05-15 17:11

    thanks, mikey! no doubt spank ratz writes marty’s letters to the department of justice, too.

  23. larry kurtz 2015-05-15 17:14

    As long as PP uses disrespectful handles for our candidates like he has done for Rick Weiland and others I will continue to verbally attack GOPers.

  24. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-05-15 22:15

    I remain unconvinced that regularly sinking to Pat’s level does Democrats or the South Dakota blogosphere any good. I’m unconvinced the name-calling does any more than give jollies to Pat and his few devoted followers, people who are mostly unaffected by our responses. I am willing to put faith in the idea that anyone really paying attention can see Powers being a jerk, then turn to this blog and see me attending a public Republican event, having reasonable conversations, and reporting factually about statements made by the Republican official present, and come to reasonable conclusion about relative merit of our products. Calling names, whether in person at the event or here in the comment section, undermines that unique advantage.

  25. leslie 2015-05-15 22:53

    my arent pubs touchy. givem hell arry!!

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