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Payday Stooge Thuringer Files Bogus Accusations Against Honest SD 36% Rate Cap Circulators

Bradley Thuringer
Bradley Thuringer, payday stooge—not talking, not winning.

South Dakota’s payday lender stooges continue to stonewall the press. South Dakota Public Broadcasting tries to get hold of Bradley Thuringer, chair of Rod Aycox’s astroturf “Give Us Credit” committee commissioned to defeat the 36% payday loan rate cap proposed under Initiated Measure 21, and gets no response. Nor does SDPB pry comment from Thuringer’s well-connected GOP lawyer Sara Frankenstein, who is doing the leg work on the payday lenders’ new lawsuit to take away your chance to vote on IM 21. Just like fake-rate-cap Amendment U sponsor Lisa Furlong, Thuringer seems embarrassed to speak to the media about the slimy and shoddy work he’s doing for loan sharks.

I have heard back from a couple of the petition circulators named in Thuringer’s lawsuit against the state, and their comments, plus publicly available information, make clear that the payday lenders are blowing smoke with their specious challenge to the honest petition that put the 36% rate cap on the ballot.

Thuringer contends on behalf of the payday lenders that six IM21 petition circulators could not be found at the addresses they wrote on their circulator’s oaths and therefore the 2,658 signatures they collected should be thrown out.

Petition sponsor Rev. Steve Hickey and his wife Kristen Hickey collected 435 signatures and put down their Sioux Falls address before they left for Scotland for Pastor Steve’s graduate studies. The Hickeys maintain their South Dakota residency and voter registration status, and Pastor Hickey tells me they do intend to come back to South Dakota. The Hickeys clearly satisfied the residency requirement when they circulated the IM 21 petition in 2015, and they continue to satisfy the statutory definition of voting residency that Thuringer questions.

Petition sponsor Reynold Nesiba collected 1,984 signatures and put down his Sioux Falls address before he moved across town. Nesiba has been in the press this year as the triumphant candidate in the District 15 Senate Democratic primary. He clearly satisfied and continues to satisfy the residency requirement for petition circulators.

Barbara Basketfield collected 43 signatures for the 36% rate cap petition and put down her Rapid City address. Later in 2015, she moved south and down the ridge from Signal Drive to Elm Avenue. She’s on the road right now supporting Lakota youth on the Mitakupi Foundation’s Sacred Hoop Prayer Run, a 500-mile run around the Black Hills through South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Montana. Basketfield met the petition circulator petition requirement last year when she collected signatures, and she meets it today.

Jean Behr collected 161 signatures for the IM 21 petition and wrote down her Sioux Falls address. If Thuringer’s P.I. couldn’t find Jean Behr, he may not have tried hard enough. I Google around and find a Jean Behr who is South Dakota manager of advocacy and development for Planned Parenthood. Sounds like a legitimate circulator to me.

Thuringer bailbondsman P.I. Mike Napier attests in his affidavit in Thuringer’s lawsuit that one Lincoln Steel of Rapid City appears as a circulator of the IM 21 petition. Napier tracked Steel’s address to the School of Mines, asked around at the campus Human Resources office, and was told no one there had heard of “Lincoln Steel.” School of Mines has probably heard of Lincoln Stoel, Hardrocker chemical engineering student, engineering intern at POET, and South Dakota Bernie Sanders enthusiast. I’m just speculating, but there’s a high likelihood that Thuringer’s man misread an o as an e and based foul accusations of criminal activity thereupon. If Stoel is the circulator in question, Stoel quite likely satisfies the petition circulator residency requirements.

Not that I need to track down information and prove the petitioners’ innocence. Thuringer is making the affirmative claim of wrongdoing; Thuringer needs his dogs Napier and Frankenstein to hunt up the evidence to prove his claim. The documents they’ve filed fall far short of that burden, and the evidence I present on casual e-mailing and Web surfing from my comfy office they probably can’t satisfy that burden. The Thuringer complaint throw more spaghetti, but the circulator residency noodles won’t stick.

Rod Aycox, you’re paying these people for this shoddy work? Good grief—you might need us to regulate your industry for your own sake, so you can learn to spend wisely on a more limited budget.


  1. Steve Hickey 2016-06-22 12:55

    Stooge is a good word for this bought and paid for bozo. Glad to see his face. Imagine what we’d find if we gave them a taste of their own medicine and went digging into the legalities of their 18% fake rate cap circulators?! It was the most unscrupulous petition drive in state history and this blog has named a few of the politicos who helped scam the voters of our state. These people should be ashamed. Someone on the payroll needs to send PP some talking points quick because he’s drawing a blank. It’s very evident to us reading what he writes on this issue that he is not the source of it.

  2. David Newquist 2016-06-22 13:43

    Nothing drives a predator into a panicked rage more than when its prey field is threatened.

  3. Donald Pay 2016-06-22 14:24

    I checked out a number of articles over the year where Thuringer is asked for comments, but he never utters a peep. The journalists leave messages, but Thuringer never responds. It’s like he’s the man who wasn’t there.

    It’s a nice picture, but is there really a Bradley Thuringer? Does anyone know this guy? Anyone ever seen him? Will the real Bradley Thuringer please stand up?

  4. Donald Pay 2016-06-22 14:25

    I checked out a number of articles over the year where Thuringer is asked for comments, but he never utters a peep. The journalists leave messages, but Thuringer never responds. It’s like he’s the man who wasn’t there.

    It’s a nice picture, but it might be just a stock shot. Is there really a Bradley Thuringer? Does anyone know this guy? Anyone ever seen him? Will the real Bradley Thuringer please stand up?

  5. mike from iowa 2016-06-22 16:16

    Give Scotland Yard a call, Hickey. What could it hurt?

  6. LS 2016-06-22 18:36

    Brad Thuringer exists. Although I haven’t seen or spoken to him in over 6 or 7 years, I can confirm that he exists. I first met him when I was working as a bartender in downtown Rapid City. He was working as a bail bondsman for Speedy Release Bail Bonds, which I believe was owned by Dan Lederman. He would stop in sometimes after bonding someone out to do paperwork, etc. I would sometimes get together with a few guys and play cards on my nights off. These guys were mutual friends and sometimes he would join the card game. This was like 15 years ago. Then we both changed jobs, got married, had kids, and stopped running into each other. We weren’t close, so it wasn’t a big deal.

    I don’t know that he is still around Rapid City or not. The house he was living in recently sold. His Linked In profile indicates he is in Austin TX now. I believe he was originally from Mitchell and his parents still live there, I think.

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-06-22 23:01

    LS—Thuringer worked for Lederman, too, just like Napier? Holy cow—is Lederman more involved with this fight that we thought?

  8. leslie 2016-06-23 09:23

    Sara has obviously found her niche within a very good expensive law firm in a small legal market. With fewer large rain-making clients in western SD, a girl’s gotta do what … and in this case she has courageously put on rubber gloves, rolled up her sleeves and decided to scrub late-nite public toilets at the rally to bring in the bacon. :)

  9. Jenny 2016-06-23 09:31

    Is this Thuringer transgender? His photo has strikingly feminine attributes. Anti-LGBT conservatives tend to support payday lenders.

  10. Jenny 2016-06-23 09:32

    I know my transgender boys after living in MN for fifteen years.

  11. daleb 2016-06-23 21:18

    keep track of how much time ppl from IM21 spend defending themselves, as long as how much they may spend retaining council if it ever comes to that. That way you guys can countersue and get some money. It would be even more fun if a judge agrees to a round of depositions. Wishful thinking… probably never come down to that.

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