Anti-Voter Lawsuit on IM 21 Moved to August 10–11, Payday Lenders Still Snooping

Hold off on that trip to Pierre! I hear from Rev. Steve Hickey that the payday lender lawsuit to yank Initiated Measure 21, the real 36% rate cap, from our ballot has been moved from this Thursday and Friday to August 10–11. That’s cutting things really close—the deadline for the Secretary of State to get final printed ballots to the county auditors is Tuesday, August 16, so whoever loses Sixth Circuit Judge Mark Barnett’s vote will have little if any chance to appeal to the South Dakota Supreme Court. But as weak as the payday lenders’ case is, their legal minions must figure they need to use this month to keep fishing for evidence and less ridiculous arguments.

Payday lender investigator in Sioux Falls, 2016.07.05.
Payday lender investigator in Sioux Falls, 2016.07.05.

That fishing expedition resumed yesterday, with this dude showing up at Rev. Hickey’s former address. The driver appears to be Craig S. Olson, who joined Aaron Lorenzen in filing the January challenge against the IM 21 petition with the Secretary of State. According to Rev. Hickey, this man was trolling around Sioux Falls asking about the pastor’s daughter, who helped circulate the petition that her dad sponsored. If you see this guy or anyone else poking around your neighborhood asking questions about citizen participation in democracy, snap a photo, ask some questions (who are you, who’s paying you, have you ever worked for Dan Lederman, and why don’t you want people to vote on capping interest rates on payday loans?), and let me know!

14 Responses to Anti-Voter Lawsuit on IM 21 Moved to August 10–11, Payday Lenders Still Snooping

  1. As you’ve indicated, Cory, two red flags jump out about pushing back the hearing date to less than a week before the deadline:

    1. Mark Barnett might be wearing a robe these days, but in his previous job as Attorney General his reputation was that of a partisan meddler who was not above using his office in law enforcement to punish Democrats and cast a blind eye to partisan pals.

    2. The advantages this decision give to the hired guns on the loan sharks’ payrolls to destroy IM21. They’ve got more time to harass folks and conjure “evidence,” and IM21 organizers, who don’t have deep pockets, have virtually no time to stop a horses— decision from this highly political judge.

    What was the official reasoning for pushing this hearing date so very close to the state’s ballot deadline? Why has there been virtually no news coverage on this?

  2. David Bergan

    “their legal minions must figure they need to use this month to keep fishing for evidence and less ridiculous arguments.”

    minion – from French, mignon, darling. Are these stalkers really the filet mignon of the payday lending team?

    Words and etymology fascinate me.

    Kind regards,

  3. 96, I haven’t been down to the courthouse yet, so I haven’t seen if the court or the parties have filed any official reason for the delay to the last week. I agree that the delay favors the fakers, giving them more time to cook up more spaghetti and less time for the state and the petitioners to show why it can’t stick.

    David—fascinating! These trolls are certainly the little darling playthings of the payday lenders… and a responsible court will certainly filet, mince, and throw out their bogus “evidence”.

  4. Steve Hickey

    On the delay. They asked the court for a deferred date and got it. We suspect they want some days to add my daughter to their list of circulators who weren’t home when they came calling.

    They have never attempted to contact me or my wife. We are easy to get ahold of- people all over the state contact me and I’m a quick reply. I’d think my contact info is even still up on the state website. Judge Barnett even chuckled at the hearing and said- doesn’t everyone in SD know where Steve Hickey is?

    When they lose this case the ballots get printed with no time for appeal unless they can get some imposition to delay printing.

  5. Darin Larson

    Since when has the test for residency been based upon whether someone happened to be home when a private eye comes calling?

  6. An eager reader reminds me that we should not insult real private investigators by gracing guys like Craig Olson with that moniker. The payday lenders are paying Olson, Napier, and perhaps others to go around asking questions. These guys are technically investigating petition circulators, but they are not professionals in this field.

  7. barry freed

    When the latest IM season came around, I advocated brainstorming here for the creation of IM”s that would strengthen and protect our Rights. After what the Legislature did to previous IM’s and referrals, the need was obvious.

    Now we have a SOS and out of State corporations attacking and dismantling our IM powers. Cory Inc. is against the Right to choose our own medicines or medical treatments, hence the SOS’s machinations are no big deal. When successful, due to Media and bipartisan disinterest ( lawmakers don’t know anyone who uses payday lending and the State makes too much money to risk decriminalizing medical marijuana ), these dirty tricks and quasi-legal maneuvers will be applied to all future groundswell IM’s. We’ve seen bipartisan hurdles for IM’s raised in Pierre already. They will mold IM’s into something only the rich can utilize.

    We protect ourselves by fighting for those less fortunate and fighting for peoples’ choices with which we don’t agree, but are their Natural Right.

  8. Barry, your comment confuses me. Please specify how SOS is attacking and dismantling our IM powers with respect to the medical cannabis petition and how I have been ignoring any such machinations due to your false assignation to me of a pro-corporate agenda. (Please remember, I signed the medical cannabis petition.)

  9. barry freed


  10. So much for clarification.

  11. Interesting.

    Sun Tsu says while mounting an offensive appear to be disorganized so the enemy does not take you seriously. By moving the court date to Aug if they win for whatever reason it gives IM21 less time to organize an appeal. So maybe all this investigating is just fluff to keep IM21 people unprepared for what they really have planned. So the question is this stupidity or misdirection? When you have corrupt politicians and a few million to throw at a problem people can get pretty creative…

  12. Darin Larson

    The legal showing required to stop an initiated measure from being on the ballot after having been certified by the SOS should be a high bar. The judge should be loathe to shortcut a vote by our citizens.

    I see this move by the loan sharks as an admission that their case has no substance and they want more time to come up with something.

  13. Darin, I agree, and I’m pretty sure honest judges will agree. Short-circuiting the will of the voters, both those who have already signed petitions to call a vote and the many more who will have the chance to exercise their right to vote in November, is not done lightly by the judiciary.

    Daleb, your caution is warranted; the payday lenders are capable of anything. But what else could they have to upset the petition? The IM 21 petition drive was honest, grassroots action. The payday lenders will have to fabricate evidence, and they’ll have to do an awesome job of it to trick the AG and the judge.

    Maybe I’m overly optimistic, but I’m going to read the delay as a sign that the payday lenders know they don’t have enough to win and want another month to see if they can concoct anything better. If they had gone through with the trial last week, they’d have been stuck with the evidence in hand right now for their appeal to the state Supreme Court. They could throw no new spaghetti. They’re putting all of their eggs in the Circuit Court and hoping for a Hail Mary from which the state and IM 21 supporters won’t have time to recover.