Krebs Convening Committee to Seek Campaign Finance Transparency Offered by IM 22

Secretary of State Shantel Krebs says she’s seeking public input and convening a committee to discuss campaign finance reform:

Secretary Krebs says she wants campaign finance to be “more transparent and straightforward,” to “ensure that the public and candidates have access to the information that clearly identifies who the money is coming from and where that money is going and when it’s most relevant.”

We could save Secretary Krebs and the Legislature some work by passing Initiated Measure 22, the Anti-Corruption Act, which offers reforms right up the Secretary’s alley:

  1. IM 22 gets rid of loopholes that allow individuals and groups to skirt campaign finance limits by creating multiple committees (Section 10).
  2. IM 22 requires political donors of more than $500 to provide their occupation and current employer for recipients to report (Section 12, Section 22.14).
  3. IM 22 requires four new campaign finance reports, before and after the primary and general elections, to provide more timely information (Section 21).
  4. IM 22 requires electronic submission and posting of campaign finance reports in “retrievable, downloadable, indexable, and electronically searchable” form free of charge to the public (Sections 28–30).

The Koch brothers’ paid screamers don’t mention those positive reforms in their deceptive campaign to defeat IM 22. They just cry about the dreadful prospect of letting voters choose to allocate $100, $50, or $0 of the state taxes they pay to support candidates of their choice who agree to obey strict new small-donor campaign finance rules (i.e., candidates who agree not to play ball with the Koch’s big-money influence buyers). But Minnesota has a voluntary public campaign financing system akin to IM 22’s, and the People’s Republic hasn’t fallen. Far from it: that system is helping candidates compete… including Republicans:

A Minnesota program has given voters a $50 tax refund if they contribute to candidates or political parties that adhere to spending caps. The state also offers direct public payments to qualifying candidates.

That program provided more than $500,000 in public subsidies for then-GOP governor candidate Tom Emmer in 2010. Emmer — now a congressman — narrowly lost that race to Democrat Mark Dayton, who relied heavily on his own fortune. But the subsidy was critical for Emmer’s bid, former campaign manager Cullen Sheehan said.

“I think it is an added value for candidates, certainly, that don’t have the personal resources to write their own checks,” Sheehan said [James Nord, “Put Public Money into Political Campaigns? Foes Say No Way,” AP via Mitchell Daily Republic, 2016.07.31].

Want campaign finance reform? Want more candidates to be able to compete without having to wear rich donors’ leash? Support Initiated Measure 22.

22 Responses to Krebs Convening Committee to Seek Campaign Finance Transparency Offered by IM 22

  1. There is no way any part of this state government can be trusted with “transparency”. They have repeatedly proven they can’t be trusted with anything.

  2. Tim writes:

    There is no way any part of this state government can be trusted with “transparency”. They have repeatedly proven they can’t be trusted with anything.

    No disrespect intended to Tim, but I don’t think blaming Secretary Krebs for other people’s mistakes is really fair. She seems to be one of the most honest and hardworking people in Pierre.

  3. Kurt, no disrespect taken, but the republican controllers of this state, of which Sec Krebs is a part of, cannot be trusted until they earn that trust. What Krebs wants and what the legislature and Daugaard gives her will most likely be two different things. This assumes Krebs is just not trying to head off IM22.

  4. Tim, that’s an interesting suggestion, that Krebs may be laying cover fire for the IM22 opponents, who can say (as I would on RL 19), “Let’s vote down IM 22 and come back to the 2017 Legislature with better proposals.”

    Of course, Tim’s mistrust of the GOp leadership is warranted. RL 19 started as part of a tolerable package of simple election reforms from SOS Krebs and the Board of Elections. GOP legislators grabbed it and turned it into their own little power grab in the form of the Incumbent Protection Plan. Gotta watch those guys like hawks… or just vote ’em out this year and send me with a new crop of legislators to Pierre in 2017!

  5. And I thought every state had that $50 dollar tax refund. I hadn’t realized that Emmer had over $500,000 in state campaign subsidies given to him by the state of MN, and he was a Republican! Oh my! See, MN wants all political parties in the game, unlike SD.

  6. Hard to do such refunds in South Dakota when we don’t have an income tax.

    Jenny, the fairness of the proposal adds to the compelling case for IM22. It favors any candidate of any party who wants to get out from under the yoke of Koch-like corporate money.

  7. SD could do a $50 property tax refund to voters that give to candidates or political parties that adhere to spending caps. Cory. ( It is a popular refund in MN.)

  8. Oh boy! Another committee! Sadly, SoS Krebs is late to the game, but she might just be the last best hope in the current state of SD politics. And that’s not really that great.

    But you gotta give the Koch brothers, SD Chamber and Retailers Association and media for making just one part of IM22 the focus of the discussion.

  9. Does anyone have a real explanation of why the SD Chamber and Retailers are against IM 22? Back in on IM 10 it was a 1st amendment issue. This measure seems to be more about reigning in unchecked power and money.

    Sorry, never mind my question. My apologies to the people who have bought and paid for our state on behalf of God…cuz “Under God, the People Rule.” And we know how much God likes money determining our values.

  10. Young Ms. Krebs is not quite as naive as some but probably won’t rise much in the coming tides. I expect there to be a Deputy Governorship in her future in the next regime. This frees the way for Mr. H to run for State Secretary against either one of those fellows Barnett or Sattgast. Both are up and comers to one degree or another.

  11. Jenny, I suppose we could do property tax refunds, but then we start opening the door to other tax code loopholes. IM 22 seems more straightforward: we make a limited amount of money available for Democracy Credits to achieve the same goals.

    Jana, I can only conclude that the Chamber and Retailers don’t want any reduction of their lobbying and donating power, especially not when coupled with a possible increase in power for regular voters and small-dollar donors.

  12. Grudz, I have a 2016 campaign to win first. One race at a time, please. (Make your check payable to Heidelberger Campaign Fund, or donate online right now!)

  13. Roger Beranek

    Do you really think putting more regulatory controls over campaign finance into the hands of politicians will HELP fight corruption? This initiative is like giving Google powers to enforce net neutrality.

    The concept itself for democracy dollars is just another nudge to make us accept the nonsensical concept of public campaign finance. Artificial hoops and requirements that make it more difficult to raise money also make a candidate more beholden to those giving that money. Honest democracy should make it very easy to raise the money to run for office instead of making it next to impossible to attain public office outside of the two inbred party machines.

  14. Roger, who else, if not government, is going to regulate?

    Consider that IM 22 puts the control of the Democracy Credits completely in the hands of voters. No government official decides who gets that money. Candidates may be just as beholden to donors post-plan as they are in the status quo, but post-plan, participants take less money, meaning less overall donor beholdenness, and smaller donations from more small donors, meaning beholdenness more spread out among lots of voters instead of among a few big special interests.

    Inbred party machines don’t seem to be the money machines; superPACs are taking over that role and hamstringing party power. Your last sentence doesn’t seem to address the direct intent or impact of IM22.

  15. I’m impressed with Shantel shooting that rattlesnake just off of her deck. Besides helping her in her next election campaign, that news story is probably going to sell a few Taurus Judge pistols. I should get one of those myself.

  16. Clearly a shot across Kristi’s bow. Or maybe it’s aimed more at Marty, given that she calls her gun “The Judge.”

  17. My money, both bits of it, are that Ms. Krebs had her manly man go out and beat this snake with a shovel and then she shot the dead carcass with her Ruger Single Six and then giggled like the time she hit a beer can.

  18. Judge is the model name of the pistol, Cory. It shoots 410 shotgun shells, which is perfect for peppering a snake with pellets at close range. Also shoots 45 cal for bigger game, but that requires better aim. From her photos she used 410 shells.

  19. Ror, that shows what I know. Grudz, how dare you question our Secretary of State’s sincerity. Why don’t you step onto her deck and say that?

  20. mike from iowa

    If she was any kind of a man she would have grabbed the snake and bit its head off, skinned and tanned the hide and ate the snake for supper. What a wimp!

  21. Roger Beranek

    Except that IM22 is neither the end goal of its supporters, nor does it require any buy-in from the individuals deciding where that money goes, let alone restrict the source of the actual money to prevent the typical manipulation and abuse such a populist cow attracts. I am very tired of the worship of populism that degrades politics. The growth of influence in Superpacs is fair and democratic when compared to giving more power and control over campaigning to those already in power.

    Who if not government will regulate Cory? Why regulate at all where the results are the opposite of your goals? Every time more regulations are put in place, the power of money in politics gains power. It was regulation that resulted in the rise of superpac power to begin with. Even the Atlantic has written that less is more:

    So if you want a fair process, quit trying so hard to control all the money.

  22. Ah, so you know the end goal of the supporters? I thought we were just passing IM 22. Lend me your crystal ball….

    “the worship of populism… degrades politics”—is that what I’m doing? I thought I was defending direct democracy and the principle of one citizen, one vote. I thought I was trying to deconcentrate power and redistribute it to more citizens, not just to the large corporate fictions who outspend and outshout natural persons.

    I am open to the argument that some things are uncontrollable… but I’m not convinced that argument applies to who spends what to install certain candidates in positions of power. I reject your suggestion of complete deregulation by holding that we at least deserve to know who is funding campaigns. No anonymous comments, no anonymous money. We have a right to know who’s paying to gain access to power.

    I reject deregulation further by contending that, as in any power relationship within social contract, we have a right to deem when one party is amassing and exercising power so immense that it prevents others from exercising their power. I can’t walk into a public debate and drown out the other candidates with a megaphone. I can’t “speak” in such a way as to prevent others from “speaking.” And since I hear “spending” is “speaking,” it would seem to follow that I can’t spend on behalf of a candidate in such a way as to render others’ spending indiscernible.

    We can’t regulate everything. But in campaign finance, it seems we have to regulate something… something more than your comment suggests.

    I think you misplace the blame for the influence of money. The regulations themselves don’t cause the influence of money to increase; the efforts of the super-rich to circumvent those regulations (helped by Citizens United) do. The de-regulation imposed by Citizens United has increased the power of a few people’s money in politics and decreased the power of many more people.