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Noem Endorses IM 22 Campaign Finance Rules

Kristi Noem revises her view on IM 22
Kristi Noem revises her view on IM 22

Every candidate for Governor, Democrat and Republican, appears to support Amendment W, the effort to undo the Republican repeal of IM 22 and restore the campaign finance reforms that we voters approved in 2016. Senator Billie Sutton voted to save IM 22. Attorney General Marty Jackley defended IM 22 in court. And now Rep. Kristi Noem is endorsing IM 22’s campaign finance principles.

In her latest campaign press release, Noem calls for three campaign finance reforms that would be in effect right now if her fellow Republicans hadn’t repealed IM 22:

  1. “Ban corporate contributions”—IM 22 would have kept contributions from businesses illegal. Not content with simply overturning the will of the people, the 2017 Legislature made such direct corporate contributions legal.
  2. “Limit political action committee (PAC) contributions to a candidate committee”—IM 22 imposed the same contribution limits on PACs as on individual donors. Noem’s Republican pals repealed those PAC limits and let PACs continue giving the unlimited funds that Noem now finds so noxious. Senate Bill 7 revises campaign finance rules but leaves unlimited PAC bucks in place.
  3. “Close the loophole that allows donors to shatter individual contribution limits”—IM 22 put the kabosh on that trick, too, but Senate Bill 8 might put that restriction back. SB 8 sailed out of the Senate unopposed Monday and awaits House State Affairs’ attention.

Kristi Noem rejected all three of these reforms back in 2016, when she joined the Koch Brothers in publicly opposing IM 22. Now that she’s running under state campaign finance rules instead of federal, she about-faces to support those same limits.

In the same press release, Noem promises not to take corporate money or money from PACs that are laundering money for donors to get around the individual limits… which is hilarious, since Noem herself hurried to get around the limits that IM 22 would have imposed by announcing just six days after her reëlection to Congress in 2016 that she was running for Governor and immediately dumping her massive federal campaign war chest, replete with out-of-state PAC money, into her hastily organized gubernatorial campaign fund.

Noem’s campaign finance gambit suggests two conclusions:

  1. Noem may have so much money that she can afford a little grandstanding on campaign finance rules that aren’t in effect and won’t hinder her campaign.
  2. Noem is in deep trouble. She sees Democrat Billie Sutton building a record war chest for Dems, she has intel that Republican Marty Jackley is beating her in donations, and her polls are telling her we’re going to put her out to pasture.

Either way, Noem’s focus-grouping Beltway advisors have said, “Gee, let’s announce a campaign finance initiative!” but are so out of touch with South Dakota that they didn’t realize they are now coaching their gal to endorse the very initiated measure that she opposed in 2016 and which her own party repealed to spectacular hue and cry last year. Thanks, Team Kristi, for helping us keep IM 22 and your party’s disrespect of the voters on the front burner in the 2018 election!


  1. Eve Fisher 2018-01-26 08:47

    That’s our girl: reversing the horse she rode in on.

  2. BigDiesel 2018-01-26 22:04

    Who came up with sb7 and Sb 8???? The campaign finance task force lead by a Republican Senator. The legislator is trying to fix and restore that garbage of a bill. They are doing it legally and constitutionally, . More importantly South Dakotans are doing it.

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-01-27 05:40

    Hey, now, BD: IM 22 wasn’t garbage; Kristi Noem just said so! :-D

    IM 22 was legal, constitutional, sponsored by South Dakotans, and approved by South Dakotans. Judge Barnett’s ruling enjoining all of IM 22 (a) essentially kicked the constitutionality question up the state Supreme Court, which never got to rule on IM 22, (b) itself flew in the face of the well-established doctrine of severability, and (c) would have failed further judicial scrutiny.

    SB 7 doesn’t actually do anything; as far as I can tell, SB 7 just changes style and form. If you see substantive changes in it, let me know, but SB 7 does not appear to be restoring or advancing the goals of IM 22.

    SB 8 came from a proposal from Democratic Senator Craig Kennedy. Yay, Dems! The Republicans rejected most of his effort to restore much more of IM 22 on contradictory reasoning mirroring Barnett’s shaky ruling. Boo, Pubs!

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