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Novstrup Doesn’t Understand Campaign Finance Law He Voted for in 2017

Al Novstrup—photo by CAH, Aberdeen, SD, 2018.02.03.
I voted for what?!

During today’s Senate State Affairs hearing on Senate Bill 129, Senator Al Novstrup asked about the use of the term “entity” in the campaign finance reform bill. “I’m not clear on the definition,” said the District 3 Republican.

Senator Billie Sutton, sponsor of SB 129, explained that, in South Dakota campaign finance statute, “entity” usually means corporation. More comprehensively, “entity” means any potential campaign donor that isn’t a natural person or a political committee of some sort (candidate, PAC, party, ballot question). It includes corporations, unions, and non-profits.

“Entity” became the term of campaign finance art last year as part of 2017 Senate Bill 54, one of the consolation prizes that Novstrup’s Republican colleagues offered for the repeal of Initiated Measure 22. That bill replaced “organization” with “entity” and expanded the definition to allow businesses to contribute directly to candidates, a move running exactly opposite the intent of IM 22 to get big money out of politics.

Senator Novstrup should understand this new, more expansive definition of “entity” and its implications for campaign finance: in the 2017 Session, he voted for it every time it came before him: on February 22 in Senate State Affairs, on February 23 on the Senate floor, and on March 10 for the conference committee report.

First Novstrup demonstrates he never read the petition-restriction bill he’s sponsoring; now he shows he didn’t pay much attention to a big campaign finance law that he voted for last year. Novstrup makes it sound like District 3 needs more attentive representation in the Senate.


  1. grudznick 2018-02-07 20:27

    I read Mr. Novstrup, the elder, to be looking more proactively into the future. Mr. Novstrup knows what “natural” persons are, and what corporations are. About that I am sure that few would question, as Mr. Novstrup himself seems to be a natural person and I understand he might own or be partners in more than one corporation, so that seems difficult to dispute.

    I believe Mr. Novstrup is looking at the launch of the rocket ship here recently to put a car into orbit around the sun as another sign that there may be “unnatural” persons among us sooner than those of us without his foresight might think. What, then, will “entity” mean? That is what Mr. Novstrup is asking. It’s just harder to understand him if you are distracted by the haircut or aren’t as good as I at fathoming the marble speak.

  2. Clyde 2018-02-08 08:41

    grudznick, you are a humorous fellow!

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-02-08 17:08

    Grudz, try harder. I’d appreciate it if every now and then your comments aroused discussion of the topic presented, not of you and your “humor”.

    Novstrup failed to understand an important definition that he himself helped write into campaign finance law just one year ago. Elected officials should know campaign finance law better than anyone else in the state. That he is clueless about this key definition suggests an inattention to his job in general.

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