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Republican Legislative Leadership Asks Candidates to Sign Caucus Loyalty Oaths in Return for Campaign Resources

On July 11, the Republican Legislative leadership sent out letters to “Current and Future Senate and House Republican Majority Caucus Members” asking that they sign a contract for “exclusive” membership in their chamber’s Republican caucus:

SDGOP Legislative leadership, contract for exclusive membership in Republican Majority Caucus, 2018.07.11, p. 1.
SDGOP Legislative leadership, contract for exclusive membership in Republican Majority Caucus, 2018.07.11, p. 1.
SDGOP Legislative leadership, contract for exclusive membership in Republican Majority Caucus, 2018.07.11, p. 2.
SDGOP Legislative leadership, contract for exclusive membership in Republican Majority Caucus, 2018.07.11, p. 2.

“Exclusive” or “sole” membership in the GOP party caucus seems to dictate that members not participate in any other caucuses. Apparently the Republican leadership will not tolerate the formation of any special-interest sub-cauci or Republican members dropping in for the completely public and non-exclusive Democratic caucus. Such exclusive membership also requires excluding the public: signing this contract binds members to keep all caucus matters secret.

This contract promises “resources” from caucus PACs. The contract is a limited-time offer, noting that if candidates don’t sign now, their membership “will not come under review by leadership until the next December budget address”—i.e., after the election when PAC “resources” would be most useful.

Senator Jim Bolin is not listed as one of the authors of this contract, so the contract uses the word “family” instead of “club” to describe the group to which Republican candidates are swearing their allegiance and silence.

I cannot speak for other candidates, but I can attest that, as a Democratic candidate, I have received no such letter from Senator-Elect Susan Wismer, Senator Troy Heinert, or any other current or potential Democratic Senate leaders. I can also promise that I will not sign any such contract, club membership, or loyalty oath with my party leaders.


  1. Tara Volesky 2018-07-18 10:12

    This is going to be very interesting.

  2. owen reitzel 2018-07-18 12:21

    Love a good conservative fight. Hope they keep it up.

  3. CIB vet 2018-07-18 12:40

    Seems like a blood oath should be to benefit the people of South Dakota, not the republican party.
    My take is that the oath “to protect and defend the constitution” seems to apply only to those who have actively done so,instead of those who repeat the words mindlessly.( # trump inauguration)

  4. Tara Volesky 2018-07-18 12:43

    The party is split. It is not run by Conservatives.

  5. Dicta 2018-07-18 12:58

    Define conservative. And not in vague terms. What, in your mind, makes a person a conservative?

  6. Francis Schaffer 2018-07-18 14:27

    How will we know who has signed?

  7. Kurt Evans 2018-07-18 14:48

    This looks like typical authoritarian Republican overkill, going after a fly with a sledgehammer. GOP leaders seem to be campaigning for Libertarians.

    SD Republicans Ban Freedom Caucus:

  8. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-07-18 16:56

    Dicta, I share your interest in hearing that clear definition from Al Novstrup and the Republican leadership.

    Francis, we won’t know, since this contract is a caucus matter, and caucus matters are to be kept secret. Of course, I suppose we could review the campaign finance reports come January and see who got money from the caucus PACs to identify members who must have signed for the quid pro quo.

  9. jerry 2018-07-18 17:06

    South Dakota Confederate republicans prove once again that they prefer to be a Russian State puppet government that patriots. Here is the Confederate republicans in Washington singing off the same sheet music.

    “House Democrats took turns Wednesday requesting a vote on an amendment to fund election systems protection, saying the money is needed to “prevent Russian interference” in future elections.

    The procedural moves from Democrats come ahead of a vote on a Republican-led spending bill (HR 6147) that would zero out election security grants that help states to fortify their systems against hacking and cyber attacks. The Election Assistance Commission is funded at $380 million under the fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill enacted earlier this year.”

    Not a patriot in the bunch when you are dealing with Confederate republicans, just racist fascists.

  10. Debbie 2018-07-18 17:56

    It comes after angry or embarrassed Republicans ( not sure which is more accurate) started defecting to the Constitution party .
    These moves tipped the polls to Bjorkman for a easy win. If he loses now it’s hopeless.

  11. grudznick 2018-07-18 18:05

    Get ready for more hopelessness, Ms. Geelsdottir.

  12. grudznick 2018-07-18 18:17

    This is actually a pretty swell deal. And wait until Mr. Rhoden is in charge of the caucuses, he will be really yanking Mr. Nelson’s chains. Stace will be hiding in the bathroom more than ever.

  13. David Newquist 2018-07-18 20:55

    How did “Mean Girls” become scripture?

  14. Donald Pay 2018-07-19 06:55

    What’s the deal with loyalty oaths and pledges on the right? It’s so grade school.

  15. mike from iowa 2018-07-19 07:22

    I see why Grudz is from South Dahopeless. Debbie is not Debbo, Grudz. Debbo could kick your a$$ in whichever discipline you choose. She’s fast as lightning, in fact she is a little bit frightening because she does it with expert timing.

    A tip o’ the hat to Carl Douglas and Kung Fu Fighting.

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