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RC PACker Mason Accuses Rep. David Johnson of Violence and GOP Leaders of Cover-Up

Last spring, Rapid City politico Jordan Mason misrepresented my blogging in an unsuccessful attempt to paint Brown County Sheriff Mark Milbrandt as a liberal lawman. Mason now turns his attention to destroying the reëlection hopes of Rep. David Johnson in Rapid City’s District 33.

Under the moniker of the “Shining Light PAC,” an entity as of October 17 consisting entirely of Mason’s money, Mason has sent an ugly flyer to District 33 voters and members of the Legislature accusing Rep. Johnson of “a history of violence: threatening, infidelity, violence, stalking, drunk driving.” The card purports to present supporting evidence in the form of news headlines, court records, and a seemingly fake bill from adultery website Ashley Madison.

Two of those pieces of evidence are bunk. The bombshell release of purported data from the Ashley Madison website in 2015 turned out to be a dud, producing no verifiable evidence of infidelity or other naughty behavior by any individual. The allegation of “verbally assaulting” his Republican colleague Rep. Lynne DiSanto (R-35/Rapid City) on the House floor is also overblown and unsubstantiated by any available objective evidence.

Mason’s attack card also drags up Rep. Johnson’s criminal record, which includes nine speeding tickets from 1993 to 2008 (hey! we can hang Kristi Noem on that, too, right, Jordan?), a 1996 DUI of which a jury acquitted him, and protection orders and stalking charges from over a decade ago which appear not to have led to any convictions.

The new and really interesting charge against Johnson is on the flippity-flip, implicating not just Johnson but the Republican establishment in bad behavior:

Shining Light PAC, attack postcard, received by Dakota Free Press 2018.11.04.
Shining Light PAC, attack postcard, received by Dakota Free Press 2018.11.04.

Here Mason alleges that Rep. Johnson threatened a female secretary of the local Republican party. The Pennington County Republican Party currently lists Barb Landers as its secretary. No incidents past 2008 appear on Johnson’s court record, and no press that I can recall has ever referred to a Johnson/Landers incident at a 2017 party meeting.

We’ve heard nothing before about this incident because, Mason alleges, the Pennington County Republican Party covered it up. The party’s executive committee held a secret meeting, demanded Johnson’s resignation from the local party leadership, and then hushed up the incident.

If Johnson did behave badly, Mason is charging that the Republican Party covered for him, letting him save face with a quiet resignation while allowing him to run for reëlection. That cover-up sounds just like what House Republicans (including my District 3 opponent Al Novstrup) did for horndog Mathew Wollmann, covering up his widely known bedding of Legislative interns while he ran for reërection in 2016.

Also still supporting Johnson with campaign cash in 2018 amidst this cover-up and other known allegations are Republican legislators Alan Solano and Kyle Schoenfish, the Meade County Republican Party, the SD House GOP PAC, and several other PACs, including the South Dakota Education Association’s PAC:

PACs backing David Johnson 2018, p. 3.
PACs backing David Johnson 2018, p. 3.

I find SDEA’s support of Johnson worth particular note, since Johnson is running against high school debate coach Nick Reid and former teacher Lilias Jarding. Johnson lists no experience as an educator.

Mason is also firing this last-minute attack via phone with calls from Robot Tamara:

This robocall, received as of yesterday suppertime by nearly 3,500 District 33 phones, doesn’t directly say “David Johnson committed domestic violence,” but it leans heavily on the issue of domestic violence in the first 20 seconds and says “We need strong leaders to be part of the solution and not more that are part of the problem.” Follow that sentence with, “Sadly, according to public records, David Johnson…” and you have a slant accusation worthy of the sleaze-geniuses in the very devious Republican hierarchy that Mason’s postcard now attacks for covering up violent behavior.

Say, Kristi Noem distinguished herself during the primary as a defender of women against abusive men and party leaders who cover that abuse up; perhaps she could weigh in on these allegations that Rep. Johnson has been violent toward women and that her party leaders have covered up such bad behavior. She should speak up, because if Mason is right, if the evidence shows that Rep. David Johnson is “unsafe and unfit for office,” then so are the Republican leaders who are covering up for him.


  1. Rorschach 2018-11-05 07:55

    Sometimes when the ladies just don’t seem to get it you have to mansplain it to them so they understand. Right Rep. Johnson? Right Jordan?

  2. Darin Larson 2018-11-05 08:08

    “while he ran for reërection in 2016.” Freudian slip?

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-11-05 12:48

    Not a typo, Darin.

    Ror, if the charges are true, who’s to put them out there? Note that Mason anticipated your critique and enlisted Robot Tamara to do the talking.

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