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Four Bills on Campaign Rules: No Lying, No Using Kids to Circumvent Cash Limits, More Pre-Primary Reports, and No “Paid for By…”!

At least four bills in the hopper will interest candidates, campaigners, and their treasurers:

Senate Minority Leader Troy Heinert (D-26/Mission) offers Senate Bill 139 in hopes of banning lies from political campaigns. SB 139 would make it illegal to “make, publish, broadcast, circulate or cause the making, publication, broadcast, or circulation in any letter, circular, advertisement, poster, or in any other communication any false statement designed to affect the vote on any issue submitted to the electors at any election or relating to any candidate for election to public office.” Do so knowingly, and Senator Heinert and his Democratic co-sponsors Senator Craig Kennedy and Representative Michael Saba say you should get a Class 1 misdemeanor (one year in jail, $2,000 fine). Only do so “recklessly”—i.e., without reck, without heed, apparently without checking one’s facts—and SB 139 lets you off with a Class 2 misdemeanor (30 days, $500).

SB 139 is (a) sponsored by Democrats, (b) extremely difficult to enforce, and (c) an invitation to chill free speech (do I dare report any current information and publish any conclusions when new information may prove we were wrong?). Expect it to die in committee.

Senator Reynold Nesiba (D-15/Sioux Falls) leads a larger passel of Democrats in promoting Senate Bill 114, which tackles one very specific type of lie: sneaking around campaign finance limits by pouring money into your favorite candidate’s kitty under your kids’ names. SB 114 would count any contribution from an unemancipated minor toward the custodial parent’s or parents’ contribution cap on contributions to a candidate, PAC, or party.

One problem: toward which parent does Junior’s contribution count? Mr. So-and-So and Mrs. So-and-So can each give a Legislative candidate $1,000 each year. If Junior So-and-So gives a Legislative candidate $500, does that count against Dad, Mom, or split in half to each?

Representative Drew Dennert (R-3/Aberdeen) has solicited bipartisan interest in House Bill 1092, which does a simple little word switch to require candidates to file pre-primary reports even if they don’t face a primary but candidates in another party do. Clever!

Headed in the opposite direction from transparency are some of Representative Dennert’s more radical right-wing friends, led by Representative Steve Livermont (R-27/Martin). His House Bill 1097 would eliminate the requirement that campaign billboards, mailings, and advertisements include the disclaimer telling us who paid for them.

I’m watching for more campaign-relevant bills. Stay tuned!


  1. Debbo 2019-01-29 17:17

    I like the “no lying” idea, but only if it can be proven deliberate and without reck or ly. 😉

    $ attributed to the child ought to go to the custodial parent or evenly split between the 2. The arrangement can be taken advantage of by one parent angry at, and politically disagreeing with the other.

    More campaign reports are a good thing. More secrecy is not.

  2. grudgenutz 2019-01-29 18:08

    The diarrhea caucus is keepin you busy, ain’t they, Cory?

  3. Buckobear 2019-01-29 18:34

    Sad comment that one of our State Senators needs to propose a bill to make “lying” illegal in political campaigns.
    What have we become??

  4. grudznick 2019-01-29 19:22

    They should also make it illegal to be a name-caller. Then it wouldn’t be just rude, it would be illegal. What say you, Sen. Heinert, you of the fancy coyote coat?

  5. Porter Lansing 2019-01-29 19:29

    grudzie … Does you calling innocent, non-name callers name callers make you a name caller?

  6. leslie 2019-01-29 20:37

    Grdz loves to call dems “haters”. Pot/kettle

  7. Porter Lansing 2019-01-29 20:45

    grdz is a younger version of Trump. Trump’s a big fat liar so he calls honest people liars. Grdz is a little, frail name caller so he calls big handsome men, name callers. 🐐🐐🐐

  8. Roger Cornelius 2019-01-29 20:49

    Politicians should simply read and honor their oaths of office. It would make a lot of things easier.

  9. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-01-31 18:22

    As Buckobear says, sad, indeed that we’d even have to propose a law to outlaw lying. Roger has part of the better solution: politicians should simply honor their oaths and basic morals… and voters should consistently hold politicians accountable to those oaths and morals instead of engaging their relativism when they need excuses for someone they like.

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