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Pischke Solicits Funds for Out-of-State Lobbyists to Support His Bills

Can legislators shoot advertisements soliciting donations for lobbyists at the Capitol?

Representative Tom Pischke (R-25/Dell Rapids) thinks so. At 1:26 in this public Facebook video, shot in a fourth-floor committee room in the Capitol, while wearing his official legislator badge, Rep. Pischke asks viewers to send money to help bring two lobbyists from Missouri to testify for his “shared parenting” bills on February 20:

First, Rep. Pischke seems to have changed his mind on out-of-staters influencing our laws. During the 2018 Session, Rep. Pischke voted for 2018 HB 1216, which sought to ban out-of-state contributions to ballot question campaigns. (That bill failed in the Senate, but the out-of-state money ban became law in the form of G. Mark Mickelson’s unconstitutional and likely to be ignored and overturned Initiated Measure 24.) Rep. Pischke condemned out-of-state influence in this January 2018 column:

The Governor stressed that we need to find a way to stop out-of-state organizations from experimenting with South Dakota’s constitution and laws. These groups have no ties to our state and often don’t even disclose the source of their funds…. This session, we need to work together to find a way to protect our state from interference by out-of-state groups, while preserving our citizens’ access to direct democracy, so issues that do concern our grassroots can be raised, but not by people who don’t even live here [Rep. Tom Pischke, “2018 SD Legislative Sessions—Tom Pischke Week 1 Update,” Big Sioux Media, 2018.01.16].

Apparently that concern about out-of-state meddling doesn’t apply when the meddling comes on behalf of legislation Pischke wants.

Second, Representative Pischke seems to be treading close to some ethical boundary in soliciting funds from the Capitol. The pitch is explicit: “Looking for people to make donations to them, to the cause. If you could go to PayPal and make a donation….” Can a member of the Legislature really set up a camera and shoot an advertisement soliciting funds to influence legislation, or to promote any third party?

I can’t find a Joint or House Rule or a statute that explicitly says legislators can’t shill at the Capitol, but consider similar situations:

  • Can Speaker Haugaard stand at the dais and film a video encouraging people to hire him as a lawyer?
  • Can Senator Novstrup pop up a camera between votes in the Senate and shoot an ad for his go-kart park?

Pischke’s pitch for out-of-state lobbyists violates his own stated principles on keeping South Dakota laws local. His use of the Capitol to solicit funds for out-of-state groups smells unethical.


  1. Jason 2019-01-31 07:30

    Lobbyists or experts?

    Don’t lobbyists have to be registered in SD?

    i thought you would have known this Cory since you ran for office?

  2. Jenny 2019-01-31 07:41

    If Pischke was a Democrat, not one Pub would support his bills and they would be calling him a deadbeat. We all know this.

  3. Donald Pay 2019-01-31 08:38

    The corruption spigot is always turned on full bore at the State Capitol Building, but the corrupt used to be a little more circumspect about it. It’s a ridiculously stupid move, but that is the way South Dakota rolls. Relying on out-of-state interests, lobbyists or experts is a time-honored tradition in South Dakota. It’s why the Twin Cities sewage ash is buried in South Dakota.

  4. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-01-31 08:41

    Jason, you could ask Senator Novstrup about the specific rules, but he’s been absent all week, so you’re stuck turning to my humble blog for information on how your government works.

    Individuals speaking on their own behalf sign in at committee but do not have to register as lobbyists. Paid lobbyists and their employers have to register with the Secretary of State.

    I know I wouldn’t make sales pitches for other groups or even for my own campaign fund while working in the Capitol. Do you consider Pischke’s fundraising pitch ethical?

  5. Jason 2019-01-31 08:43

    Donald thinks speech is corruption. Hilarious.

  6. Jason 2019-01-31 08:57

    He is not asking for campaign donations.

    What is unethical about it?

    Your thread title is false because that are not lobbyists.

  7. Donald Pay 2019-01-31 08:59


    Speech is free, except when someone is getting paid to say something. When someone is paid to say something regarding legislation, they are a lobbyist.

    Do you need a remedial civics class? Evidently, Rep. Pischke does.

  8. Jason 2019-01-31 09:02

    It’s for travel expenses. I see you didn’t watch the video.

  9. Donald Pay 2019-01-31 09:04

    No, he’s not asking for campaign donations, but he is soliciting funds for a bill he introduced. That’s more like soliciting a bribe. How do we know these Missouri people even exist? It could be a big con for him to gather money for legislation. He’s corrupt, and should be ushered out of the Legislature, pronto.

  10. Debbo 2019-01-31 16:05

    This guy doesn’t inspire trust. Ugh.

  11. grudznick 2019-01-31 17:49

    This young fellow is a known deadbeat dad in the legislatures. Only Mr. Nelson’s constituents should be more ashamed of who they elected. And of course Mr. Haugaard’s very ashamed constituents should not be left off the list as well, for they are calling for Mr. Haugaard’s head on a pike for his ineptitudes.

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