In an article leading with the fact that Governor Kristi Noem put her deputy chief of staff Beth Hollatz on unpaid leave starting February 3 to focus on campaigning for her around the state (Noem doesn’t face reëlection until 2022, and the article does not indicate whether the current public health crisis has persuaded Noem that she needs all of her talent focused on government rather than her personal political future), Bob Mercer slips in an undercard on cronyism in South Dakota government, tallying all of the lucrative contracts that über-lobbyist Matt McCaulley‘s Redstone Law Firm:
The Redstone firm currently has:
A $58,775 legislative consulting contract for Governor Noem;
A $71,400 addendum for legal services for the governor’s office;
A $50,000 contract for the state Bureau of Administration, to represent state government’s various departments and agencies;
A $44,040 contract to provide legislative lobbying services for the state Board of Technical Education, whose members the governor appoints;
A $50,000 contract to represent the state Board of Regents, whose members the governor appoints;
A $50,000 contract to represent the regents on technology contracts; and
A $30,000 contract to represent Northern State University, which the regents oversee.
McCaulley also represents private clients on legislation [Bob Mercer, “Hollatz Has Moved from a Top Spot in Noem’s Administration over to Noem’s Campaign,” KELO-TV, 2020.03.21].
$354,000 from the taxpayers—that’s enough to keep at least a couple friends of the Governor in fancy suits.