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Noem Attacks Fellow Republican for Sponsoring Open Records Legislation

Governor Kristi Noem likes to spin criticism against her as a sign that she’s popular and right (kinda like saying Mrs. McGregor’s baking Peter Rabbit’s dad in a pie proves Pete’s dad was right for trespassing). Under that thinking, Representative Taffy Howard must be super popular and super right!

An eager reader sends me this screen cap of an attack ad received by text portraying arch-conservative Rep. Howard as a Pelosi/Schumer/Harris liberal:

Attack text on Rep Taffy Howard, received via text 2021.01.27.
Attack text on Rep Taffy Howard, received via text 2021.01.27.

This flagrantly false attack appears to be a response to Howard’s sponsorship of House Bill 1089, a measure that would make public the amount of money spent on “the provision of protection or security to the Governor or to any other state or public officials, including the costs of meals, lodging, travel, and compensation.” That’s not an attack on anyone for campaigning for anyone; that’s a public accountability measure, opening the government checkbook so the public can see just how much of their money is being spent on any public official’s spending on bodyguards, fences, and other security measures. If Kristi Noem just happens to be the only major public official using public dollars to tote bodyguards around the country with her whose expenditures might be subject to an HB 1089 public records request, well, whose fault is that?

But knowing they will lose any policy debate over the Governor’s activities, Team Noem turns anything that opens Noem and her jetsetting lifestyle up to scrutiny into a hyperpartisan personal attack.

Rep. Howard remains unbowed in her push for openness. But Noem’s pressure has apparently scared some other Republicans off HB 1089:

Yesterday three Republican lawmakers dropped their names from House Bill 1089. Today two republicans and a democrat added their names.

There are allegations that lawmakers are being pressured to leave the issue alone.

Several lawmakers continue to seek information about the cost of security during Governor Noem’s travels in support of the Trump campaign.

“Taxpayers have a right to know where their tax dollars are being spent,” said Republican Representative Taffy Howard.

Howard, of Rapid City says some of the sponsors were “called to the second floor” where the Governor’s office is located. She says after that, 3 original sponsors told her they were removing their names from the bill.

They include, Representative Rhonda Milstead of Sioux Falls, Senator David Johnson of Rapid City and House Majority Whip Marli Wiese of Madison [Tom Hanson, “Lawmakers Say Taxpayers Deserve to Know Noem’s Travel Security Costs,” KELO-TV, 2021.01.28].

To their credit, Republican Representatives Aaron Aylward and Tony Randolph have stepped in as co-sponsors of HB 1089 to replace the woodshedded cowards who bailed on Howard and the public. Rep. Phil Jensen gives not one hairless hoot about pressure and remains on the sponsor list. Democratic Senator Reynold Nesiba is also waking up the minuscule Democratic caucus to this bill, getting Reps. Linda Duba, Erin Healy, and Jennifer Keintz to join him on the HB 1089 sponsor line.

HB 1089 is not some liberal pro-Pelosi plot. If Speaker Pelosi came to visit and we spent tax dollars to protect them, HB 1089 would require that those dollar amounts be public record as well.

But at the moment, Governor Noem appears to be exerting more political pressure on her own party members to block openness legislation and hide her travel security expenditures than she is to push her own confused civics agenda. Yeah, for Kristi, that sounds about right.


  1. jake 2021-01-29

    Yeah for Ms.Howard, too bad so much of the rest of our legislative body think they can only exist because they are in good graces with their queen-bee.

  2. Whitless 2021-01-29

    Cruella de Noem’s team exhibits the same penchant for unethical lying as the unconscionable liar herself. Fiscal conservative Howard correctly seeks open disclosure, and I commend her for seeking the facts and not being intimidated by bullying and browbeating.

  3. grudznick 2021-01-29

    Young Ms. Howard has long been among the insanest of all the legislatures, even those here in Rapid City. It is not surprising she has now gone so far whack that she has snapped around to align with the libbies in Washington. She is only about herself, and is not a true conservative. Once upon a time she spoke at a breakfast of the Conservatives with Common Sense, and she made sense, Now she is a libbie hack job with a cute haircut.

  4. Dicta 2021-01-29

    Let’s set aside whether Howard is good/bad for a second. What is your stance on the bill in question, Grudz?

  5. Donald Pay 2021-01-29

    If she’s proud of her out-of-state campaigning she would put out the information on her own. Clearly she knows socking taxpayers for her private vanity projects is something that brings shame in her, as it should.

  6. grudznick 2021-01-29

    Mr. Dicta, there are some law bills that need to be bonked on the head just because of who the sponsor is. Any bill from the Rapid City Whackjobs is one, as are Mr. Nesiba’s. Nesiba and Ms. Howard are philosophical twins.

  7. Jenny 2021-01-29

    Stace Nelson, who I still miss in Pierre, would be front and center on this legislation. As far right as he was, Stace always fought for transparency in government, and for that, this proud liberal liked him.
    SDs Princess Governor wanted to win MN so bad for Trump but fell far short. MN wasn’t even close, so now Noem is probably suffering from some post-election grief and knows she has to stay in the headlines to keep from fading away, so she is playing it up to the press with the false media portrayal of Howard.

    What is so bad about open records Noem, what are you hiding? Remember when she first started in politics and always talked about worried she was about the National Debt?

    Just ignore Grudzilla everyone.

  8. Dicta 2021-01-29

    Interesting dodge, but I guess if you dont want to answer the question, there isnt much to discuss.

  9. sdslim 2021-01-29

    ‘and is not a true conservative.” I have to throw the BS flag on that one Grudz. A true fiscal conservative would be concerned about the expenditure of state taxpayer dollars for a state Gov. to campaign for a presidential candidate —- same with 1.6 million state taxpayer dollars for a Trump campaign rally at Mt. Rushmore.

  10. Donald Pay 2021-01-29

    I would put Noem in the whack job category. But the deal is whack jobs, every once in a while have good ideas, so I don’t think bonking a bill based just on sponsorship is reasonable. As an example, Grudz, five years ago Noem stood up against the nuclear waste borehole that you championed. I have no problem working with folks I think are whack jobs, if it results in a good result.

  11. jerry 2021-01-29

    Mr. grudznick stated his opinion which follows the republican game plan perfectly.

    “What is plain now, Maxwell said, is that Republicans are no longer pursuing any political strategy. “They’re not engaged in this project of democracy that the rest of us are participating in, because they don’t actually want voters to make decisions and elect people.”

    Republicans as a party and their conservative base have rejected democracy, as David Frum predicted not-so-presciently in 2018. Trump simply gave a face and a name to white supremacist resentment, violent misogyny, and delegitimization of democracy. Trumpism is less of a mouthful.”

    Ms. Howard and those who cherish liberty, should come on over to the guiding light of democracy. The shades of evil and fascism need to be squashed like an unwelcome cockroach.

  12. grudznick 2021-01-29

    Mr. Dicta, you know they can’t talk about security. Or perhaps you could file a FOIA paper for the combination of the lock to the vault buried in the basement of the legislatures. They’d have to give it to you.

    Ms Taffy. Mr. Reynold. The same.

  13. jake 2021-01-29

    Grudz’ mind is gravy-laden in this post, as the usual…He’d rather call Ms. Howard a ‘whack job’ but would probably at the same gasping breath call MTG a patriot. (Marjorie Taylor Greene).
    Jenny, I agree, Stace would’ve fought hard on this one.

  14. Donald Pay 2021-01-29

    Grudz, you are wrong. Expenditures for security are open records. Various levels of government, from school district on up to the federal government, develop security plans and hire and pay personnel who provide security. The cost to develop plans are open records as are the budgets and salaries or contracts paid for security. The plans themselves and operational details can be requested, but they may be wholly or partly closed or redacted.

  15. grudznick 2021-01-29

    Perhaps I am right. It doesn’t matter, for clearly the pretty young woman who is Mr. Nesiba’s Siamese sister won’t get the information unless she goes and knocks on the Governor’s door.

  16. jake 2021-01-29

    Knocking on the governor’s door would/could be like the press asking for a press conference of this governor!

  17. Mark Anderson 2021-01-29

    Come on folks, Kristi is hanging with billionaires and using taxpayers money is the only way she can afford it. Mr. Grudznick simply wants his to go with her and not with any libbie. Of course she could maybe just do her job well and be less free with the cash for traveling and security, but a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do.

  18. Hank 2021-01-29

    This shouldn’t even be a question for anyone, spending by the government needs to be accounted for or corruption can happen, very plain, very simple, there is no argument, it isn’t right or left, it is right or wrong.

  19. jerry 2021-01-29

    grudznick is a Qibbie and his thinking proves it.

  20. Donald Pay 2021-01-29

    This is just a little story about how government tries to hide information.

    The Janklow Administration tried to keep certain nuclear waste records secret in 1982. I dutifully submitted open records requests up the chain in DWNR, as it was then called. I got turned down, so I went to Janklow. I wrote a letter explaining the law and that I had been turned down at the agency level, which was against the open records law. He answered by saying I was being impolite and I didn’t ask for it nicely, so he was turning down my request, but would give it to someone who would request it nicely. During all this we had other sources in two other states, who knew about the nefarious dealings the Janklow Administration was trying to keep hidden. But that’s getting ahead of the story. So, then my wife wrote a nice letter to Janklow requesting the file, and Janklow let her have access to the files at DWNR’s offices. There she met Randy Brich, now Governor Rounds’ brother-in-law. He was very belligerent to her and aggressively demanded to know why she wanted the file. She just calmly explained she wanted to see what was in the file. She looked through the files which were incomplete, which we expected they would be. Meanwhile, I had written to the State of Wisconsin under their open records law and received what I was looking for, which ended up being exactly what we suspected: the Janklow Administration was proposing to establish a nationwide low-level radioactive waste site at the former Black Hills Army Depot in Igloo, SD.

    Never keep stuff hidden from the public. They have ways to find it out.

  21. jerry 2021-01-29

    The republican grip to fascism shows through in Arizona. “As a prominent Republican lawmaker in the statehouse introduced legislation this week that would make it easier for the state legislature to overturn the results of a presidential election. The bill would give state legislators the authority by majority vote to “revoke” certification of a presidential election result in the state.

    At least one of state’s Democratic congressman has vowed to attempt to defeat the bill via public referendum if it passes, but the simple introduction of such legislation shows just how much Trumpism endures in the state.”

    So we are locked in a war with the Qibbies of fascism for the very soul of democracy. Democracy is a word that our dingbat gnome knows nothing about.

  22. Mark Anderson 2021-01-29

    I don’t know Donald. When we first moved to Sarasota we rented a house from Mrs. Abourezk. She told my wife great stories about the Janklow’s. Haven’t heard them anywhere else.

  23. grudznick 2021-01-29

    Mr. Pay, being nice and polite is always better than being an out-of-state name caller, and I’m sure that young fellow, Mr. Brich, appreciated your wife being so. He is still likely a middle manager sort working on completing your files about the nuclear wastes that are buried in the Fall River areas by Dewey and Burdock.

  24. grudznick 2021-01-29

    Mr. Pay, being nice and polite is always better than being an out-of-state name caller, and I’m sure that young fellow, Mr. Brich, appreciated your wife being so. He is still likely a middle manager sort working on completing your files about the nuclear wastes that are buried in the Fall River areas by Dewey.

  25. Donald Pay 2021-01-29

    Grudz, I’m nice and polite, until there is wanton lying and lawbreaking by people in office. Then I get righteously indignant. Now I had no problem with Janklow acting like an ass, because we had the goods on his little nukie pukie site, his lying behavior got exposed, and it must have been humiliating for him to get busted by a punk like me. But, hey, if you don’t act like a lying-ass dictator, you get treated with respect. Act like a tyrant, and Donald Pay will take you down.

  26. Observer 2021-01-29

    OK, we’ve established our stances on Gov Janklow and nuclear waste.

    The question is did Gov Noem spend state funds on non-state activities?

  27. leslie 2021-01-30

    Kristi’s team penning attack text like this looks similar to Heritage Foundation lingo:

    “George Gascón, the SOROS-backed former District Attorney of San Francisco, is now the District Attorney for Los Angeles County.

    In just weeks he’s put into place radical pro-criminal and anti-prosecution policies. The impact of his reckless and dangerous policies is just starting to be felt—and will come into full bloom in the months and years ahead.” Twitter today

    Ewww, scary. But seriously, Kristi who pays for this artistry. Taxpayers? Rich Texans?

  28. RST Tribal Member from 57572 2021-01-30

    So, we learned something we already knew, again. The inbreeds of the 1 party in charge of SD cannot police themselves. Yep, the zoo is ran by the animals and they want to be left along to operate without restraints or oversight. They spin their messages of accountability on spending public dollars than were picked from the pockets of those less able to pay but more importantly less able to counter. In 2022 maybe there will be a reckoning or just get worst. I have hope in sensible humans but worried about the 1 party hacks who quest to stay in power seems to have no restraints.

  29. grudznick 2021-01-30

    grudznick’s wry chuckle for the day

    Act like a tyrant, and Donald Pay will take you down.

    I bet there’s a brass plate on the back of Mr. Janklow’s headstone that says just that.

  30. Donald Pay 2021-01-30

    Open records/open meetings laws are the most important laws on the books. No matter what your issue or your ideology, everyone needs to come from a common fact base. Open records and open meeting laws give citizens access to certain facts that are necessary if one wants to participate in our governmental processes. It’s CIVICS, Kristi.

  31. jake 2021-01-30

    Thanks, Donald Pay, from a life-long South Dakotan! For what you in your past efforts did for our state of SD! You speak from experience, unlike grudz, who seems to be so gravy-laden, even his brain seems taken by Noem, etc. Zombies seem to create their own fear in movies, but in real life, humans like grudz seem to like to copy them with non-sense.
    You’ve given more to this state out of goodness of your heart than grudz ever gave for any reason. Thanks again! My mother came from Wisconsin, a better woman there never was, so grudz calling you “out-of-state” is purposely repugnant. His state of mind is really what should be regulated… Thank the good Lord for His “Ignorance Filter!”

  32. Donald Pay 2021-01-31

    Jake, I have to remind everyone that it takes a lot of folks to make change. I played a part, but it took major commitment from a number of South Dakotans. And many more played roles in these issues. Everyone, everyone should play some role in making change for the better, About the only thing I did was get the ball rolling on some issues. Others took up the challenge. I looked up to people like John Seih, Linda Hasselstrom, Marvin Kammerer, Esther Eide, Phyllis Young, Russel Means, and so many more who came before me, and were doing great things years before I became active.

  33. grudznick 2021-01-31

    Few appreciate Mr. Pay’s ecological contributions more than grudznick.

  34. mike from iowa 2021-01-31

    Appreciation from Grudzilla is similar to a wet, sloppy Komodo Dragon kiss. Kiss yer arse goodbye.

  35. Doug Schaffer 2021-01-31

    Ms Howard keep up your good work. You will have support of many. HB 1089

  36. Cully Williams 2021-01-31

    I’d like to point out that unsolicited robotexts are illegal, to the tune of $500 per text.

    I remember a certain whirlwind explosion over Pat Starr doing something similar. I wonder if the PUC and state Republican party is gonna come out in opposition to these texts as well?

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