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Kristi Keeps Secrets, While Mark Tells the Truth—2022 Primary Campaign Slogan?

As I look for signs of hope that sensible Republicans will find a primary candidate willing to topple Kristi Noem and end her rein of error, I notice former Representative and Speaker of the House G. Mark Mickelson criticizing Governor Noem’s effort to hide dark money in South Dakota politics:

G. Mark Mickelson, tweets, 2021.02.11.
G. Mark Mickelson, tweets, 2021.02.11.

Mickelson says Governor Noem’s “bad idea,” House Bill 1079, is not “something the typical South Dakotan supports.” HB 1079 would prohibit the state from requiring any non-profit corporation or charitable trust to disclose information about its donors. But lots of Republicans in South Dakota and across the country do support this scheme to hide donations to the non-profits that provide and avenue for skirting campaign finance laws and public accountability:

Republicans in other states are proposing and passing similar bills. Austin Graham is tracking them. He’s a lawyer for the nonprofit, nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center in Washington, D.C.

…“They’ve got the messaging points down,” Graham said. “They like to pretend there’s this grand constitutional tradition of total anonymity in political speech.”

Graham said the efforts have another purpose, which is to “help ensure that dark money stays dark.”

…It can work like this: People give money to a nonprofit that keeps its donor list private. The nonprofit gives the money to a type of political action committee called a super PAC. The super PAC makes independent expenditures on political advertising to support or oppose candidates and ballot issues.

And no one can trace who donated the money.

The process also skirts campaign finance laws. Right now, the most a person may contribute to a federal candidate is supposed to be $2,900.

But donors can give nonprofits as much as they want. And there are no limits on how much super PACs can collect and spend, as long as they’re not coordinating with a candidate [Seth Tupper, “Nonprofit Privacy Legislation Could Hide Political Donors, Watchdog Group Says,” SDPB, 2021.02.10].

Noem’s HB 1079 coasted through the House and this week through Senate Commerce and Energy on party-line votes. It awaits the attention of the full Senate.

Mickelson’s criticism of this bill for keeping secrets aligns somewhat with his professed campaign-finance watchdoggery from 2018, when he tried to ban out-of-state contributions to South Dakota ballot question campaigns. We can hope Mickelson learned his lesson that the proper and constitutional response to concerns about big-money influence in politics is not to ban contributions but to make them absolutely transparent.

Mickelson, who spent time in the Governor’s Mansion himself as the son of a Governor, could align this critique of HB 1079 with a broader critique of Kristi Noem as a hypocrite on openness. Noem continues to campaign as a champion of transparency, yet she has stonewalled the local press and vehemently resisted efforts to open her bodyguard budget to scrutiny. Mickelson or some similarly experienced and well-funded candidate wanted could have a field day pressing Noem on these issues: “Kristi, why won’t you tell taxpayers how you’re spending their money? Why won’t you tell South Dakotans where this dark money comes from? Why won’t you talk to our hometown reporters?” (Throw in a sophisticated spouse with policy chops who can say the Governor doesn’t trust teachers, and you’ve got a campaign that can really play offense throughout the primary season.)

 Kristi Keeps Secrets—Mark Tells the Truth. It’s a pretty simple campaign slogan. It puts the incumbent on defense, forcing her to make complicated explanations that inevitably lose votes. And for the honest candidate who can hold up the second half, the slogan has the added benefit of being true.

49 Comments

  1. John 2021-02-14

    It’s hopeful that maybe Speaker G. Mark will grow to fill his father’s shoes. It’s wishful thinking that G. Mark could unleash his self-imposed constraints to be able to stand on his father’s shoulders.

  2. Detroit Lewis 2021-02-14

    It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if he challenged Noem in a primary or recruited someone and backed them. There is a growing faction of moderate Republicans in Sioux Falls and the region that are fed up with the stupidity and Looney Toons in Pierre and let’s just say I got that from the Horse’s mouth.

  3. Bob Newland 2021-02-14

    How quaint. The scurrilous G. Marky criticizing the scurrilous Kristi. I swallow my vomit.

  4. happy camper 2021-02-14

    It should probably all be public, but Steve Schmidt who just left The Lincoln Project believes disclosing their donors would put them in harm’s way. The flip side is there might be a Super Pac you support, but there has to be better answers.

  5. RST Tribal Member at 57572 2021-02-14

    Sorry state of affairs in that the inbred Republicans in South Dakota have evolved into the a party looking for direction from person who does not respect the rule of law or any constitution. Nome is Trump in thoughts, actions and practices. The SD Republicans much like Johnson, rounds and Thune are a gabble of followers without original ideas or ability to stand for what is right. November 2022 cannot come fast enough.

  6. grudznick 2021-02-14

    I immediately thought of my good friend Bob’s distaste of Mr. G. Mark even before I read the bloggings. Mostly, I think, this stems from some envy over Mr. G. Mark’s imposing physical presence and Rhoden-like rugged good looks.

  7. Sion G. Hanson 2021-02-14

    I recently retired, which has given me time to follow what is taking place in Pierre and beyond. Most citizens in SD are so busy scratching a living that there is no energy left to comprehend and debate what is being crammed down our throats. It’s been that way for 30-40 years. R and D lawmakers almost all appear untrustworthy. Where do we find an honest candidate with the well-being of the citizens in mind. It is so disheartening to see it year after year.

  8. mike from iowa 2021-02-14

    Where do we find an honest candidate with the well-being of the citizens in mind.

    A number of qualified candidates come to mind, from either side of the aisle. I have not met any of these people. I only know what I have read of their comments and, in some cases, items posted on blogs. I can’t even vote for therm, but here goes… for the Republicans (note I did not say wingnuts or magats) I’d vote for John Tsitrian (South Dakota Standard blog) who is extremely knowledgeable of finance and other complicated issues that are too deep for me to fathom, and BCB, who knows the laws inside and out and makes any number of comments I disagree with, but he is usually right.

    From the liberal side I’d go automatically with Cory of Dakota Free Press. What he doesn’t know he has ther knowledge and capability of finding out. Nick Nemec for his past days as a legislator and his compassion for others. Finally, I would choose Donald Pay for his work in trying to save South Dakota from its government, before he left for greener pastures.

    I am sure there are many, many more qualified individuals that I am not familiar with and I meant no offense by not naming them.

  9. leslie 2021-02-14

    Sion: “D lawmakers almost all appear untrustworthy. Where do we find an honest candidate with the well-being of the citizens in mind.”

    This is a dishonest talking point Tepublicans are so good at (e.g. Right now they command the airwaves, after taking down the government and killing cops 1.06.21). Seiler, Sutton, Wismer, just as an example, and almost all current Dem legislators give what you ask.

    The big lie isn’t just Trump. It IS the GOP. Deep, dark money.

  10. Art Clark 2021-02-14

    No one on this blog has mentioned the salient reality of why many want anonimity in giving . . . it’s for their physical safety and livelihood. No one commenting here is unaware of the results of unmasking donors where this has been done, both legally and illegally. The unmasking has notoriously been one-sided, and then democrats have used the information to wage a campaign of intimidation against those unmasked donors, including physical, emotional, and financial doxxing and threats, often including their underage children. The fact that in this discussion about this issue no one has brought up this elephant in the room says you all are avoiding it like the plague, so you can pretend to retain the high road in your moral posturing.

  11. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-02-14

    No, Art, I’m keenly aware of the potential impact of publicity that may come with people knowing to whom I give my money. But when it comes to political campaigns, the public’s right to know who is buying/influencing/supporting public officials outweighs the personal interest in anonymity. That’s not moral posturing: that’s protecting democracy.

    If you don’t want to face public criticism for backing certain candidates, don’t back certain candidates… and don’t manufacture fake “educational” non-profits to skirt campaign finance restrictions.

  12. happy camper 2021-02-14

    Hey Mr. Clark, I did, just a few lines up. Sadly The Lincoln Project is imploding, but many of those donors are probably moderate Republicans afraid of Trump and his followers. It’s come out Trump didn’t care about Kevin McCarty who was begging for help as they were breaking into his office. The PACS and unlimited giving just shouldn’t be legal, if this is a result of Citizens United it was a terrible mistake, but it’s reality. Cory is probably right, not in arrears, but moving forward, every contribution should be visible. If this gifting was about not restricting their free speech, then their free speech should known.

  13. Art Clark 2021-02-14

    That’s not a high road, Cory, and not morally tenable. When a law clearly creates physical and financial danger to entire families by unlawful or immoral retaliatory acts, there is no “more important”, especially concerning the American Republic (not “democracy”), where the laws are created by the Constitution to ensure the peaceful rights and safety of American citizens. There are other ways to ascertain whether campaign laws are being skirted through non-profits and PACS without publishing donations for the public to see. The public doesn’t enforce campaign law; local, state, and federal government and their appropriate agencies have that responsibility. What prevents you from championing the passage of a law that requires non-profits to reveal donors to those authorities? Where is it written that the PUBLIC has a right to know who a private citizen supports or what their politics are? That assertion would only be made within the current climate of hyperpartisanship by those who want to control what other people think and say. The public simply needs to be assured by elected authorities that laws are being followed. If that needs to be addressed, then address it. The approach you are championing is an end-run to physically intimidate political opponents in the name of “transparency”.

  14. Arlo Blundt 2021-02-14

    Before Governor Noem collects one more dollar in her campaign fund, before we start rolling the Trump-Noem 2024 flags and signs off the presses, before we launch another nation wide tour for Red State support, our Governor needs to answer a few questions. “Is Mike Pence a traitor” Did Mike Pence need to be hanged?” Are the OathKeepers and the Proud Boys “very special people” in her opinion? She was complicit in the insurrection. Does she continue to support the overthrow of the Republic???

  15. happy camper 2021-02-14

    Quote: In the immediate aftermath of the Citizens United decision, analysts focused much of their attention on how the Supreme Court designated corporate spending on elections as free speech. But perhaps the most significant outcomes of Citizens United have been the creation of super PACs, which empower the wealthiest donors, and the expansion of dark money through shadowy nonprofits that don’t disclose their donors.
    Super PAC money started influencing elections almost immediately after Citizens United. From 2010 to 2018, super PACs spent approximately $2.9 billion on federal elections. Notably, the bulk of that money comes from just a few wealthy individual donors. In the 2018 election cycle, for example, the top 100 donors to super PACs contributed nearly 78 percent of all super PAC spending.
    https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/citizens-united-explained

  16. Richard Schriever 2021-02-14

    Mr. Clark; Are there in your mind any acts that are worthy of retaliation – or regulation? Or is chaos more to your liking as a political environment? And what of regulation – that thing that “conservatives” proclaim is a ghastly pox upon their lives? Who is it typically who reviles the laws? Who is it that views regulation (along with taxation may I add) as a form of retaliation against the “successful”?

  17. bearcreekbat 2021-02-14

    Donor anonymity provides an interesting opportunity to launder money. If the proceeds of illegal activities, such as bribes or illegal foreign money aimed at influencing campaigns, proceeds of fraud and theft, etc., can be funneled to individuals or goals through secret donations then law enforcement and the IRS would lose one important tool to track spending and income for criminal investigations seeking evidence of monetary crimes.

    On the other hand, examples of someone actually being harmed based only on public disclosure of candidate or cause donations seem rare. Most boycotts I have read about seem to involve public political activities, such as making public statements or advertisements supporting a cause, such and anti-gay marriage, etc, or public political fundraising, or refusing to do business with minorities, etc. I am not saying this doesn’t happen, yet I have yet to see a case reported where merely donating to a candidate or cause by itself has resulted in a boycott or harm to an individual or business. And in the cases where actual political activity results in boycotts, it is often reported that the business also gains new customers from individuals that agree with the business’ political stand.

    As for actual physical reprecussions through violence or threats of violence against someone based only on the disclosure of their political donations, I haven’t been able to find a single example with my google search. Maybe Art Clark can help and provide a link to such violent activity based only on a victim’s political donation?

  18. Art Clark 2021-02-14

    If you read my comment carefully, Richard, you”l note several things: 1) I cite the fact that the laws of our country are based on the maintenance of peaceful living and safety of its citizens, which means all of them, not just for one class or political camp; 2) I proposed an effective and workable solution to the problem at issue which would remove the chaos you speak of; and 3) the mechanism of the solution would place it in the hands of the governing authorities while reassurring the public of election compliance. Which of these prudent and peaceful outcomes are you objecting to?

  19. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-02-14

    Art, I think you’re dodging the salient question: should the sources of money used to influence elections be kept secret? Are you seriously suggesting that campaign contributions should not be public record, but should only be viewable by the people who win elections and their appointees? Do you seriously suggest that allowing the winners of elections to be the sole guardians of campaign finance information will provide the transparency voters need to know who’s pulling elected officials’ strings?

  20. leslie 2021-02-14

    HC, congrats on your Brennen Ctr cite. Top flight!

  21. Art Clark 2021-02-14

    My proposal above, bearcreekbat, would give law enforcement every opportunity to track and examine political donations for illicit money. How does public disclosure enhance that? How does access of donor information by law enforcement agencies hinder that? Concerning the weaponization of donor information, you must not have typed in the right keywords on your search. I just did a quick search and a half dozen cases popped up in the first two pages of results. One such case you will surely remember, when a prominent political candidate, Joaquin Castro (brother of Julian Castro), while running for office, published the names, addresses, and employers of Republican donors in the San Antonio area. He was encouraging their harrassment. At the time, the backlash was severe and came from both sides of the political spectrum, even being condemned by MSNBC and The New York Times, who said that it was “a dangerous precedent to start”. Yet you now argue that illicit use of this information has not and would not ever happen. It seems progressives in high places vociferously disagree with you.

  22. Art Clark 2021-02-14

    Cory, I’m not dodging anything, but rather I am addressing the issue directly, using the law enforcement authorities our nation, as a people, have put into place for just such enforcement. I refer to city, county, and state law enforcement, which are duly appointed and sworn to duty by local, county, and state government, which in turn are emplaced by the electorate. There is the FBI, the DOJ, the OHS, and the NSA who work in conjunction to enforce a myriad of similar laws. How is this allowing “the winners of elections to be the sole guardians of campaign finance information”?

  23. leslie 2021-02-14

    Art: “those who want to control what other people think and say.“ This is a conservative red herring to scare your fellow Republicans.

    And “American Republic not democracy”—please.

    “the salient reality of why many want anonimity [sic]”. Come on, man! Google campaign contribution anonymity

    “unmasking has notoriously been one-sided, and then democrats have used the information to wage a campaign of intimidation….” Spit that Fox News fishhook out of your throat, Art!

  24. Arlo Blundt 2021-02-14

    If you’re willing to give the money, you should be willing that your name be known by the public at large. Honesty is the best policy.

  25. mike from iowa 2021-02-14

    How can publishing the names of donors (over $200) be a serious problem when those names are public information, no one was targeted and only wingnuts blew a fuse because they blow fuses at regular intervals?

    from NBC News…..Sawyer Hackett, the Julián Castro campaign’s national press secretary, said in a statement, “Trump and his right wing enablers whine about publicly available information being released because they want to distract from his role in fueling the kind of racism, bigotry and white nationalism that we saw in El Paso this weekend. It’s pathetic.”

    Under federal law, campaigns must collect and report the names, addresses and employers of all people who donate $200 or more to their campaign. Donors can give $2,800 to a candidate per election cycle.

  26. mike from iowa 2021-02-14

    ps Castro claims he released the names to show hypocrisy from people of Hispanic heritage donating to racist drumpf.

    My apologies for getting in another rabbit hole.

  27. Art Clark 2021-02-14

    Rabbit holes sometimes lead to interesting places, Mike, no problem. Concerning what Joaquin said, he made many excuses after the huge backlash of his actions. And that backlash was also from the left, and was very public, as I cited above. Concerning the public info of donors, that doesn’t include employers. Now what do you think Joaquin’s intention was in having his volunteers research the employers of the opposing party’s donors and publishing them? Do you think for a minute there was no partisan intention there? Do you allow that it speaks to public incitement to harass?

  28. mike from iowa 2021-02-14

    Still have not seen or read about a huge Dem backlash to Castro’s releasing 44 names of donors. I have yet to read where any employees were outed by Castro’s people.

    I do know, the El Paso massacre of Hispanics (22 0f them by a drumpf follower) was inspired by drumpf’s rhetoric on immigration invasions for which drumpf nor any right wingers apologized for.

  29. Arlo Blundt 2021-02-14

    Well…Art, Politics is the marketplace of ideas. Witholding political donation information from the public is an attempt at rigging the market….not the American Way

  30. Yvonne 2021-02-14

    Both politicians from each party…very few at best, have not succumbed, yet, to their party’s dirty side of politics. Both have forgot why they are in office. They hide donors because, like themselves, these dirty politicians have created and fed into the problems every hard working citizen in this country has to deal with every day. Then they whine and wonder why the peasantry they created comes after them with pitch forks. People are fed up with both sides of the spectrum. Time for “new” partys to emerge. Competition is always good isn’t it? We all do better when we all do better. D n R. Do not Recusitate the Dems or the Republicans.

  31. leslie 2021-02-14

    Yvonne: this is a cop-out. The Dems in SD are not “dirty”. People are fed-up because Republicans falsely cast blame. Notice No.1 Republican McConnell claimed he couldn’t convict guilty Trump because he was no longer president. (McConnell HIMSELF refused to try impeachment until Trump was out of office.) This is the standard he has always operated by. So Republicans act the same way.

  32. bearcreekbat 2021-02-15

    Art Clark, law enforcement access to information about the identity and details of donors to PACs would indeed help law enforcement fight money laundering. I could be wrong, but I suspect that without publicly available information bringing donations into the public light, however, law enforcement would still have a much more difficult time discovering and tracing donations designed to launder money.

    Meanwhile, your reference to Joaquin Castro’s disclosures didn’t respond to my inquiry, namely,

    As for actual physical reprecussions through violence or threats of violence against someone based only on the disclosure of their political donations, I haven’t been able to find a single example with my google search. Maybe Art Clark can help and provide a link to such violent activity based only on a victim’s political donation?

    While you did not provide a link I was able to find an article describing the circumstance in your response where “Joaquin Castro (brother of Julian Castro), while running for office, published the names, addresses, and employers of Republican donors in the San Antonio area.” While it was apparently true that Castro was heavily criticized with warnings about this disclosure being dangerous, I saw nothing in the article reporting a single instance of anyone responding to Castro’s disclosure with violence or a threat of violence to any of the identified donors. So I remain unable to identify a single instance where a donor was physically harmed or threatened with physical harm solely because some miscreant learned of a political donation to a PAC or candidate by that donor. It appears that you also have not been able to find a link to such a report either.

  33. o 2021-02-15

    A better campaign slogan for Mickelson would be “out of the frying pan and into the fire.”

  34. jake 2021-02-15

    Art Clark; who was it that threatened the Republican secretary of State in Georgia and his family for SIMPLY DOING HIS JOB!?? GOP insurrectionists, that’s who. And you throughout this lengthy blog are defending dark, illicit laundering of no-limit amounts of cash to more of the Marjorie Taylor Greene types to fly by the voter’s radar and get ensconced into office to create more chaos like we’ve had for over four years.

  35. bearcreekbat 2021-02-15

    I agree fully that all donors should be made public whether from the left or right.

    That said, Art Clark’s link to a story from the Free Beacon struck me as very strange, if not completely nonsensical and absurd. Why would any extreme liberal group want to hide the fact that the liberal group donates to a liberal PAC? It just didn’t seem logical or make any sense whatsoever.

    Here is what Media Bias said about its analysis of this source – the Washingtion Free Beacon, a site they rank near the highest extreme of right wing bias:

    Overall, we rate the Washington Free Beacon Right Biased based on story selection that favors the right and Mixed for factual reporting due to misleading and false claims. [emphasis added]

    Now I understand.

    And by the way, Art, can I conclude that you have also given up on finding a single example of the violence and threats of violence to donors that have done nothing more than donate to any cause? Given your propensity to look to to sources like the Free Beacon, that failure is quite telling.

  36. happy camper 2021-02-15

    Well, I’m old enough, and many of you, to remember when the Citizens United ruling came down. People were incredibly depressed ten years later we’re seeing how fateful it was. Big money corrupts what a surprise can Congress alter their decision? Probably not easily since the Supreme Court saw it as a first amendment decision, but is money really speech? No, it’s paid influence.

  37. Dicta 2021-02-15

    Thinks for the link, Art. Let me know if democratseatbabiesandwanttomurderrealamericans.org has a follow up piece.

  38. 96Tears 2021-02-15

    The Washington Beacon? That’s the source? Really?

    Shoo fly!

    South Dakota is going to stay beet red for a long time. Democrats in this state are a withering presence. If they aren’t being repressed by Republican Thought Controllers in their livelihoods or socially, their alleged party leaders are undermining each other. Not ready for prime time — for a long time.

    COVID Kristi is a menace. The Trump comparisons we see here and on social media are incorrect. She is a cancer on politics, but a different sort of cancer. She’s a small guppy who thinks she’s a big fish if all she does is create the trappings of a big fish. Total puffery, sustained by a childish sense of entitlement. She is nothing more than that. The imbeciles in Pierre know that she was just another imbecile in the State House not that long ago. I’m sure Mark Mickelson knows that as do his supporters.

    Billie Sutton got close to defeating the Snow Princess because he oozes honesty and sincerity. Noem’s reputation as a well-dressed, one-dimensional hack preceded her in that election. She wasted multiple terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and came away with just one accomplishment, her bachelor’s degree completed online with S.D. State University. The fact that Sutton got close and Democrats still lost more seats in the legislature indicates just one thing: Democrats remain a non-factor in South Dakota. Just ask Billie.

    It’s my hope that someone who is at least somewhat trustworthy removes our 2024 Presidential Candidate from office in 2022’s state Republican primary. I have some big differences with Rep. Mickelson’s positions, especially on environmental issues and what are poor directions for our state’s economy. There, his positions aren’t too far from Noem’s or any other Republican with stature in good standing with the party faithful. But I do believe he has a respect for the institutions of government, for the Native populations and the government process to support him in the primary. He also possesses natural leadership qualities, which Noem sorely lacks, and would never, never, NEVER abandon his role as chief executive while his state is burning up from a pandemic as the nation’s hot zone.

    As long as South Dakota stays red, we ought to make sure Noem just goes home.

  39. Art Clark 2021-02-15

    (Yawn) Arguing that I’m defending dark money is argument smoke, since my earlier posts agreed with you as I offered what I think is a reasonable solution to eliminating it. And therefore diatribes about Noem and Mickelson have nothing to do with anything I’ve said, since in essence I have agreed with you from the beginning, only differeing in the how and why of addressing it.

    Concerning my sources, I’ve already used sources in this thread such as The New York Times. Now I’ve used a source on the right. Interesting that in both examples, you have argued against the point they’ve made. Perhaps instead of attacking the source (which is a vacuous argument against offered evidence) you try arguing the facts themselves, or REFUTE THE FACTS. Or is it that you do not want the rules you are trying to enact applied to both sides of the aisle? Everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others? Telling that instead of saying “yes, the law must be applied to all” you try to obfuscate even that point I make that the rules apply to the Democrats as well as the Republicans. Instead of logical refutation, in some instances above, you have resorted to base pejoratives which is a sure sign that some of you have nothing to add to the argument.

    That’s of no concern to me, but I have appreciated those above, such as the author of the article and several others, who have engaged the discussion with honest questions, their own facts, and a modicum of logic. That kind of exchange leads to profitable ends.

  40. bearcreekbat 2021-02-15

    Okay Art Clark, if this liberal organization “hid” the fact that it made donations to another organization, then how is it that this “hidden” fact is known by the public, where the Beacon apparently got its information, rather than hidden as claimed? I re-read the Beacon’s report and as best I could tell nothing at all was hidden from the public or the Beacon reporter or anyone else. Did I miss something, or is it a fact that this story is simply a gross misrepresentation that because a non-profit was not required to disclose donors, that the liberal organization “hid” the fact of its donations? While the Beacon went on about the fact of the donations, I found nothing to suggest that the donations were in fact hidden from the public, from the Beacon or from any other entity. Does that resolve your concern that instead of attacking the source I have argued the facts themselves?

    Your turn Art Clark, can you now “REFUTE THE FACTS” that have been laid in front of you with a quote or statement from your Beacon article supporting your claims?

  41. Art Clark 2021-02-15

    Very good, bearcreekbat, you were one of those I was referring to along with Cory, and I appreciate the question. So you postulate that what has been argued in Cory’s article above and in the comments thread that follows is that the conservative non-profit organizations and PACS hid their political donations and expenditures from the public. I gather this from your summation of the article:

    “I re-read the Beacon’s report and as best I could tell nothing at all was hidden from the public or the Beacon reporter or anyone else. Did I miss something, or is it a fact that this story is simply a gross misrepresentation that because a non-profit was not required to disclose donors, that the liberal organization “hid” the fact of its donations?”

    In answer to your question, I believe you did miss something, going clear back to Cory’s article. His premise did not concern non-profits using PACS to route political money, but that the non-profits were being funded by individual donors who were skirting political finance laws by giving large sums of money to partisan non-profits to channel to campaigns or use to support campaigns. “Dark money” means funds whose origin can’t be traced. In Cory’s own words:

    …It can work like this: People give money to a nonprofit that keeps its donor list private. The nonprofit gives the money to a type of political action committee called a super PAC. The super PAC makes independent expenditures on political advertising to support or oppose candidates and ballot issues. And no one can trace who donated the money. The process skirts campaign finance laws. Right now, the most a person may contribute to a federal candidate is supposed to be $2,900.

    The whole thread that has followed was about making the individual donors information public because this is the current information that is hidden, not the non-profit or PAC activity, but the individual donor activity. Cory never said the non-profits or PACS hid their activity, nor has that been mentioned in the subsequent discussion . . . until now. The article I cited gave the exact scenario that Cory wrote about. The Beacon traced the activity of the non-profits and the super-PACS, but the wealthy donors are hidden. This is exactly what you stated earlier that you were against, and for which I offered one solution.

  42. bearcreekbat 2021-02-16

    Art Clark, when I made my first comment in this discussion, I understood you to be contending that donors should be permitted to remain anonymous, and I suggested allowing donors to remain anonymous would make it much easier to launder money. You responded, “My proposal above, bearcreekbat, would give law enforcement every opportunity to track and examine political donations for illicit money.”

    Your most recent comment stated,

    People give money to a nonprofit that keeps its donor list private. The nonprofit gives the money to a type of political action committee called a super PAC. The super PAC makes independent expenditures on political advertising to support or oppose candidates and ballot issues. And no one can trace who donated the money. The process skirts campaign finance laws. Right now, the most a person may contribute to a federal candidate is supposed to be $2,900.

    It is not clear to me whether this is your position or whether you are restating what you consider to be Cory’s thesis. If this is your position, then my original point still seems valid. If this is not your position, then the idea that donors can remain anonymous seems incorrect, especially since interested persons, such as investigators or journalists, normally can obtain information from law enforcement under laws like the Freedom of Information Act.

  43. Art Clark 2021-02-16

    bearcreekbat, the inset comment in your response above is a direct quote from Cory’s article. He was describing the problem as he sees it, in that individual donors (whose donations are supposed to be limited to $2,900) can launder political donations beyond that limitation through non-profits who then funnel it to super-PACS. The issue Cory is discussing is about individual donors.

    My proposal was not that individual donors remain anonymous, but rather that the donor list of non-profits be available to law enforcement rather than the public, which would effectively eliminate dark money on both sides of the aisle, and enable the control of political donation laundering by the law enforcement agencies who are responsible for enforcing campaign finance laws.

  44. bearcreekbat 2021-02-16

    Art Clark, Thanks for the clarification! I enjoyed our discussion.

  45. Art Clark 2021-02-16

    As did I.

  46. leslie 2021-02-16

    Art:

    The Federal Election Commission is tasked with enforcing federal campaign finance laws. Its duties include monitoring restrictions and limits on campaign contributions, and overseeing public funding for presidential campaigns, per USA.Gov.

    Comments of Trump-gutted Federal Election Commission’s Chair Trey Trainor made have spread online as purported evidence of voter fraud and illegitimacies in the recent election.

    You ironically propose the public right to know be supplanted by federal state and local agencies.

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/11/19/fact-check-fec-commissioner-has-no-role-election-integrity/6332242002/

    Oh, public right-to-know?, you question: Buckley v. Valeo, the 1976 Supreme Court decision that upheld the constitutionality of federal disclosure requirements, concluded that disclosure reduced corruption in three ways. First, it provided the electorate with information about where money came from and how it was spent, in order to aid voters in evaluating those running for office….http://www.transparencypolicy.net/campaign-finance.php

    So thanks for all your misfounded assertions and the Beacon article, finally w/o NYT and MSNBC links.

    Truth is a razors edge for dismissive guys like you. BCB is kind.

  47. Mark Anderson 2021-03-13

    Come on folks, you can easily look up a person’s political affiliation. Just do it every time you shop or need some service. The nation will do that to South Dakota soon. The nation is a republic thingy is what the pubs always say when they are in the minority and still want to rule.. The constitution was made complex to help support majority rule, not the little minority pub party perversion and fear of majority rule. Why do you think every little pub state is racing to deny votes to people on the basis of their big lie?

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