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Legislature Endorses Illegal Spending of Coronavirus Relief on Normal State Expenses

The Legislature yesterday put its seal of approval on Governor Kristi Noem’s illegal use of federal coronavirus relief dollars to cover ordinary state expenses:

South Dakota senators voted 34-0 Thursday for reducing state government’s general-fund spending for the current budget by $167 million and offsetting a lot of it with federal COVID-19 aid.

…“The majority of those general fund cuts were due to federal dollars,” Chris Karr said. Taffy Howard praised him and the rest of the committee for opening the budget-assembly process. “It was a record year as excess revenue went,” she said. Representatives backed it 58-11 [Bob Mercer, “S.D. Lawmakers Tap Federal Coronavirus Funds and Stretch State Government’s Current Budget,” KELO-TV, 2021.03.11].

The federal CARES Act said aid to states was to be spent responding to the coronavirus pandemic and was not to be spent on expenses accounted for in the regularly enacted state budget. But I guess no one will get impeached for this violation of federal law and public trust, because everyone is complicit (except for eleven radical rightwing extremists in the House who wouldn’t vote to spend tax dollars on water if their grandma’s house were on fire).


  1. o 2021-03-12 07:47

    And the GOP rails that the Federal dollars given to states is a BLUE-state bail out?

    In the big picture, all SD had to do to have more money to pocket was to ignore using the money to save lives and just let more SD people die.

  2. mike from iowa 2021-03-12 08:41

    Exactly what would happen if Biden handed Medicaid funds to magat states in block grants.

  3. cibvet 2021-03-12 08:56

    Repubs rage against the 1.9 trillion, then bitch because they want more while pisssing it away on useless things to enrich themselves.

  4. leslie 2021-03-12 13:59

    Judges more than others see temptation of public money handlers for theft. Let’s watch the Republican party which has abandoned any semblance of moral power, turn into smoke.

    Oversight, regulation, ethics rules, inspectors general and fairness, are violated with impunity from the top. McConnell, Thune’s handler/controller, still calls himself Leader, Trump still calls himself elected president, and Roberts, Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and the other two decide cases outcome in secret (shadow docket).

    Because elections no longer deliver for the GOP.

    Some much for their democratic Republic and framer’s “judaeo-christian” constitution. Saving it by Dems leaves it open to lost-cause flank-attack for the next 4-8 years. All paid for and misappropriated by what’s left of a conservative political party(ies).

    Rounds, Johnson, Noem and the rest: losers. Trump’s cynical suckers.

  5. Donald Pay 2021-03-12 14:34

    Hey, citizens are the ultimate overseers. Nothing says you can’t submit various expenditures to the appropriate federal agencies to check whether that meets the intent of law. Often there are financial rewards to be had for citizens or groups who turn in folks for misusing federal funds. And if these are serious enough and repeated, these folks are going to be doing some time in prison.

    I’m not sure what all the statutes are. Maybe attorneys who deal with federal agencies might be able to point you in the right direction.

    We used citizens suit provisions in the Clear Water Act at one point to get NPDES (Clean Water permitting) regulation on heap leach gold mines, setting national precedent. We and another organization shared a good chunk of money as a result of us convincing EPA to regulate these mines.

  6. Mark Anderson 2021-03-12 16:16

    Come on folks, South Dakota has always been a taker state and whats an extra thousand or so people dead when you consider all that cash coming in to be dispersed by those in power.

  7. Donald Pay 2021-03-12 17:07

    I’ve made this a little easier. You can report suspected fraud/misuse of federal funds to agencies below. The GAO has a portal specifically for reporting misuse of COVID-19 assistance. If you think Covid Kristi’s jet is not among the things that should be purchased by federal COVID-19 funds, don’t whine about it. Do something about it. I will submit a complaint, but it may have more power if South Dakotans also turn Kristi in.

  8. SD is 20 per cent nonwhite 2021-03-13 01:58

    Yeah, actually we can report Gov and Senate and House members who vote for incorrect use of CARES funds.
    I will check out the link and submit one.

    Kudos, Mr. Pay. Citizen action at its finest.

  9. Bill 2021-03-13 09:29

    I see it has been reported that Senator Rick Scott, (R-FL) has asked governors and mayors “to reject and return any federal funding” set aside for them, outside of that directly attached to Covid-19 expenses. There may be a backlash coming on spending this money inappropriately.

  10. Mark Anderson 2021-03-13 17:48

    Well Bill, Mr. Scott drank the fifth about 76 or so times when the hospitals he ran brought the biggest fine from the government in history. He can do anything.

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