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Using Private Contractors Insulates Noem, Buys Campaign Connections

Governor Kristi Noem is so lazy—

How lazy is she?!—

—Noem is so lazy that now she hires people to hire people:

Governor Kristi Noem is seeking a chief/director of communications, according to a contract with a Kansas recruiting firm.

The state will pay Bird Dog Recruitment and Consulting, LLC, up to $30,000 to hire the new staff member, according to the contract.

Bird Dog was paid $10,000 on May 26, according to the state checkbook [Rae Yost, “South Dakota to Spend up to $30,000 to Fill Position on Noem’s Staff, According to Contract,” KELO-TV, 2021.06.04].

Noem outsources mismanagement of hundreds of millions of dollars of coronavirus relief money (and gives the private consulting firm a 67% raise and contract extension after they botch the rollout). Noem outsources selling state planes and shopping for her luxury jet. Now she can’t even be bothered to post a public job ad, look through résumés, pick her own flunky to write and recite her talking points?

If there’s any justification for this dereliction of duty and waste of tax dollars on out-of-state firms, it’s pure political insulation. When Guidehouse hands her brothers over $600K in coronavirus relief checks, she can claim she didn’t handle the money. When Verity Jet acquires a cushy jet for Kristi’s Presidential campaign flights, she can say she’s only following the advice of experts:

But, Fury added, the governor is not set on a jet. That’s why the Verity Jet Group was hired, at a cost of $195,000, to make the calls on the sale of two of the three airplanes in the fleet the governor uses, and the purchase of a new one. “She’s trusting the experts to identify which plane makes the most sense for the state’s needs,” Fury said [Tom Lawrence, “Noem Is Investing $5 Million for a New Jet—But Let’s Make Sure It Is Only Used for South Dakota State Business,” South Dakota Standard, 2021.06.02].

And now when she hires another Beltway toady to spout her propaganda and work with Corey Lewandowski on her divisive Presidential campaign, she’s using a private firm run by former Sam Brownback campaigner and current Kansas Republican national committeewoman Kim Borchers to vet candidates for proper ideology and insulate herself from criticism for hiring another out-of-stater. (And tell me again: why can’t the most powerful woman in South Dakota find dozens of talented young South Dakotans eager for the chance to work for their Governor and serve their state?)

And now by contracting with a Kansas Republican and fellow Stop-the-Steal-er to do her hiring, she’s also greasing an important party palm in a state that might field its own Presidential candidate, Mike Pompeo. And she’s outsourcing work that we usually get done for us by the state employees we’ve hired to carry out our public business.

$30K to hire a spokesperson, $180K to shop for a jet, $10M to manage coronavirus cash—all of this is your tax dollars at work… and your Governor not at work.

Related Reading: Bird Dog Recruitment and Consulting LLC of Topeka, Kansas, isn’t exactly a big dog in recruiting for top-level public-service positions. The company appears to be a one-woman show incorporated just two years ago and still run from Kim Borchers’s house in an expensive subdivision on the north edge of Topeka. Far be it from me to criticize anyone for working from home, but jeepers—for $30K, I’d expect we’d be hiring someone with a bit more track record and support staff. Commissioner Darin Seely, who signed this consulting contract with Bird Dog, could assemble a bigger team within our state Bureau of Human Resources than Kansas Kim in her kitchen.


  1. Donald Pay 2021-06-06 14:39

    These private contractors running the government for the elected leaders who are supposed to run the government have been the cause of a lot of problems over the last 60 years. I’m not sure when all this started. It became more and more prevalent after World War II in the defense industry, which led to Eisenhower’s famous warning about the military-industrial complex. Ike knew what he was talking about there. Unfortunately, his administration orchestrated the first melding of industry and government in the vast nuclear weapons and nuclear power industry. Where government starts and where the nuclear industry ends is difficult to know. They are virtually the same. Some folks make out pretty good money-wise through this arrangement.

    I mean this sort of corruption goes by many names, but in the 1980s it was called “the Reagan Administration,” which was really addicted to this sort of con game. The locals had Tax Increment Financing. TIF used to be a way to get dilapidated properties improved. Now it’s just a way to funnel money to favored contractors. The money recirculates to the slimy politicians’ campaign committees. Everyone, except the taxpayer, is happy. It’s the new “spoils system.” where they funnel tax money to someone whose major qualification is being beholden to the right political machine. And then you wonder why government doesn’t work.

    All of this contracting out also allows a slimy politicians to claim they were keeping the number of government employees down. It’s a big deal with “conservative” politicians, who funnel money into favored contractors so they can say, “Look how much we cut government.” Like hell you did. Janklow like to run this con.

  2. mike from iowa 2021-06-06 16:05

    What is it about Dakota Uni grads that make them untrustworthy to work for the gubmint? Are any Northern Mississippi grads competent? In comparison to their politicians, you’d think a question like that need never be uttered, but for some reason(s) Dakota’s guv can’t seem to find good help in state.

  3. grudznick 2021-06-06 16:47

    Now, now, Mr. Pay. You know darned well there are many TIF districts that build and enhance communities for everybody. In rapid city my favorites are tax increment districts numbered 70 and 80. Are some fellows getting richer? Probably. But all residents will benefit from these districts.

  4. Porter Lansing 2021-06-06 19:00
  5. Richard Schriever 2021-06-06 20:01

    Mussolini’s definition of Fascism is the ownership and control of the state by private enterprise.

  6. Donald Pay 2021-06-06 21:07

    Not sure if it still applies but Rapid City Area Schools NEVER went along with rolling school taxes into TIF districts. Some districts in Wisconsin do. That is ridiculous.

    Grudz, do you consider Moon Meadows a “blighted area?” Myabe things changed since I lived in Rapid, but that area used to be some nice houses with acreages. What are they doing up there?

  7. leslie 2021-06-06 23:58

    9th St office? Murphy’s house? One and the same?

  8. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-06-07 06:48

    Hey, the real story here is that Noem has outsourced a relatively easy job, hiring a spokesperson, one that’s never required a contractor, to a political figure from Kansas who appears to be a solo rookie at job recruitment. Noem didn’t hire an established talent firm; she hired someone who might help campaign for her in Kansas. The press and the Democrats need to hop on this aspect of the story.

  9. John Dale 2021-06-07 20:44

    I searched “Noem” on the front page just now .. it was there 23 times.

    It’s like free advertising.

  10. grudznick 2021-06-07 22:05

    Mr. Dale, it’s called “Noem Derangement Syndrome”, or NDS. It’s not very contagious, but golly once contracted you cannot shake it. Bouts of juvenile name-calling tend to be prevalent among out-of-staters who have it, but most South Dakotans remain fairly polite, but you can see their rage in their bloggings.

  11. Porter Lansing 2021-06-07 22:38

    Cory, nobody in SD cares enough about Governor Noem’s excessive spending habits or her obsessed Presidential campaign to follow up on one more expense or it’s future implications.

    In short, she’s “off the ranch” and worthless to anyone in SD trying to make a difference.

  12. Arlo Blundt 2021-06-07 22:44

    Well…I’m outraged…and Bill Janklow is spinning in his grave.

  13. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-06-08 05:39

    “Noem Derangement Syndrome” is seeing her raid the treasury to benefit her political friends and boost her profile and thinking she’s doing a great job.

    Porter, how can citizens not care about mismanagement of public funds?

  14. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-06-08 05:40

    John, don’t try spinning me into the no-win situation. If the chief executive does lots of bad things, the press has to talk about those bad things.

  15. SDBlue 2021-06-09 17:41

    If anyone in the SD GOP had the balls to conduct an audit, we would probably all be horrified and appalled at the amount of taxpayer dollars wasted by the narcissistic, corrupt, Trump Tramp media wh*re pretending to be our governor. I could not despise her more and SD deserves so much better.

  16. Porter Lansing 2021-06-09 18:09

    Cory. How can your citizens vote 75% for The Big Liar?

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