Governor Kristi Noem‘s frequent flying paid off in campaign cash. According to the year-end campaign finance report filed Friday, Noem’s campaign raked in $7,932,423.15 in 2021—a record, says her campaign, for a gubernatorial candidate in a pre-election year.
Over 26% of that money, $2,080,000, came from one out-of-state source: the Republican Governors Association Right Direction Political Action Committee. Her next biggest donor was herself: Noem dumped $777,222.52 from her federal Noem Victory Fund into her gubernatorial campaign. She dumped another $202,290.23 of her federal PAC money into Larry Rhoden’s Lieutenant Governor campaign fund and $111,248.57 into her other federal PAC, “Keeping Republican Ideas Strong Timely & Inventive.” And 76% of that Noem Victory Fund cash—$1,114,843.90, enough to cover all of Noem’s disbursements to her affiliated committees—came from out of state.
Noem drew another $79,000 from three out-of-state political parties—the North Carolina, Texas, and Kansas GOPs.
Noem’s largest in-state PAC donation came from the South Dakota Trust Company PAC, which gave her $15,000 even though she blew off a chance to defend South Dakota’s lucrative plutocrat-sheltering industry before Congress last fall.
Noem reported $166,795.00 in donations from “entities,” the South Dakota campaign finance law category for businesses, non-profits, labor unions, and other organizations not recognized as political committees. By my quick count, over 84% of that money, $140,575, came from out of state.
The 491 pages of itemized individual contributions will take much longer to sift through. Those donations are listed in no particular order. But in a semi-random sample of four pages from the list—pages 345, 393, 442, and 463—out of 188 donations totaling $29,284.84, I find 57% came from out-of-state donors. (I invite the Noem campaign to send me the original and complete Excel file so I can quickly determine the percentage of all individual donations received from non-South Dakotans.)
Kristi Noem’s party has tried to ban out-of-state contributions to South Dakota’s ballot question campaigns, saying that outside ideas are bad for South Dakota. But in every major category on her 2021 year-end campaign finance report, Governor Noem reports receiving the majority of her money from out-of-state donors.