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Pot and Kettles—Tax-Hiking Schoenbeck Attacks Gosch, Pischke, Other Republicans for Offering Counties 0.5% Tax for Jails, Courthouses

So there’s South Dakota Strong, the Rapid City-based group that’s promoting Marty Jackley and other mostly mainstream South Dakota Republicans, and there’s South Dakota Strong, the PAC Senate boss Lee Schoenbeck (R-5/Lake Kampeska) organized on November 29, 2021 to “support Ronald Reagan style fiscal conservatives in South Dakota.” South Dakota Strong the Facebook group started posting on December 14 and started hosting monthly meets and greets in January. Most of South Dakota Strong the PAC’s start-up money came from East River rich guys—Dana Dykhouse of Sioux Falls and Jim Thares and Harvey Jewett of Aberdeen are each in for $10K—but Rapid City Senator Helene Duhamel (R-32) threw in $2,500 as well, and she figures regularly in SD Strong the Facebook group‘s posts.

I don’t know if the Rapid City Facebook group and the Schoenbeck PAC are the same stick, but they are definitely swinging at the same kinds of piñatas. Schoenbeck is launching a campaign like his 2020 effort to root apple-cart upsetters out of his party’s Legislative club. Joe Sneve says Schoenbeck is using his South Dakota Strong PAC to mail attacks on fellow Republican Speaker Spencer Gosch (who is primarying incum bent District 23 Senator Bryan Breitling), Republican Representative Tom Pischke (who’s in a four-way primary for District 25 Senate) and other Republicans in primary races for supporting 2022 House Bill 1053, which would have allowed counties to implement up to a 0.5% gross receipts tax to build or fix up courthouses, jails, cop shops, drug or alcohol treatment centers, and drug courts:

“I think it’s critically important that traditional conservative Republicans are the voice of our party and not these unusual fringe people,” Schoenbeck told the Argus Leader Friday morning, though he declined to say how much his PAC spent on this round of attack ads and how many incumbent lawmakers are being targeted. “This is an election that’s gonna have a lot to say about it” [Joe Sneve, “The Start of Early Voting in South Dakota Is Marked with Republican In-Fighting,” Sioux Falls Argus Leader, 2022.04.22].

Say, I notice that, in the Senate, Al Novstrup (R-3/Aberdeen) was one of four Republicans who voted for that tax, and he’s the only one of those four facing a primary challenge. Will Senator Schonbeck be sending nastygrams to Aberdeen telling the good people of the North to replace tax-and-spend liberAl Novstrup with the more Reaganesque Rachel Dix?

Of course, Gosch, Pischke, and anyone else Schoenbeck targets for suggesting counties take a half-penny for public safety repairs can fire back that Schoenbeck took a half-penny from everybody in 2016 when he single-handedly saved the great tax hike for teacher pay. They can also note that this year, Schoenbeck and his Senate minions rejected the House’s proposal to roll back Schoenbeck’s tax hike. Schoenbeck also killed the House’s proposal to repeal the tax on food.

So if Schoenbeck wants to hang Gosch, Pischke, and other “fringe” House Republicans (and Al! Don’t forget Al, Lee!) for supporting one optional and occasional county tax, Gosch and friends should strike back by flooding Watertown with nastygrams on Senator Schoenbeck’s liberal support for taxing more money out of every South Dakotan’s pocket every day. Schoenbeck has a primary challenger, Watertown city councilman Colin Paulsen. Work up a PAC—and maybe a Facebook page and weekly meetups—of your own. Call it “South Dakota Stronger.” Raise some money, recruit some marchers, recruit some phone bankers (“Callin’ for Colin!”—do it!), and give Schoenbeck a taste of his own medicine! Don’t get mad, fringy House Republicans—get even!


  1. Allen Jeris 2022-04-23 11:19

    Likely for different reasons, but I agree.

  2. bearcreekbat 2022-04-23 12:00

    This group also attacked District 35’s Tony Randolph as someone that “thinks the government doesn’t take enough out of your wallet.” Randolph seems to be a good faith religious zealot rather than a con man like Trump and so many of his synchophants that will say whatever they think might work to bilk naive, fearful and vulnerable folks out of their meagre savings. He may be deluded enough to think he has been commanded by his particular God to take away everyone’s freedom that doesn’t agree with his peculiar social values, but a “tax and spend” politician? Hardly. There are a ton of reasons to oppose Randolph’s view of what government should be, but this is truly a stretch.

  3. John 2022-04-23 12:19

    These are faux fiscal conservatives. If they acted like fiscal conservatives they’d:
    reduce county governments to 23 (Wyoming numbers) instead of 66;
    reduce the SD legislature to a unicameral of 51 senators;
    consolidate SD higher education to one 4-year university (as has Wyoming);
    reduce the wastefulness of incarcerating non-violent offenders;
    decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana and ‘recreational’ drugs.

  4. 96Tears 2022-04-23 12:49

    My, my, my! What a busy boy our state’s Senate President Pro Tempore has been! He’s making good use of his control of SDGOP internal politics with his control of the State Senate process and procedures to remove a big fat liar in the executive branch and his feckless aiders and abetters in the legislative branch. This much power and control by one legislator may be of historic proportions in South Dakota.

    * April 22 – Lee’s in control of the Senate impeachment rules that got filed. He gave credit to Sen. David Wheeler, R-Huron, but Wheeler admits the document is almost entirely a Schoenbeck production: “I should point out that I put together the initial draft as a starting point, but there has been significant editing by others, particularly Senator Schoenbeck, as a final draft was compiled for review by the whole Senate. So I did not write everything in the rules as they exist now.”

    * April 26 – Lee’s rules will be reviewed in a hearing by the Senate Legislative Procedures Committee, which (you guessed it!) Lee chairs! Of course, they’re going to be perfect! (One dark note is its vice chair is another GOP official with a problematic driving record that got sealed famously and mysteriously, Sen. Gary Cammack. Should Cammack seek recusal???)

    * June 7 – We’ll see how effective Lee’s South Dakota Strong PAC will be in picking off infidels in the House and Senate caucuses. Yes, maybe we’ll see the lovely and enchanting Al Novstrup finally get flushed down the latrine. His opponent would be a massive step forward for the district and the Senate.

    * June 8-20 – Much wailing and gnashing of teeth from the primary losers who couldn’t stand up to Lee’s South Dakota Strong PAC money and movement, and much fear and loathing for Ravnsborg-friendly delegates facing a hostile state convention in Lee’s backyard of Watertown.

    * June 21-22 – Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden will be in charge of senate trial proceedings, but the lawyer/Senator who wrote “the rules as they exist now,” no doubt, will make sure everyone has their scripted talking points and schedule of statements and questions in hand. Lee’s hand-picked prosecutors Pennington County State’s Attorney Mark Vargo and Clay County State’s Attorney Alexis Tracy are in charge of the BBQ.

    * June 23-25 – Fear & Loathing at the SDGOP State Convention in Lee’s backyard. Three days of fun and mayhem!

    For the next couple months, it’ll be the Lee Schoenbeck Show 24-7. Nutjobs, Lee’s got your number. We’ll see if Lee turns back the clock to the 80s “Morning in America,” or if he’s only planted a new crop of Taliban Republicans.

  5. 96Tears 2022-04-23 12:57

    Now, if Lee Schoenbeck wants to do our state a big favor, he’d grab that broom and sweep out the pack of liars and crooks in the Governor’s office, starting with the Snow Queen herself. Don’t let her get away with the violations before the state Government Accountability Board. You can replace her candidacy at the state convention or at a subsequent State Central Committee meeting.

    This one really ticks me off with professional misinformer Ian Fury telling KELO that Kristi would not legally be able to indicate what or if she submitted anything to the state GAB in response to violating laws and ethics involving misuse of the state airplane and her blatant nepotism in harassing and firing Sherry Bren for doing her job and not granting special favors to help Noem’s kid get certified.

    Fury’s big fat lie: “It would be a violation of state law to comment on your question. See SDCL 3-24-4.”

    That is NOT what SDCL 3-24-4 says. Senator Schoenbeck, please remove these crooks. They are even more dangerous to our state and the Reagan Republican brand than the nutbjobs that your South Dakota Strong PAC already has in its gun sights.

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-04-23 17:47

    96, if you had the power to control the Legislature, would you use it?

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-04-23 17:50

    97, you call on Lee to remove all the crooks. I wonder: might he be building a machine and removing all opposition so that he can remove whomever he wants?

    Gosch, Pischke, and Randolph all voted against impeaching Ravnsborg. schoenbeck‘s pack isn’t attacking them for the impeachment vote, but for more traditional tax votes. Perhaps Lee senses that impeachment is controversial enough that it doesn’t guarantee rallying primary voters against the candidates he wants removed. But let’s watch: who else gets a South Dakota Strong attack mailer? How many of them in the House voted against impeachment?

  8. bearcreekbat 2022-04-23 18:01

    Cory, I will send you a photo of the front in one email and the back in a second email.

  9. robbinsdale radical 2022-04-23 19:03

    Cory, don’t be fooled by South Dakota Strong in Rapid City, the players there are far from “mainstream” – high density of CFL zealots there. Jackley (although unlike Noem, a sharp guy who has some policy cred) lost my respect when he cozied up to the “christians” in an attempt to steal voters from Noem. He’s willing to cozy up to anyone will support him, no matter how extreme.

  10. 96Tears 2022-04-23 19:28

    Cory – Answer to question #1: Dang straight!

    Answer to question #2 posed to my brother 97 (’cause he’s a little odd): Lee has a history going way, way back of being exuberant to a fault. But his hair is silver and he’s long in the tooth. He has opportunities to create a legacy and a whole lot more. He can be St. Schoenbeck and chase all those snakes into the Mighty Mo. He seems to be starting the message campaign against the dullards on basic Reaganish malarky. He has time for more cards to play. If they are using polling in each district, he can adjust the nooses according to the feedback they’re getting.

    You’re right. It’s going to be fun to watch.

    Now let’s fire up those Ohio phone banks that don’t exist.

  11. larry kurtz 2022-04-23 19:37

    Who’s willing to nominate Brendan Johnson as the Democratic nominee for South Dakota Attorney General at the state convention?

  12. Mark Anderson 2022-04-23 23:00

    You know, there needs to be a South Dakota Stong Smell to support the meat packing industry.

  13. bearcreekbat 2022-04-24 11:21

    Cory, I emailed photos of the Randolph mailings to you last night.

  14. Arlo Blundt 2022-04-24 21:14

    Well..The Senator from Watertown is attracted to cash on hand…put it in the pile and keep it there for the next Republican “development” pipedream or Mt. Rushmore fireworks display…once you’ve got it, never give it back..”Never give a sucker an even break or wise up a chump.”

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