Former Governor Dennis Daugaard and the Presentation Sisters agree: recreational marijuana is bad.
Dennis Daugaard came into 2022 with $313,865.57 in his campaign war chest. The former governor’s induction into the South Dakota Hall of Fame probably prohibits him from running for public office ever again, so he has to spend that money on other people. So far this year, Daugaard has spent $98,348.54 from his campaign fund, and the biggest check he’s written is $25,000 to Protecting South Dakota Kids, the conservative/Catholic ballot question committee cloaking a somewhat misleading campaign against Initiated Measure 27, this year’s marijuana-legalization measure, in the typical Q-publican assertion that its opponents are preying on children.
Daugaard’s $25K ties for the largest donation the anti-potters have received. There are a handful of other donors throwing five figures at reefer madness—Miles and Lisa Beacom, Dan Engesser, Robert and Rita Fischer, the South Dakota Police Chiefs Association, the Contractors PAC, and Mayor Paul TenHaken’s Next generation Leadership PAC—but only Debra and Robert Mudge of Rapid City have matched Daugaard’s $25K.
But among the mostly rich conservative donors, the somewhat more progressive Presentation Sisters have also thrown in with the anti-IM 27 group to the tune of $2,500. That’s just a tenth of the cash Daugaard has contributed from his hefty campaign leftovers, but the Presentation Sisters arguably carry ten times the moral authority of any elected official past or present in South Dakota.
Counting two supplemental reports filed since Monday’s pre-general deadline, the anti-IM 27 committee has raised over $437,227.05 since organizing this summer to fight the legalization of marijuana. IM 27 proponent South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws has two committees, one with “Inc.” appended to its name. The Inc committee reports raising $492,647.78 and receiving another $102,715.24 in donated goods and services since the primary. The original SDBML raised $47,332.24 and received another $126,126 in donated goods and services pre-primary to conduct the petition drive that placed IM 27 on the November ballot. Most of IM 27’s financial support is coming from marijuana businesses. This supporting document shows 88% of SDBML Inc’s cash coming from Marijuana Inc—i.e., corporations eager to sell marijuana in South Dakota:
But SDBML Inc. has its own aisle-crossing political support. Former Republican legislator Deb Peters continues her support of of cannabis capitalism by throwing $9,900 of her PAC money (under the clever moniker PAC’n Heat) behind the IM 27 campaign. Plus, the liberal Democrats lawyering at Robins Kaplan law firm (one of whom, Brendan Johnson, is sponsoring IM 27) threw another $1,000 of their PAC money to SDBML Inc.
p.s.: Both Protecting South Dakota Kids and South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws have committed campaign finance errors. PSDK lists a donation from “Roy and Kathleen” of 1106 N. Josephine in Madison. Even though I know which Roy and Kathleen PSDK is talking about, campaign finance reports should include full names of donors. Meanwhile, SDBML Inc. didn’t submit its pre-general report until five minutes before midnight on Monday. The Secretary of State usually requires election-related documents be filed by office closing time, 5 p.m. Central. Worse, SDBML did not provide names or addresses for any of its $100.01+ donors until Tuesday, after the deadline. That omittive delay was even worse than Jamie Smith’s, yet, strangely, the anti-pot Kristi Noem campaign and the SDGOP didn’t screech a word about demanding an investigation by DCI.