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Caalim Fails to File Campaign Finance Report; GOP Silent on Noncompliance of Friendly Committee

Secretary of State Steve Barnett confirmed this week that there’s no there there to the South Dakota Republican Party’s hysterics over Jamie Smith’s clerical error on his pre-general campaign finance report. Yes, leaving off the statutorily required addresses for over 1,500 big-dollar donors was a big, boneheaded boo-boo that gave the opposition an easy issue with which to distract the public from Smith’s performance at the SDPB debate that Governor Kristi Noem unconscionably dodged. But Smith fixed the error the next day, well within the seven-day grace period South Dakota campaign finance law gives all filers to fix their flops, making Noem’s and SDGOP chair Dan Lederman’s screaming for immediate criminal investigations look more than silly.

If the SDGOP wants to yell about failure to comply with campaign finance law, maybe they should yell at Michael Caalim. The Sioux Falls man organized a ballot question committee called “South Dakotans for Fiscal Responsibility” last May to help the Grand Old Plutocrats push Amendment C and fight Medicaid expansion. Yet Caalim filed no financial report before or after the primary showing what if any money he raised for the losing cause of Amendment C, and he filed no financial report by the October 24 deadline.

Caalim technically didn’t have to file any financial report in the spring, since he (cleverly?) organized his committee the day after the pre-primary reporting deadline. But his committee, like every other ballot question committee, political action committee, party, and candidate had to file a pre-general report by October 24. SDCL 12-27-22 does not make exceptions for committees that had no financial activity; even if Caalim formed his committee but then did nothing with it, the law says he has to report that he had no activity.

Failure to timely file a campaign finance report is a Class 2 misdemeanor. The seven-day grace period that saved Smith’s bacon appears not to apply to Caalim; SDCL 12-27-27 gives committees seven days to amend errors in reports they have submitted; it does not give anyone an extra seven days to submit an original report. In addition to the Class 2 misdemeanor charge, the Secretary of State could hit Caalim with a $200 civil penalty.

If Secretary Barnett is paying attention (and he may be distracted by Tuesday’s election and the job hunt his own Trumpist party has forced him into), he’ll send Caalim an order and assessment by certified mail saying file and pay up! If Caalim doesn’t file his delinquent report within 35 days, Secretary Barnett may terminate the committee.

Administrative termination isn’t a big deal, but a Class 2 misdemeanor and a $200 civil penalty are. So hey, Michael! Spare yourself a ticket (and spare your Republican friends the apparent hypocrisy demonstrating keen interest in strict compliance with South Dakota campaign finance law only when it concerns Democrats, not when it concerns people who have organized efforts to help the Republican cause); call the Secretary of State (605-773-3537), have Kea reset your password to the campaign finance reporting system, and punch in your termination report.


  1. leslie 2022-11-06 14:38

    not only the President’s secret service, but the Pentagon wiped phone/text records incrimminating Jan 6 attack REPUBLICAN complicity.

    “Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA) revealed during the last Jan. 6 committee hearing that the panel is investigating possible obstruction pertaining to testimony given about the Secret Service activity during the time surrounding the riot.”


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