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Like Jensen, Cammack Making Money from State Purchases

The South Dakota Republican Party machine has scared Representative Kevin Jensen (R-16/Canton) out of his bid for party chair. But the conflict of interest the SDGOP spin blog unearthed relating to Rep. Jensen’s state contracts remains. Since the Constitutional provision preventing legislators from holding contracts authorized by laws they have passed is not contingent on whether the legislator chooses to challenge party leaders, I’m sure Attorney General Marty Jackley will conduct an investigation and tell Jensen he either has to quit the Legislature or quit his day job, as Jackley’s deputy Mark Barnett told Brookings Democrat Carol Pitts in 2001 when he determined she had a conflict of interest between her legislating and her paying gig.

When Jackley and Barnett go digging into Jensen’s conflict of interest, they’ll also want to look around for other conflicts. Consider Jensen’s colleague Representative and Majority Whip Gary Cammack (R-29/Union Center). Cammack, the owner of Cammack Ranch Supply, got a good chunk of his beer and gas money selling merchandise to the state last year:

Open.SD.Gov, Vendor Invoice M062JT204, showing payment in full from State of South Dakota to Gary Cammack, 2022.03.04, retrieved 2023.01.13.
Open.SD.Gov, Vendor Invoice M062JT204, showing payment in full from State of South Dakota to Gary Cammack, 2022.03.04, retrieved 2023.01.13.

This $6,482 purchase had to arise from a purchase order, and a purchase order signed is a contract, and contracts, said Republicans last week to trouble-making legislator Jensen, are things legislators cannot have with the state.

Marty, Mark, you’re listening, right?

I’m hearing that the state may have orders for other purchases from Representative Cammack’s business, but payments for any other purchases aren’t popping up in the state’s online checkbook. And the Attorney General’s office may have a harder time pinning Cammack down on conflict of interest, as no contracts with Cammack or Cammack Ranch Supply show up in the state’s public contract database. But you know, Cammack does have a record of getting the state to hide documents that don’t look good on his record.

So when—not if, but when, because this is the law, the Constitution! right, Republicans?—the Attorney General’s office announces its investigation into Representative Kevin Jensen’s problematic contracts with the state, we can surely expect an announcement of a review of Cammack’s financial dealings with the state… because the law applies to everybody, not just people who challenge the Republican Party’s elites.


  1. Monica Campbell 2023-01-13

    Thanks for the chuckle this morning.

  2. Mark Anderson 2023-01-13

    A little grease to keep the wheels turning.

  3. 96Tears 2023-01-13

    Wasn’t there a Democrat legislator from the Aberdeen area who was hounded by the AG’s office when Mark Barnett and Larry Long were running the joint? As I recall, he was a member of a cooperative’s board of directors and the cooperative was in the ethanol production business. Because ethanol received subsidies, the GOP AG decided this was problematic for him to continue as a House member or as a board member. The legislator told the AG to buzz off.

    No doubt that Gary (hiccup!) Cammack will ever have to endure The Protected Class tribunal on conflicts. Once you’re in the Protected Class, those conflicts just seem to evaporate.

  4. Matthew k 2023-01-13

    Mr hiccup had a half hour promo on KBHB radio last week. Bragging about how they got started and there turning the business over to a son. Suppose he knew this pitch was coming hard and and fast

  5. Arlo Blundt 2023-01-13

    Cammack sells a lot of equipment out of his store in Union Center. Why the state would need to buy equipment out there is probably the question that needed to be asked. What exactly did the state buy??? Was that piece of equipment not available from any other vendor??

  6. Scott McGregor 2023-01-14

    In 1998 election for Govenor, Janklow went after Bernie Hunhoff, then a state legislator because his South Dakota magazine was accepting paid tourism ads from the state. It proved to be the turning point in that election. As I recall, the Argus Leader ultimately e published a story under the headline that Hunhoff would not be charged for accepting the state payments.

  7. grudznick 2023-01-14

    Good friend of the blog, and grudznick’s good friend Bill, has many purchase orders. This is why he can’t play around d the legislatures any longer.

  8. larry kurtz 2023-01-14

    Recall Pat Powers hijacked the secretary of state’s office to sell plastic placards.

  9. larry kurtz 2023-01-14

    Yes, Qorndog Qings Gant and Powers went on to bigger and better trouser sizes.

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