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:
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.