Terry Woster writes on the other PAC's who got involved in the 2006 primaries

Terry Woster wrote in this morning's Argus Leader about South Dakota PACs, and how they're proliferating in South Dakota Political races:
Actress and activist Jane Fonda might not have campaigned in South Dakota this spring, but her involvement in legislative races is documented in a finance report in the secretary of state's office.

Fonda's name appears up on the pre-primary election report - Residence: Atlanta, Ga., Place of employment: retired - of Women Run! SD, one of about 100 political action committees required to file regular reports of campaign receipts and spending.

Hot-button issues like abortion have attracted political contributions from a variety of out-of-state groups.

Anyone may form a political action committee in South Dakota. When they do, they have a creature that isn't subject to contribution limits that apply to individuals. For example, an individual may give a statewide candidate no more than $1,000 and a legislative candidate $250 in any one calendar year, state law says. There's no limit in law to how much an individual may give to a PAC or how much a PAC may give a candidate or campaign.


Republican Sen. Lee Schoenbeck of Watertown tried to put a $5,000 limit on how much one person could give to a PAC. In the 2005 Legislature he said South Dakota's no-limits system allowed people with money to use PACs "as a personal checking account."

His proposed limits failed.

Asked if the PAC system is being used to get around individual contribution limits, Nelson said Friday, "Yes. The facts contained in the reports bear this out."
And Terry goes into some detail in the article which you can read here at the Sioux Falls Argus Leader:
That Jane Fonda deal? Her $750 contribution was one of seven to Women Run! SD. Eve Ensler of New York City, a playwright known for creating "The Vagina Monologues," put in $5,000 of the $10,000 total.

The money went to legislative candidates Paula Long Fox of Rapid City ($250), Theresa Spry of Rapid City ($250), Charon Asetoyer of Lake Andes ($7,750) and Faith Spotted Eagle of Lake Andes ($1,000).


Pre-primary reports this year show Adelstein contributed more than $53,000 to the All South Dakota PAC. That group contributed to individual candidates in Sioux Falls and Rapid City government races, including $5,000 to Casey Murschel, a candidate for Sioux Falls mayor. The record also shows a $15,000 contribution to the People's PAC and a $6,000 contribution to the Rapid City Action Committee.

Besides the All South Dakota contribution, the People's PAC report shows $200 each from Jan Nicolay of Chester, a former Republican legislator and Steve Hildebrand of Sioux Falls, former staffer to Democrat Sen. Tom Daschle. Those two have been active in the push to refer the state's new abortion ban to a public vote. The People's PAC contributed $2,000 each to unsuccessful state Senate races by Jim Holbeck of Clark, Claire Konold of Watertown, Republican Sen. Clarence Kooistra of Garretson and Republican Sen. Duane Sutton of Aberdeen.

The Rapid City Action Committee's report shows $1,000 contributions each to five legislative candidates.

Steve Kirby of Sioux Falls, former lieutenant governor, is the only pre-primary donor listed to the South Dakota Conservative Action Council PAC. His total contribution is $9,000. Schwiesow got $4,000 from that group.
At some point, reasonableness is going to have to be injected back into campaign finance laws. $250 max for a legislative candidate per person is ridiculously low. But on the other hand, I don't think a person should be able to use a PAC to distribute hundreds of thousands of dollars in the course of a few elections.

Let's modernize the system this next legislative session, and take the legislative total up to $1000 per person, and the statewide total to $2500 per person. And then let's have a discussion about the use of PACs to get around those laws.


Anonymous said…
Let's not forget the other PAC(s) that Woster also wrote about with big money single-issue conservatives Hamilton and Kirby pouring big money into Schwiesow's race. You all like to pretend that Adelstein is the only one doing it. Why don't you rag on Kirby and the others too, you hypocrites!
Anonymous said…
What happened to the concept of free speech? As long as it's fully disclosed - what's the big deal. Why is Adelstien's money dirtier than Kirby's?
Anonymous said…
Disclosure--what a joke. Just look at the Fuller fiasco in Saturday's Rapid City Journal. Where's the [enforcement] beef.
Anonymous said…
DISCLOSURE WORKS. Look at how the candidates that Adelstein backed did on Tuesday. In several of those races, the fact that he gave them money became a REAL issue.

Anonymous said…
The point is: Fuller did not file his pre-primary statement. Adelstein did. What if Adelstein had not filed it? What would have the secretary of state and the attorney general done? The answer seems to be nothing. That election could have been very different if Adelstein had not followed the law. With no consequences for not filing, as announced by the secretary of state, why even comply? If Adelstein would have been smart, he'd just have not filed until after the primary in violation of the law. No one would have enforced it, so why even care about the law.

It is the legislature's job to determine when the filings are due and the secretary of state and attorney general's job to enforce the statute, not simply disregard it.

That is the disclosure point.
Anonymous said…
It's just nice that a phony like Adelstein will no longer be in the Republican Senate caucus...if he wants to be a liberal, fine, be a Democrat and Daschle boot-licker, but spare us the lies
Anonymous said…
PAC's are just a way to get around the so-called campaign finance reform. It's so blatant that it's silly. The legislature should ban PAC's from SD, and the limits set forth by PP sound reasonable. Do you think the legislators would ever pass this though when it would impact the money they can get for their campaigns? I would hope the answer would be yes, but I have my doubts.
Anonymous said…
When Lee S put his bill in to limit PACs it passed the Senate without much trouble. It was not until the Governor's office actively engaged in the House that it ran into a buzzsaw. Telling politicians that they must limit their access to funds is never easy, particularly when they are the ones making the rules. Perhaps this is an issue that the people will have to take into their own hands and initiate a measure to control the blatant loophole in our campaign finance laws.
Anonymous said…
anonymous 11:19: How do we start such a petition drive? I'd carry petitions for that one!
Anonymous said…
Please check with Rounds, Long, and Nelson first before you blindly believe that you can change anything. Once you Big Government Republicans say it is ok, then you may proceed with the petitions. Do you understand you place in life?

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