Terry Woster writes on the other PAC's who got involved in the 2006 primaries
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.And Terry goes into some detail in the article which you can read here at the Sioux Falls Argus Leader:
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."
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.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.
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.
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.