Darned if I do, Darned if I don't.
Tardiness at the Secretary of State's office and why am I getting chewed on for it?

This morning, As I sat watching my infant entertaining herself climbing on a chair, I was perusing the comments I had received, and under the post on spending in the Latterell/Sutton race, I had this comment:
Anonymous said...

PP- Perhaps a report on some averages spent for the primaries held- statewide?

And knowing I had a post I was working on, I replied:

PP said...

That would be a good idea as soon as everyone gets their reports in. last I knew, there were 40+ tardy.

And then it went downhill from there. Immediately, I got a reply back upbraiding me for not having the people drawn and quartered:

Anonymous said...

40+ tardy? Where is the outrage from the Lance Russell group? These reckless lawbreakers need to be stopped!

PP, why aren't you righting a post on this? You jumped all over Fuller when it might help your buddy...did you forget?

Which caused me to remind Mr. Anonymous of one fact in the matter on why I was not "righting" a post:

PP said...

No, I haven't forgotten. Are you not noticing that I'm bringing it up?

On occasion, I do require food and sleep, and this week I have to provide child care.

Yes, I was the one who made note of it. And I'm being damned for pointing it out. And damn me for sleeping last night. And it continued:

Anonymous said...

Yes, PP, but you made light of fuller's failure to file. Implying that if he can't do that on time, follow the LAW, then...

Now we have over 40 late filers and nobody is raising a stink or even seems to care for that matter. Were is the self-rightous indignation? Hypocrites or opportunists, I just can't decide.
*Sigh*. Like I said, I need a few minutes in the day to eat, sleep, bathe, work, and on occasions such as this week, I get a rare opportunity spend extended time with my kids, which is why I don't post much on the weekends. Today, I've got to get a promised t-shirt mailed out to Dana Randall as well. I don't just sit in front of the computer all the live-long day.

So, yes, there are times when I might not jump all over people and issues as quickly as some might want.

But back to the topic at hand. Tardiness at the Secretary of State's office. Seth Tupper at the Mitchell Daily Republic had a great article on it yesterday, and I wanted to make sure everyone saw it, as it's political, and topical:

Forty percent of South Dakota’s legislative primary candidates failed to file mandatory campaign finance reports on time this week, and the other 60 percent reported spending an average of about $9,000 on their campaigns.

The reports, which list the fund-raising and spending for last month’s primary election, were due in the secretary of state’s office Monday. Of the 73 candidates who ran in the legislative primaries, only 44 had filed reports as of Thursday morning.

The remaining 29 non-filers, of which 21 are Democrats and eight are Republicans, will receive reminders from the secretary of state. If they still do not file, their names will be forwarded to the state attorney general. Failure to file a mandatory campaign finance report is a misdemeanor offense, and charges may be filed at the attorney general’s discretion.

Secretary of State Chris Nelson said legal action is usually avoided.

“Typically, the AG works with the folks to get filed as quickly as possible, as opposed to prosecuting,” Nelson said.

Nelson said some of the non-filers have attempted to file, but problems with their reports prevented their acceptance.

Among the candidates who filed reports, the average campaign expenditures were $9,081.44. The sum of expenditures on all 44 reports was $399,583.18.


Perhaps the most financially effective campaign was run by Jerry Bloomer, a Democrat from Hot Springs who was one of two winners in his state House primary. According to his report, he raised nothing and spent nothing.
Read it all here. Yes, all you naughty late filers out there - bad candidates. Bad, bad candidates. In this instance, I can't get to cranked up, as I don't have the facts. And the Secretary of State noting that "some of the non-filers have attempted to file, but problems with their reports prevented their acceptance," I would consider a mitigating factor.

So, go read the article yourself, and make your own judgement. As to my being interrogated as to "were (sic) is the righteous indignation?" Well, it tends to blunt it when I'm getting my ass chewed for diapering my kid instead of blogging. That, and the Fuller thing was an article in the Rapid City Journal and not something I came up with all on my lonesome.

Don't worry. Take heart - I'm monitoring this thing closely. Especially one filing in particular where I'm still waiting for a response from the Secretary of State's office.

And there will be enough righteous indignation to go around for everyone.


Douglas said…
Perhaps the election officials should put together a quick database program for candidates that makes collecting the contribution data easy and filing it nearly automatic. State government has the ability to generate inordinately complex paper forms with ambiguity, etc. and then turn around and blame respondees for the problems the forms themselves may generate.

This is not a Republican or Democratic problem. It is just a government that can slop together something aimed at making work easy for state officials without any thought to the problems it may generate for citizens and taxpayers.

I worked in an agency years ago and saw the problem first hand. It took months to get anything changed at state printing office, but we saved printing and mailing thousands of letters. It can be done.
Notla said…
The campaign finance reports are not hard to fill out. You list the monies you receive from political parties, PACs, individuals and fundraisers and total. You list your expenses and total. You show your balance or what you owe.

If you don't keep records, then it can be hard. Some just plain forget to do it, others just don't give a damn, because nothing happens to them. I know of one losing candidate who took over a year to file and the report was a sham.
scimitar said…
Douglas, the secretary of state has a form for campaign finance reporting that is sent to candidates after their petitions are verified. The form is also on the Secretary of state's website and can be downloaded. Nothing tough there.

This whole episode calls into question the competence of the people running for office in South Dakota. Are these our best and brightest?
Douglas said…
I am sure there are forms available and most likely not much is required to fill in that form if all the necessary data has already been kept and calculated, audited, etc.

What I was actually suggesting but which may not have been clear from what I wrote was that something like FileMaker Pro be used to write an application that could be provided to all candidates on a CD and simplify both data collection and form completion, etc.

Of course, as a previous poster has suggested that would require some familiarity with computers and other abilities which may not be as common as one might expect of candidates.

Of course, government forms of all kinds would be simpler if those required to complete them were paid for every entry and allowed to bill for the time spent collecting and collating data, etc.

Put a few carrots in with the ton of sticks.
Anonymous said…
The problem is one of enforcement. If the Attorney General, who has a statutory duty investigate and prosecute violators, would enforce it once, forty legislative candidates and an incompetent judge would not violate the law, which are criminal statutes.

Just think of how different the GOP primarys would have turned out if Adelstein knew he didn't have to file the pre-primary campaign finance report as required by law, as no one would have enforced the law. Without that disclosure, many liberals who call themselves republicans may have won. This is the same filing that Fuller was to make.

Someone needs to be made an example of in order to make sure our campaign finance laws don't continue to be just a mockery, where violation of the law is the rule and not the exception.

Chris Nelson and Larry Long are not complying with their oaths.
Anonymous said…
I'm glad Fuller's group is advocating the enforcement of the campaign finance laws. What kind of a judge can't even comply with South Dakota's campaign finance laws? That kind of judge might disregard the law and allow juvenile sex offenders to be absolved of their duty to register as a sex offender, thus not allowing the neighbors to know what their neighbor is capable of doing.

And, some wonder why two prosecutors sought that position?

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