Breaking News: Vision South Dakota Files Report. Citizens for Open and Honest Government mystery deepens

If you recall, I wrote recently about the South Dakotans for Open and Honest Government and the question of where their funds for the attack ads came from. Well, Vision South Dakota, the source of their funds finally filed a report. And it only deepens the mystery.

Check out the report here for a minute... and then we'll discuss. (.pdf format)

Okay. Had a minute to read it? Here we go.

Who is funding the attack ads that the Citizens for Open and Honest Government commissioned from Gunn Productions?

For starters, this organization accepted an illegal contribution from the Sisseton Whapeton Sioux Tribe which they now have to give back to the tune of $7000. (Ouch). This is what has been holding the filing up, and it remains unfiled until they can return the $7000 to the tribe's account. (Maybe they can pay for their own attack ads next time).

Moving from there, there's a fairly considerable list of people who donated big bucks which eventually ended up (or at least a portion thereof) in the pockets of South Dakotans for Open and Honest Governement:
Travis Carrico (Dakota Sioux Casino) - $1000
Margaret Hillenbrand - $5000
Margaret Lalley - $5000
Ray Hillenbrand - $5000
Sharon Warner - $8000
Don Endres (Verasun Energy) - $5000
Tate Profilet (Sioux Falls) - $1000

(Click on images to enlarge)

As well as a selection of others, including Bill Walsh, Ken Stofferahn, Charlene Lund, Jim Burg, Lars Herseth, Dorothy Kellogg, etcetera.

Another funding source was a political action committee called the Midwest Coalition for Progress who contributed $30,000.

Midwest Coalition for Progress? Who in the heck are they? The Secretary of State's office had not had a filing from them as of this writing, so it seems that they are late with it. And general consensus is no one knows who they are.

But that's why I'm so dang good. Because I know where to poke around.

In googling the name, the result quickly comes up. It should draw the attention of statewide reporters, because they're covering this group on another issue. The DM&E rail fight. That's right. As you can see as identified in this article from the Rapid City Journal, the Midwest Coalition for Progress is an anti-DM&E Railroad expansion group:
In one letter to land owners, DM&E’s agent tells them that DM&E has “enough certainty” to start the land acquisition process. A landowner advisory group formed several years ago, but it’s unclear if it remains active.

Nancy Darnell, who ranches with her husband, Donley Darnell, near Newcastle, said it’s much too soon to talk about land acquisition. The Darnells belong to the Midwest Coalition for Progress, an opposition group. And the railroad would cross their land.

“I think they’re trying to rush people with this letter,” she said in a recent interview.
Read that here.

So, this weird amalgamation of the Sisseton-Whapeton tribe, casino, ethanol, and anti-railroad interests funded the creation of these attack ads. In addition to funding the murky "open and honest group", Vision also funded a couple of other campaigns including the Billion campaign to the tune of $23,000, and Bryce Healy to the tune of $1000.

But hold on. I'm noticing something off here. They indicate that they made a donation of $8,100 to the South Dakotans for Honest and Open Government. But if you look at the report of the citizens for Honest and Open Government, they're reporting a different figure:

They're reporting that they received $26,100 from Vision South Dakota. That's a difference of over $18,000 that's unreported and unaccounted for in this massive PAC shuffle.

So, we're left at this point with a few questions unanswered.

#1 - So where is the $18,000?
#2 - Who are the donors for the Midwest Coalition for Progress?
#3 - why the big political action committee shuffle between 2 and in some cases 3 political action committees to hide the source of donations?

More to come on this as soon as the Midwest Coalition for Progress makes a report. Stay tuned.


Anonymous said…
What a bunch of crooks! And the Dems wonder why they don't win elections?
Anonymous said…
I believe it was in his State of the State address that the Gov. introduced Don Endres and talked about how he was a good example of how the ethanol industry was going to be leading South Dakota into the next millenium.

The Gov. then announced his support for continued ethanol subsidies. Endres went on to take his ethanol plant public and made a fortune.

What's that old story about a gift horse in the mouth?
Anonymous said…
I believe you are right.......
Takes the "that a boy" from the gov......then turns around and stick a knife in him....geeez.....
Anonymous said…
I'm guessing this publicity probably won't help the tribes too much in their negotiations for a new gambling compact either.
Anonymous said…
I bet Don Endres and the other ethanol people are hoping they get the kind of support from the Dems here, as they get in Minnesota.

The Democrat candidate for Lt. Gov. in MN was asked for her thoughts on expanding the use of E85 yesterday, and she didn't even know what E85 was.

That must be the kind of person they want in the Governor's office in SD too!!
Anonymous said…
You have no clue... You just got scooped on the real corruption scandal of 06... Roger Hunt and his dummy corp... Just a hit man for Rounds and the GOP huh...

what a nothing story
PP said…
Anon 6:45, My friend Todd (and I mean that sincerely) can beat me out a scoop on occasion, and that's just fine.

I'm happy working mine.

And I suspect mine will yield criminal charges before his will.
Anonymous said…
As best I can tell, Roger Hunt hasn't done anything ILLEGAL. Misreporting campaign contributions, as these committees have apparently done, is illegal.
Anonymous said…
PP, surely you don't think it's in the best interest of South Dakota for an elected official to set up a company for the purpose of hiding $750,000 in political contributions... you've hit these guys and the video lottery group -- rightly -- for being secretive. $750,000 is A LOT of money -- bigger than any of the other PACs at issue. Don't the people deserve to know where it came from?
Anonymous said…
8:53, with lap dog Long at the helm no republican can commit an election crime. There is no question that Hunt's corp meets the definition of a ballot question committee and should report it's contributors. But don't worry, nothing will be done because he has God on his side.
Anonymous said…
After noting that the anti-DM&E effort is one of ex-Senator Daschle's pet projects, one is tempted to say the picture gets even more politically incestuous (even if that description sets off the abortion proponents again).

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