More on the 750k thing...

The opposition might not like it. But I'm not so sure there's anything illegal about it at this point, given South Dakota's lax campaign finance laws:
12-25-2. Allowable contribution sources--Contribution by corporation prohibited-- Contribution by association restricted--Violation as misdemeanor. No candidate, candidate's committee, political action committee, or political party committee may receive any contribution except from an individual, political action committee, or a political party. No corporation may contribute or attempt to contribute any valuable consideration to any candidate, committee, or political party except a ballot question committee. No association may contribute or attempt to contribute any valuable consideration to any candidate, committee, or political party except a ballot question committee.
Is it an attempt to get around the campaign finance laws? Sure. But so is Stan Adelstein setting up political action committees to send his selected legislative candidates $5000, as he did with his "Nix on Six" PAC.

Don't like either? Then fix the laws. That's what I'm continually grumbling that we need to do.

If we want to look at clear violations, look at what Vision South Dakota is doing with MISREPORTING what they've given.

Now that's a violation.

Now that's a violation

Comments

Anonymous said…
The corporation is a "ballot committee" by definition. Yes pp there is a violation of law.
Anonymous said…
Well of course Roger Hunt violated the law. He's not a very good lawyer. He keeps passing unconstitutional bills that get thrown out of court and cost the taxpayers millions to defend.

That is his sole function in the House - to pass unconstitutional bills for the purpose of penalizing the SD taxpayer.

That Hunt has violated the law in his quest to violate the constituion is no surprise.
Anonymous said…
The corporation is a corporation that may have been formed for the pupose of making contributions to a ballot committee.
Anonymous said…
Keep reading the statutes, PP.

SDCL 12-25-1(1A) defines a ballot question committee as “any two or more people who cooperate for the purpose of raising, collecting, or disbursing money for the adoption or defeat of any question submitted to the voters at any election.”

This entity is clearly a combination of two or more people cooperating for the purpose of raising, collecting or disbursing money for the adoption of defeat of question submitted to the voters at any election. Hunt says that he is working with someone (another person) who wished to donate to Vote Yes for Life (influence a ballot initiative), but remain anonymous to protect his family.

A ballot question committee is not determined by what paperwork you file, but by what actions you take. Hunt acknowledged in the Argus Leader that the "corporation" has taken no action other than funeling campaign contributions.

Additionally, the statutes that recognize the establishment of a corporation make clear that corporations cannot be formed to avoid regulation of other laws. “A corporation engaging in a business that is subject to regulation under another statute of this state… is subject to all limitations of, the other statute.” SDCL 47-1A-301

This is why Chris Nelson makes a distinction between an established, legitimate business donating general treasury funds, and a corporation being used as an entity to anonymously pass through contributions.

Nelson knows what he's talking about. You're right about Vision South Dakota. But Promise South Dakota is violating the law as well.
Anonymous said…
Looks like Hunt stopped reading at the same place PP stopped reading. Thanks for clarifying 12:20.
Anonymous said…
12-25-19.1. Campaign financing - Statement required of persons involved in referrals, invitations, or proposed constitutional amendments - Contents.

Any legal or natural person** or ballot question committee who is involved in the referral or initiation of any question or proposed constitutional amendment at any general election shall file with the secretary of state by the first day of July in that year and the last Tuesday prior to any election a detailed statement, complete through the tenth day prior to that election, of all valuable considerations received, obligated or paid by that person or committee, including the fair market value of advertising time, either paid or unpaid. The statement shall itemize all contributions and expenditures and shall include the name, residence address and place of employment of any person who has contributed an aggregate amount of more than one hundred dollars or the equivalent thereof in that calendar year. However, with regard to political action committees, the statement shall include the name of any political action committee that contributed any amount. By February first of each calendar year, that person or committee shall file a detailed statement for the preceding year or the remainder of the calendar year in the manner provided in this section. All reports filed pursuant to this section shall be consecutive and, taken together, shall cover the entire year's receipts and expenditures. A report postmarked on or before the date due is properly filed. A violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

**Hunt's corporation is almost certainly a "legal person" under the terms of this statute.

Stick to politics, PP. You don't understand law.
Anonymous said…
KELO is quoting Hunt at noon now saying there is one donor, not three as he said earlier. So, an elected official lied to us and tried to cover up the facts. He's now saying "attorney-client privilage" prevents his from saying who the donor is.

So, if you're keeping score:
1. Potential, though unlikely contribution violation due to lax laws.
2. Caught in a lie five days before the election.
3. Abuse of the privilage for potential disciplinary action by the state Bar.
4. $750k in contributions by one SD resident: you all get just one guess on what well-known state conservative's got that kind of cash. Hint: rhymes with derby.

Dr. Frank Alvine's gotta be saying "I told you so" to every single living soul in District 10 right now.
Anonymous said…
Roger's actions ought not be used to deter people from voting in favor of 6.

In fact, Roger's ability to raise $750,000 in a few short weeks is proof positive that it will be easy to raise money to fight for the law after it passes. Vote Yes with confidence and know that private citizens will step up to fund a fight against the abortion lobby.

Rest easy taxpayers. We will triumph over the abortion industry, and the government isn't going to have to impose upon the taxpayers to do so. AND, once the abortion industry is defunct, it will be a savings to the taxpayer because medicaid will no longer be used to pay for abortions.
Anonymous said…
Breaking from KELO -- Hunt will file a report, but he won't list the contributors. What the hell does that mean? That's like saying I'm guitly, but I'm going to keep on doing it...
Anonymous said…
Anon 12:47, do you really think "The Love Bug" was the donor? I didn't know Herbie was a South Dakotan.

Thank you, Herbie! Your friends in Hollywood have a LOT of money invested in the Vote No campaign. Thank you for taking a stand for women's health and human life!
Anonymous said…
Quite trying to give Hunt a pass on this one.
Anonymous said…
So, PP, just to be clear -- If Vision South Dakota files a report and leaves out $18,000 in donations, it's a clear violation. Now, Promising Futures will file a report leaving out $750,000 ($100% of their funds) in donations, and it's not a violation? Please explain...

Seems like if it's good for the goose...
Anonymous said…
12:20

Might not be as clear as you think... if I were advocating for Roger Hunt, I'd argue it's not 2 or more people cooperating. It's one person who hired a lawyer to do his contributing for him. If Hunt didn't put money in, and just agreed to work on behalf of a client that wishes to remain anonymous, there wouldn't be a committee. I'd analogize it to a lawyer filing suit - the lawyer isn't a party to the lawsuit, and even if he hopes for the same result as his client, he's no more a plaintiff or defendant than any other non-party.

IMHO, there's not a "clear" violation of the law here.
Anonymous said…
The corporation is a corporation formed so one man could donate 750,000K to the vote yes for life campaign.

Hunt said it himself. He's trying to allow a generous contribution without disclosing who it is.

IlllllllllEGAL. PP, you're wrong.
Anonymous said…
WWSD
What would Stan do?
Anonymous said…
1:24 -

First, although it's hard to beleive, lawyers are technically people. The law does not say that two people need to contribute, only that two people need to "cooperate." Hiring an attorney or any other person to help you do something constitutes two people "cooperating," regardless as to their profession.

It's a hell of a stretch to say that the donor and Roger founding a corporation is not two people "cooperating" to get money to a ballot committee. Attorney/Client privilege does not mean that an attorney is not considered to be a person...
Anonymous said…
I think it is fair to say that Roger Hunt is operating in a legal grey area - something the law doesn't exactly contemplate. There are arguments either way. Depending on how a court rules, it may be a campaign committee, and it may not be.

But PP is right - the best thing to do is to change the law to stop people like Roger Hunt and Stan Adelstein from skirting the campaign finance laws. And to force the mysterious donor to come forward.

Certainly, if voters are allowed to know every person who gave $100 to the candidate for state representative, they are entitled to know who pumped $750k - probably the largest donation to a political cause in state history - into Yes for 6.

But that does not necessarily mean that the law requires disclosure. It is unclear - and those of you posting are doing a good job of summarizing the two sides of the inevitable oral argument.
Anonymous said…
Any tax lawyers out there?

What are the federal corporate tax and federal estate/gift tax implications?

BTW, Drake Olson, do you hate all lawyers or just trial lawyers? A lot of your friends are disappointed.
Anonymous said…
1:59

"Hiring an attorney or any other person to help you do something constitutes two people "cooperating," regardless as to their profession."

I disagree - I don't think it's that clear. In an employment relationship (I'm assuming facts - that the donor employed Hunt), you don't necessarily have cooperation. If I hire a mechanic to tune up my car, that doesn't make it so that we're cooperating in driving the car to a given destination. The donor is directing the attorney in what should be done with the funds.

I agree with 2:19 - it's a gray area.
Anonymous said…
There's no attorney-client privilege here, as Leslee Unruh admits that she is privy to information regarding the donor and specifically says that "it's not a secret."

For those of you who don't know, the attorney-client privilege pertains to confidential communications between a lawyer and a client only. When anything is disclosed to a 3rd party it ceases to be privileged for anybody.

Also, Hunt has changed his story. First saying that there were more than one donor and later saying that there was only one donor. Sounds to me like he told the truth the first time, and then made up a lie that he thought would help him avoid disclosure.

But whether Hunt lied with his first claim or his second claim, the one thing that is clear is that he lied. Nothing new for the people running "yes on 6". They all lie.
Anonymous said…
Regardless of the lame legal argument Roger Hunt is making. A public official should should comply with not only the letter of the law, but the spirit of the law as well. Roger views himself as a crafty wordsmith, but he is a coniving,self-serving hypocrit.
Anonymous said…
If Hunt claims he was acting as the lawyer for donor, then he is ethically prohibited from accepting a $750,000 donation from that client. (Rule 1.8)

Hunt's lie about whether there were more than one donor or just one donor, and his facilitating a scheme to circumvent the campaign disclosure laws violates his duty as a lawyer of truthfulness in statements to others. (Rule 4.1)

If he was holding money for the client to transfer elsewhere, the money would have to be held in his attorney trust fund. (Rule 1.15)

Lastly, even if the flimsy attorney-client argument is accepted, you still have more than one "person" cooperating to make a donation on a ballot issue under 12-25-1(1) because the corporation is one "person" and the donor(s) is at least one other person(s).

There is no way under the law that Hunt can avoid disclosing the donor. Moreover, he risks disciplinary action by the State Bar for his shenanigans that appear to violate attorney discliplinary rules no matter what story is accepted.
Anonymous said…
Unruh mentioned $92,000 for the UNhealthy Families on KELO. Here was Nicolay's answer: "But Nicolay says the reason only one name is given on Working Assets' report is that only one of the donations inside its package was more than $100."
How convenient. I am willing to bet there are a bunch of $99.99 contributions so they would come in under the radar.
Mimi said…
I was feeling pretty good about myself and my $100 donations but I guess that doesn't mean much..This is a pickle for Roger as South Dakotan's traditionally don't like people with money OR their causes.
Anonymous said…
3:11

Those are pretty serious allegations, and I suspect you don't have any facts that would support them. Rule 1.8 (Conflict of Interest) is not so simple, and it wasn't Hunt or his campaign that was being contributed to.

Rule 4.1 has to be balanced with Rule 1.6 (Confidentiality). Attorney-client privilege is anything but flimsy, and as for Leslee Unruh's knowledge (if she has any), I'd refer you back to 1.6. Maybe he had informed consent to disclose to her confidential information - again, these are facts that I suspect you have no knowledge of. And I suspect you have no idea where the money was held (if at all) by Mr. Hunt.

As for whether a person and the corporation formed on their behalf to make a donation(s) constitute 2 separate people cooperating for purposes of SDCL 12-25-1, that's going to be ultimately up to a court to decide.
Anonymous said…
3:20, here's the difference.

1) Working Assets filed a report with the Secretary of State's Office. Hunt's group did not. That's the point.

2) Working Assests is a credit card (and long distance) company that allows its customers to send a percentage of their charges to progressive/liberal causes. So some of their customers sign up for "SD Abortion Ban" and everytime they make a call a small percentage of their toll is donated to the Healthy Families campaign. That's why most are under $100. But multiply it by a few hundred thousand, and you end up with $92,000.

But the key here is that Working Assets filed a report with the Secretary of State. Promising Future did not.
Anonymous said…
4:09, OK, point taken. But I just hope the MSM will look at this as well as the Yes on Life people. The Healthy Families bunch is getting a pass.
Anonymous said…
Also, 4:09, it does my heart good to see someone putting liberal and progressive in the same sentence. "Progressives" seem to be afraid of the L word. A bit disingenuous in my opinion.
Anonymous said…
Holy Crap!

Chris Nelson just said on KELO that the laws are clear, and he will begin looking into the matter now that the report is filed.

He also said that it looks like one violation -- filing late -- has already occured. And he and the Attorney General are investigating the complaint.

This is turning into Hunt vs. Nelson. Not good for Hunt or Vote Yes for Life.
Anonymous said…
Here's what KELO reported (source - their website)

-- "Secretary of State Chris Nelson says it appears the report should contain the names."

"If it was money that was collected or received for the purpose of influencing this ballot question," Nelson says. "I don't know how you could file the report without putting that information on."

Nelson says Hunt may already face one violation.

KELOLAND NEWS: It's still late, isn't it? Is there a penalty for that?

NELSON: "Well, it should have been postmarked by October 31st. Failure to file, under the statute, is a Class-2 Misdemeanor. Again, we'll take a look at it and see what we've got."

There's still the question of whether Hunt technically "collected or disbursed" the money to support the ballot measure. --

How is there ANY question as to whether Hunt "collected or disbursed" money? He says he didn't "solicit" money, but who cares? The corporation clearly "collected" money AND it clearly "disbursed" money.
Anonymous said…
I saw the KELO story, and Roger seems to assert that because the corporation didn't "solicit" funds, it is not a ballot committee. The law, however, does not require a solicitation.

Under 12-25-1(1A) a ballot question committee is defined as “any two or more people who cooperate for the purpose of raising, collecting, or disbursing money for the adoption or defeat of any question submitted to the voters at any election.”

Any lawyer will tell you that there is a huge differnce between the words "or" and "and." Here, all that is required for a ballot committee to exist is for two or more people to cooperate in order to 1) raise, 2) collect, OR 3) disburse money support or oppose a ballot initiative. Regardless as to whether the entity "raised" money, it clearly "collected" and it DEFINTELY "disbursed" funds.

And it is clear that this entity has no other purpose but to influence the election. Everything Hunt said yesterday and this morning indicated that the corporation was designed to allow a donor to avoid disclosing his identity. Now he's trying to hang his hat on a "solicitation" defense. That might work if that "or" in the statute was an "and." But it's not. And Hunt's legal argument doesn't hold water.
Anonymous said…
The fallout from this could be huge and widespread. Take PP's credibility, for instance. The longer he continues to minimize this Hunt scandal -- while simultaneously and repeatedly insisting that Adelstein is a demon -- the more he cements his reputation as nothing more than a partisan hack.
Anonymous said…
7:24, Yeah, a real partisan hack who links to angry paranoid lefty blogs and puts up campaign ads for Dems like Bryce Healy. How many lefty blogs link to SDWC other than Epp? And how many give space to Republicans and conservatives except to trash them? Get your own house in order before you trash SDWC.
Anonymous said…
There seems to be a major misconception here. A corporation is a corporation. Just because it makes a donation doesn't make it a "ballot question committee". The only "ballot question committee" involved in this dispute is the recipient "Vote Yes on 6 Committee" headquarterd in SF. The only real question in this story is if the name of the donor(s), who actually gave the money to the corporation for the sole purpose of giving it to Yes on 6 ,has to be disclosed.
Anonymous said…
6:17 Take a look at the SOS website and all the late filings from this and past election cycles. I'm guessing you will find late filing in excess of 100 if not more.

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