That's what I said... Everyone else is jumping on the campaign finance reform bandwagon

I seem to recall that I've been bitching about this kind of stuff almost since I've started this website. The Argus has a story today about South Dakota's nearly non-existent campaign finance laws, where Garry Moore intentiionally failed to file to see what would happen.

Well, nothing of course. All he would have to say is "I forgot" and then get the filing in:
Democratic Sen. Garry Moore, who won a state House seat in the Nov. 7 election, broke a campaign finance law last summer.

He admits it. He says he did it on purpose - and with a purpose.

Moore, who was term-limited in the state Senate after rising to be a leader of his party's caucus, entered the House race in his district. He won a primary but didn't file a campaign-finance report required by law to be in Secretary of State Chris Nelson's office by July 3. That's a misdemeanor, according to Nelson.

"I wanted to see what would happen,'' Moore said. "They never enforce that filing law. There are people from two years ago who haven't filed yet. I did it on purpose.''

Moore, who also won in the general election last week, was among 32 primary candidates who missed that filing deadline, records from Nelson's office show. He seems to be the only one who did it to prove a point about lax enforcement.

"They did nothing,'' said Moore, who filed early in August, about five weeks late. "I got a letter from Chris Nelson, and then one from the attorney general, but that's it.''

The incident is timely because Nelson is in the process of writing a bill for the 2007 Legislature to change some of the state's campaign disclosure laws. If his bill passes, Moore and other late filers would pay a fine for being late with campaign paperwork.

"We're looking at some amount of money for each day a report is late,'' Nelson said.

The move comes in the wake of an election season that exposed what some call major flaws in South Dakota's campaign finance laws - specifically, anonymous donations to the campaigns.

Read it all here.

In the article Garry talks about how he wanted to make the action a felony, which is silliness in the other direction. I think in this case, baby steps are important. Institute better reporting, update the campaign finance guidelines (such as some limits on pacs, and higher personal donations) , and institute fines on offenders who go past certain dates.

I don't think we want to set up an entire bureaucracy to manage campaign finance report enforcements as much as compel candidates and committees to disclose, and follow some rules.


Anonymous said…
So it's time to prosecute Garry Moore. He's admitted he violated the law intentionally.

Moore wants the law to be a felony. Then at the very least he should get the maximum penalty for a class 2 misdemeanor of 30 days jail and $500 fine. That's as close to a felony as we can get under the current law.

If he pleads now he can be done with jail before his House term starts. (But it'll probably still take AG Larry Long 9 months to investigate even with a confession.)
VJ said…
Yes, the arrogance of being a politician. Unless you fine them, the politicians are going to ignore the rules. Yes, political accountability at it’s best! lol

Yes, I agree. We better take baby steps in getting politicians to understand the date that the paper work has to be turned in. “baby steps”, now that says a lot doesn’t it! lol

Better yet, just let it go and let them play their silly game of “I don’t have to meet the campaign finance guidelines if I don’t want to”. The joy of “political power”!

Heck, just let it go. After all, most of them have so little power that they can’t even get a free cup of coffee down at the local cafĂ©! lol

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