Dale Hargens seems to have a slight case of Pot/Kettle blackness.

Dale Hargens is in the Argus today noting that he wants to sanction Roger Hunt for not filing campaign finance forms he believes should be filed (despite the law's ambiguity). Of course, Roger claims that he's within the law because of loopholes in it:


The Democratic leader in the South Dakota House says lawmakers should discuss whether state Rep. Roger Hunt should be reprimanded.

At issue: Hunt, a Brandon Republican, failed to identify the person who gave $750,00 to a corporation that contributed it to the unsuccessful abortion ban.

House leader Dale Hargens of Miller said earlier this week he intended to challenge whether Hunt should be able to serve as a state representative next session.

On Friday, though, he said he doesn't think he can do that legally."It looks like here's no way I can stop him from being seated," Hargens said. "But at the very least, he ought to be censured in some way for the campaign report."

Hargens said he is investigating ways to introduce the issue.

Hunt, who is a lawyer, has said he thinks he has met the requirements of the campaign finance laws. He said he thinks he has filed more information than
required.


Read it all here. Good for Dale for standing up for what he believes is right. Seeking justice for a wrong (whether it exists or not) is an admirable trait. I hope he goes after all improper filers.

As for his next target in righting wrongs? He'd better look in the mirror for his next target for censure.

What? This expert on campaign finance reporting fudged something himself? No! Say it ain't so, Joe. (Or Dale). Yes, if improper campaign filing was skunk scent, then people wouldn't hang around Dale either.

At issue is the campaign filing required of all candidates for the legislature, due within 15 days of filing petitions - The Statement of Financial Interest.

If you do a search on the Secretary of State's website, Dale just filed his. Except, that form wasn't due in December. According to SDCL 12-25-28 it was due 15 days from when he filed his petitions. I'll go verify this for sure, but at the latest, it was due about the end of April.

But here it is, showing up in December. Bad Dale. Bad, bad Dale. What were you trying to hide?

What do I see as the best part? The violation of this law is actually codified as a crime:

12-25-28. Statements of financial interest by candidates for state or federal office subject to primary--Violation as petty offense--Intentional violation as misdemeanor. All candidates for the United States Senate, the United States House of Representatives, Governor, circuit court judge, and the State Legislature shall file a statement of financial interest with the secretary of state within fifteen days after filing nominating petitions. A Supreme Court justice shall file a statement of financial interest with the secretary of state within fifteen days of notifying the secretary of state of his intention to place his name on the retention ballot. A violation of this section is a petty offense. An intentional violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

So, since Dale clearly exhibits a superior knowledge of the State's campaign finance laws, this filing made about 7 months late - preventing anyone from determining a conflict of interest before the election - couldn't be construed as anything other than intentional, making it a class 2 misdemeanor.

So when the legislature is lining up people to consider not seating them because of campaign finance violations, I hope Dale walks to the head of the line to take his medicine.

He is the moral authority in this matter, you know.

Comments

Anonymous said…
There is a clear difference between filing a financial interest form late (something only 6 people in South Dakota even know or care about) and refusing to file a report on a $750K contribution to the biggest initiated measure in the country. Trying to equate the 2 of them is such a stretch as to be ridiculous. I enjoy your blog, PP, and have come to accept that sometimes you let your partisanship get in the way of your judgment but this is something I would expect to read on sibby’s site, not your’s.
Nicholas Nemec said…
Yea, he should have filed on time. But there isn't exactly earth shattering information on this report. Let's recap Hargens is a farmer, his wife's name is Susan and she works for the local rural water system.

Roger Hunt formed a shell corporation in an effort to hide the true source of a $750,000 donation. Which do you think is a more serious matter?
Anonymous said…
PP,

You are so sad. So sad. How many other legislative candidates didn't file on time. I bet many on both sides. To try and equate these two issues are very pathetic. Why can't you fess up and just say what Hunt did is wrong and certainly not within the spirit of the law.
PP said…
A few points in response.

Roger Hunt possibly - and it's under dispute - violated the spirit of the law. He used a loophole that might be entirely legal.

But Dale violated the letter of the law.

And now he's trying to claim the moral high ground on the issue.

Sorry, but he'd better have his own house in order before he casts stones.
Anonymous said…
Dale Hargens refused to file on time. It's a clear violation of the law.

The only question is will he do the right thing and refuse to be seated by the legislature?

As for the relativists amongsts us today, there is a difference between Hunt and Hargens: Hargens has clearly violated the law. Like speeding, you either went above the limit or you didn't. There is no legally cognizable defense.

Hunt, contends he used a loophole, and the AG disagrees. The difference is the existence of the loophole.

So what say the defenders of Hargens?
Nicholas Nemec said…
1:59 I said he should have filed on time but didn't. If you feel compelled to charge him with a misdemeanor do so. However he eventually filed, the information in his late report is common knowledge, and exactly the same as on any similar report he filed in previous years.

Roger Hunt formed a shell corporation for the sole purpose of hiding the name of the fatcat donor that gave $750,000 in an attempt to influence the outcome of an election.

Which do you think is a greater threat to open and honest government?
Anonymous said…
this is really trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill.How many other legislators haven't even filed yet? Hunt is protecting big money people and is in violation of the law. Hargens is straight forward and honest.
a_big_liberal said…
PP, are you seriously trying to compare Hargens' filing (which he did, albeit late) to Hunt's intentional coverup (legal or not) of $750,000?

If Hargens filing wasn't 100% in order, maybe he wasn't the best messenger for the Hunt crusade, but that doesn't mean that Hunt and Hargens are in the same boat.
Anonymous said…
Most are missing the boat! There is the law so the issue is black and white. I have a feeling that PP was just checking to see if Hargens had filed "all" forms on time. THus the answer if NO he did not. It is all Black and white. I feel PP is comparing actions on the meat of each filing. But, then this is just mho.
Bryce Healy said…
Pat,

I think you have drank too much of the Kool-Aid. Try to go back to your posts of a year ago. I will be reading, lots of time on my hands.
nonnie said…
So Hunt formed a corp to take advantage of a loophole. Wow!

Seems Stan the Man is throwing money willy-nilly into PAC's, which are just a way to hide campaign contributions, in order to "buy" elections. Seems the Minn Dems with the cooperation of some SD PAC's last time transferred money around and around and around and back during last election cycle. Where's the outrage over this?

Do away with PAC's, maybe raise the limit of individual contributions, publish those contributions on the net for everyone to see with updates weekly, shorten the campaign season and thus the money required to win, maybe limit the number of expensive TV ads, and just maybe we can get a little of the money out of politics and make it possible for more people to run.

And if someone doesn't obey each of the simple campaign laws, then fine them heavily or toss them out of a race. Simple. AFter a few are tossed out, the rest will shape up.
Anonymous said…
PU, it was late, BFD. What exactly was "fugded", as you claim? Since when does late = an "intentional" violation for purposes of the statute? Did you speak to Hargens to determine intent? Clearly not. Lawsuits have been filed on less. Ask Epp at your next pajama party. Your a real bloodhound on filings, too bad you don't work the right side of the forest sometimes. And please quite whinning about Adelstein donating where he sees fit. The forces in your own party drove him to the center.
VJ said…
Well, I don't care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican. What I don't like is some politicians or Party digging every regulation or law apart looking for that special loophole that they can take advantage of. Then strutting around with their chest puffed out because they (or the Party) got away with it and daring the A.G. to find something wrong or do something about it! Some politicians violate the spirit of the law and are smug and almost proud that they did because, after all, that’s politics you know!

I tell you, honestly, there is a whole lot of us getting tired of that part of politics. No kidding, a lot of the general voters in South Dakota are just really getting sick of “politics as normal” for both Democrats and Republicans. But of course both sides do it, so that’s makes it OK doesn’t it? After all, we can’ let one Party get “one up” on us, so we better do the same so that someone doesn’t have an unfair advantage.

I don’t care if your Roger Hunt, Dale Hargens or Stan the Man. Times are a changing! With the Internet’s instant access to information and with this information staying in front of your face for a lifetime, your just no longer going to do something with the understanding that the voters will forget about it in a few months or by the next election.

You know, just do your job and quit trying to figure out how you can work your way around something you don’t like. Its just not something to be really proud of you know!

I just don’t think a lot of voters approve of that type of behavior. And with the Internet, there will always be someone (like pp or fleming) that makes sure we NEVER forget what you did.

We elected every one of you to represent us and to be our leaders. Please, do that with respect and honor will you! Or at least try to work at that a little bit will you?

And of course everyone laughs, because that’s NOT politics you know!

Some of them are prime examples as to why South Dakota needs to put more money in education!
Anonymous said…
So charge Hargens with a crime, if that's what it will take to get Roger Hunt to talk, so be it.

What Hunt did was hypocritical (even if he didn't break any laws). The name of the donor should have been released BEFORE the election. But we all know 'honesty' wasn't their campaign strategy, and that's why they lost.

Detroit
Anonymous said…
The common thread with all of this, Sutton, Hargens, Hunt, video lottery opponents, the rest of the late campaign filers - is that we have an AG who won't do anything about any of it. Long won't enforce any of the laws.

With Sutton, Long won't even say whether or not any laws were broken 10 months after he started investigating. He can put the cold case unit on Sutton pretty soon. Wait, the cold case unit hasn't solved anything either.

Hasn't Long been studying open government since he was first elected 4 years ago? The only thing he's discovered after 4 years is that he needs a commission to further study open government.

Long is the epitome of a do-nothing officeholder.
Anonymous said…
On January 9th (start of the 2007 legislature) let's have a list of all the late campaign filers from both the 2004 and 2006 election cycles PP. Then we can have a real discussion, and share our righteous indignation. Are they all Democrats?
Anonymous said…
What about this trail as detailed by SDWC earlier?
1. Start with Forward SD (anti video lottery);
2. A big contributor to them listed as SD Ass’n, a PAC with same address as Midwest Coalition for progress (an anti DME group).
3. Which was funding Vision for Progress;
4. Which was funding South Dakotans for Open and Honest Government and Billion.

And I doubt any names on this, at least if memory serves me right the Forward South Dakota group wasn't naming any contributors?

What's the difference?

Get rid of PAC's! All they allow is for money to "laundered" in election campaigns with no one held accountable many times.

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