IM 22 supporter claims taxpayer funded campaign measure will “make it right.” Courtesy of measure’s out-of-state funding.

Well, that’s one way to put it. 

Initiated Measure 22 supporters have an op/Ed piece in the Rapid City Journal this weekend by Don Frankenfeld, who ran for Congress as a Republican in 1986 and 1990. Don tries to convince us somehow that by supporting the measure, we will take mysterious big donors out of the process.

(But of course, that money will be replaced with taxpayer dollars which would otherwise go to schools, roads, and social service programs.)

IM-22 puts tough new transparency rules on government, lobbyists and politicians. Of course, mega-donors would prefer to keep things the way they are.

And IM-22 introduces a new campaign finance system that enables regular South Dakotans to run for office without being indebted to large donors who may think they are buying influence. Who can be opposed to that? Answer: the large donors themselves and the politicians who are addicted to their succor.

For four decades, I’ve watched our political system decline, so that serving in public office is no longer seen as respectable. That reduces the incentive for well-qualified candidates to run. IM-22 offers a chance to make things right.

Read that here.

One significant problem about Don’s very weak thesis is as he raises the specter of the big out-of-state special interest boogeyman as a reason to pass this measure, you have to look at who was paying for this measure to be put on the ballot in the first place. Big, out of state special interests:

Wait? Is that a big goose-egg in the donations coming in as contributions from individuals? Nothing from Slick Rick, nothing from Don Frankenfeld or Dave Volk, who has joined Weiland in this crusade. Not even $1 in unitemized contributions.

Zero. Zip. Zilch. NOTHING.

Which begs the question, who is promoting the measure?


ALL OF THE MONEY FOR “South Dakotans for Ethics Reform” comes from an organization called “Represent Us” out of Florence, Massachusetts. Massachussetts. Not South Dakota.

So, we have no South Dakota donors backing this measure, but an out of state organization is putting in $228,250 for it to be passed? Who are these guys?

Read that here.

At the onset, Don’s group promoting this measure was solely funded by an out of state special interest group pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into South Dakota to convince us that our system is broken and we need taxpayer funded campaigns to make it all better. 

Perhaps he should look at his own organization to start ferreting out those special interest donors.

The other error in his logic? That whole taypayer funded campaign thing, which comprises 3/4 of the ballot measure. Trust me, I’ve read it. 3/4 of the measure has nothing to do with anything other than setting up a bureaucracy to funnel taxpayer dollars to politicians.

When Don claims “IM-22 offers a chance to make things right.” Aside from checking to see if you threw up in your mouth a little, the next action is to ask “Is he kidding?” As an economist, of all things, Don is actually trying to convince us that moving the financing of campaigns from the private sector to the public sector will magically make everything ok? Because everything is better when government pays for it?

What school of economics teaches that moving the means from the private sector to the public sector improves its overall effectiveness? 

Initiated Measure 22 fails the smell test on many levels. But you hardly need to move past the portion of it providing taxpayer funded welfare for politicians to flatly put it in the rejection pile. 

And it’s just a shame for people to otherwise sully their good name when, after using out of state dollars from special interest groups, they try to convince us that “IM-22 offers a chance to make things right” by stopping out of state dollars from special interest groups. 

D3 Senate Candidate Heidelberger claims he’s moderate liberal, despite extremist views.

I had a great laugh this morning when over at South Dakota’s Liberal blog, District 3 State Senate Candidate Cory Heidelberger is trying to tell voters that he’s not an “extreme liberal,” he just might be to the right of being a moderate liberal, because after his guy Bernie Sanders lost, he’s willing to support Hillary.

I think most of us here would beg to differ.  I’ve heard rumors that there are some Democrats in the legislature who are quietly praying that he lose, lest he be tied around their neck like an anchor with his ultra-liberal agenda, making it impossible for any of them to get elected.  And, I can’t say I’d blame them at all.

Now, in the aforementioned link, Cory invites others to challenge his position as he tried to convince people he’s center left.  But as easily proven by looking at his positions, most South Dakotans would recognize that he’s arguably the most far left example of an extreme liberal that South Dakotans will have on the ballot in November.

Let me ask you, dear readers, where would you draw the line on whether Cory is an extreme liberal or not?

I could go on (and on, and on), but you get the point. Between bizarre ideas and taxes upon taxes until we cannot be taxed anymore, I’d argue that District 3 Democrat State Senate Candidate is literally the most extreme liberal candidate running for office in South Dakota this year, if not ever.

Your thoughts?

 

Jay Williams giving up on US Senate, and running for Facebook views, instead.

Remember when a candidate or two “mysteriously” bought facebook likes, as if it would somehow propel them over the top in the US Senate race?

Dr. Annette Bosworth’s U.S. Senate campaign today announced it has more than doubled the number of Facebook “Likes” of former two-­‐term governor Mike Rounds.

“It’s awesome,” says Bosworth. “What we are seeing is real grassroots support for our message. This is about motivating South Dakotans to stand with us against big government. We’re inspiring the people, and they’re inspiring us to work even harder.”

Read that here.

And more recently, when a state legislator testified in committee that facebook views and likes were an indicator of broad based support?  These were all Republicans pushing support, agreement and consent by decision of Mark Zuckerberg’s social media platform.   They were all very deservedly mocked.

Yet somehow, fools and bad candidates still think Facebook views mean something in the big scheme of elections:

Last week on social media, a woman with a long history in South Dakota Democratic politics urged her friends to support Jay Williams on Nov. 8. He’d be a great member of the Public Utilities Commission, she said after reading about his position on the Dakota Access Pipeline.

There’s just one problem with that: Williams is running for the Senate.

and…

Williams said he wants voters to “take a hard look at me.” To do so, he needs free media and “the great equalizer” — the internet. He said some of his Facebook posts have had 100,000 views.

Read it here.

He said some of his Facebook posts have had 100,000 views.”  Good luck Jay, with your efforts to rule Facebook. Too bad for you that’s not the race you should be paying attention to.

US Senator John Thune’s Weekly Column: Home

thuneheadernew John_Thune,_official_portrait,_111th_CongressHome
By Sen. John Thune 

Every mile I travel in South Dakota is another reminder that I’m lucky to call this great state home and even luckier to have the opportunity to represent the hard-working people that help make South Dakota the best place to live, work, and raise a family. It doesn’t matter what season it is – winter, spring … basketball, pheasant hunting – spending time in South Dakota is the only way to recharge and the only place to get that special dose of reality that gets me through the inside-the-beltway craziness in Washington.

While I’m home nearly every weekend, I really enjoy taking full advantage of the longer state work periods that give me the chance to spend more time with my family and connect with folks across the state to hear firsthand about what matters to their families. And that’s exactly how I’ve spent the last few weeks.

There’s an old Johnny Cash song, “I’ve Been Everywhere,” which seems like the perfect way to summarize my summer. Unlike The Man in Black, I wasn’t in Reno, Chicago, or Fargo, but I did spend time in Rapid City, Pine Ridge, Eagle Butte, Britton, Selby, Madison, Aberdeen, and Parker – just to name a few. Parades, Rotary Club meetings, local businesses, you name it. Time on the road in South Dakota is time well spent, and as always, I learned a lot along the way. 

I toured the aquatic center in Mobridge, the clinic in Onida, Midwest Railcar Repair in Brandon, and the events center in De Smet. I met with tribal council members in Eagle Butte, members of the law enforcement community in Pierre, officials from the Indian Health Service in Pine Ridge, and the good folks at Avera St. Benedict in Parkston. I attended Rotary Club meetings in Gettysburg, Brookings, and Scotland, and I presented long-overdue medals to veterans and their families in Rapid City and Sioux Falls. 

And of course, summer wouldn’t be summer without a stop or two at the fair. I had a great time catching up with folks in Brown County and Turner County. The Sioux Empire Fair is always a favorite stop of mine, and I wouldn’t miss Dakotafest in Mitchell or Riverboat Days in Yankton either.

It’s been a great few weeks, and I have the hundreds of people across the state who took the time to say hello to thank for it. All of the travel, tours, and meetings are meaningless without the important feedback I receive from farmers, ranchers, small business owners, hard-working moms and dads, and everyone else across South Dakota, young or old. It’s because of their strong commitment to our state and its residents that I’m always proud to call South Dakota home. 

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Senator Rounds’ Weekly Column: Protecting South Dakotans From Zika

Rounds Logo 2016 MikeRounds official SenateProtecting South Dakotans From Zika
By Senator Mike Rounds

Many of us spend extra time outdoors during the summer months – working in the field, making improvements to our homes or enjoying the many recreational activities our state has to offer. While we enjoy this extra time outside, we also take extra precautions to protect ourselves and our families from mosquitos, whose bites can come with unwanted harm. The most recent mosquito-borne threat to our health is the Zika virus.

The Zika virus is spread when an individual is bitten by an infected species of mosquito. These mosquitos are found primarily in South America, Central America and the Caribbean, but have recently been found in Florida and can also be found in other isolated places throughout the world. While most individuals who become infected with Zika experience mild symptoms or none at all, the virus can be dangerous to women of child-bearing age. This is because unborn babies whose mothers are infected with the Zika virus can experience severe birth defects. There is currently no cure for Zika, and more research is necessary to combat the virus.

Earlier this summer, the House and Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation to prevent and combat the Zika virus. In mid-July, the House passed the funding measure as a conference report, but when it came before the Senate, Democrats in the Senate decided against supporting the conference report. Their reasoning appears to be that they wanted specific additional funding for Planned Parenthood. However, as the Wall Street Journal pointed out, this argument is unfounded: “Planned Parenthood simply isn’t on the specific list of public health clinics and community health centers that will receive additional and immediate social-services block-grant funding in Zika-hit locales.” In other words, they wanted special treatment for Planned Parenthood, even though Planned Parenthood could still qualify for funding as a Medicaid provider under the bill.

It should be made very clear that Republicans have supported not only the Senate version of the bill, but also voted twice to adopt the conference committee report that provides more than $1.1 billion to fight the Zika virus. The director of the Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases recently said that Gulf States are increasingly at risk for a serious Zika outbreak. It is clear that the virus will continue to pose a threat until we authorize funds to control the mosquito population and work to develop a vaccine or cure for it. Under the Senate rules, 60 votes are needed to bring legislation up for final passage, and since the conference report is not amendable, the Senate and House both have to agree to accept or reject the compromise proposal between the two chambers. This requires both Republican and Democrat support in order to make sure this funding measure moves forward. 

When Congress reconvenes in Washington, D.C., in September, Democrats will have an opportunity once again to put aside their election-year theatrics and support funding to combat Zika. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has indicated it will be one of the first votes to come up. In the meantime, pregnant women, or women who are trying to become pregnant, are advised to stay away from countries where Zika is prevalent and contact your doctor immediately if you are experiencing symptoms. For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/zika. 

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Congresswoman Noem’s Weekly Column: Training for the Race Called Life

noem press header kristi noem headshot May 21 2014Training for the Race Called Life
By Rep. Kristi Noem

I can’t believe the kids are headed back to school already.  Our daughter Kennedy started her sophomore year of college at SDSU and Booker has begun his freshman year of high school, which is hard for this mom to believe.  As most parents know, it’s bittersweet to watch them grow up.  Bryon and I are so proud of the independent young people they’ve become, but it’s still hard to watch them let go.

Olympic medalist Deena Kastor said about marathon running: “If you’ve got the training under your belt … the races take care of themselves.”  That’s how I have always viewed both parenting and education.  Both are about training for the race called life. 

Late last year for the first time since No Child Left Behind was enacted in 2007, Congress passed into law a bipartisan overhaul of our national education policies.  On top of having implementation problems from the start – especially in rural areas – No Child Left Behind had grown outdated.  The training provided to our nation’s elementary and high school students simply wasn’t preparing them for the race to come.

The new legislation takes a different approach, however.  Rather than staking a larger role for the federal government, the new law minimizes Washington’s influence in classrooms and returns more control to parents and local school districts. 

For instance, the new law streamlines a massive and confusing network of federal programs, eliminating or consolidating 49 ineffective, duplicative, and unnecessary programs.  Doing so makes the programs simpler to use, while also giving states and local school districts more flexibility to efficiently and effectively improve student learning.

Moreover, we fought to equip parents and taxpayers with the information needed to hold their schools accountable.  This will help ensure that every dollar spent makes a direct and lasting impact for students.

Perhaps most notably, the new law strictly and explicitly prohibits the federal government from coercing states into adopting Common Core. 

It does this by prohibiting federal employees from incentivizing or in any way forcing states to adopt Common Core.  They also can no longer interfere with a state’s standards or assessments.  Moreover, the policies and programs federal officials have used to pressure states into adopting Common Core will now be rejected.  And any new regulatory burdens on states or school districts to comply with standards, assessments, or state accountability plans are prohibited.  To put it simply: those closest to our kids will now – without question – be the ones deciding curriculum and assessments.

We don’t need federal bureaucrats pulling the strings when it comes to educating young people.  I am incredibly grateful to the many South Dakota teachers and school administrators who put our students first each and every day.  They – along with parents and states – should be empowered to make choices about student success in the classroom.  That’s what this new education policy aims to do and I’m confident it will help ensure our students receive the training, if you will, needed for the race called life.

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Governor Daugaard’s Weekly Column: The Great South Dakota Get-Together

daugaardheader daugaard2The Great South Dakota Get-Together
A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard:

Summer activities and vacations are coming to an end and practices for school-related events have begun. But there’s one final gathering to attend before summer is truly over – the South Dakota State Fair, which runs from Sept. 1 to Sept. 5 in Huron.

This is the 131st year of the great South Dakota get-together and this year’s theme is “Thrills, Squeals and Ferris Wheels.” Attendance, revenue and camper numbers all showed increases last year. With this year’s fair providing an excellent mix of new events and fair favorites, we hope to see increases again this year.

My sister and I were 4-H members growing up and we always were hopeful of exhibiting at the State Fair. My sister showed a dairy cow that earned her a purple ribbon. One year, I gave a demonstration on how to run an audio cassette tape player, which was considered new technology at the time. Members of 4-H still participate in the dairy show, demonstrations and many other project areas during the fair.

Some new activities at the South Dakota State Fair this year are cheese sculpting, a ranch rodeo, team penning, the Dole Canned Fruit Dessert Baking Competition and a ‘Fair’Cycled Art Competition.

A public Dedication Celebration Ceremony for the new Nordby Exhibit Hall for 4-H, Youth & Community will be held Sunday, Sept. 4, at 4 p.m. Thanks to a very generous contribution from the late Earl Nordby together with support from many other individuals, businesses and organizations, this facility replaces the old Clover Hall building and will be in use by 4-H members during the fair.

The State Fair is part of the South Dakota Department of Agriculture, but other state agencies participate in the fair as well. As you walk about the grounds and through the buildings, you will see Game, Fish and Parks, Tourism, Health and others. The Department of Public Safety is holding “Drive Safe SD Day” Sunday, Sept. 4, in the Day Sponsor Tent where fairgoers can play games, register for prizes, watch Highway Patrol police dog demonstrations and learn more about the department’s agencies.

Another exhibitor is Driver Licensing and from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday in the Day Sponsor Tent, you will even have an opportunity to renew your driver’s license. Bring in two documents showing proof of physical address (such as vehicle registration and vehicle insurance) plus the actual driver license you want to renew. Staff will be there to help you.

Again this year, there will of course be tasty fair food, carnival rides, games and unique activities. Enjoy bull riding or one of the concerts in the grandstand each evening. No matter your interest, you’re bound to have a good time.

For more information on State Fair events, contact the Fair office at 800-529-0900, visit sdstatefair.com or find them on Facebook or Twitter.

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Center for Competitive Politics: IM22 is bad law, and full of unintended consequences. Check it out for yourself!

The Center for Competitive Politics, which devotes it’s efforts to preserving free speech, has taken a hard look at Slick Rick Weiland’s measure to fund political campaigns from taxpayer funds – Initiated Measure 22 – and has found it wanting in several areas they describe in a report they recently issued which points out more flaws than have been identified to date.

Initiated Measure 22, if approved by voters, would have a number of impacts on South Dakota political campaigns, speech on matters of public concern, and even purely commercial speech that incidentally mentions candidates for state office. These changes may be great and small, some may be unexpected, and some may not be as the measure’s proponents have described them. Some of the unexpected changes may be a function of drafting errors or omissions in the measure’s language, while others may be deliberate.

  • Groups and even individuals that speak during certain pre- and post-election time windows about issues of public concern that incidentally mention elected state officials may be required to include disclaimers and file reports with the state if they spend as little as $100 on such speech. For organizations such as agricultural cooperatives and associations, advocacy and other nonprofit groups, trade associations, and labor unions, those disclaimers and reports would have to publicly report certain dues-paying members and donors to the government.

  • These disclaimer and reporting requirements also would apply to purely commercial speech that refers to candidates.

  • These complex and significant government reporting burdens may not be sufficiently related to any legitimate governmental interest to survive a constitutional challenge in litigation. This could result in substantial legal fee payments by the state to successful plaintiffs under federal civil rights laws.

  • Apparent drafting errors or omissions may lead to unexpected (but possibly also deliberate) consequences, such as:

    •  Severe limitations on the ability of candidates’ campaign committees, party committees, and PACs to sell or rent their contact lists to groups for whom those lists are important for reaching out to like-minded South Dakotans. The ability to sell off assets to retire campaign debts or to conserve party or PAC resources also would be impacted.

    •  PAC communications and solicitations would be required to include disclaimer language about authorization by and coordination with candidates, even if the communications and solicitations do not discuss or are totally unrelated to candidates.

    •  A $100 limit on the value of gifts that lobbyists and lobbyist employers may provide to state officials and staff that is easily evaded by simply making gifts to more than one official or staff.

Read that here.

So, in addition to the payola for politicians at taxpayer expense, it may cut off one of the State Democrat Party’s few sources of revenue – selling their lists? That’s funny.   Even funnier – it sounds as if the measure passed, it would also prevent candidates from selling off old office equipment, furniture, and other assets.

But don’t take my word for it – read the entire document yourself, and catch the multitude of sins & flaws they’ve identified with initiated measure 22.

2016 08 23 Wang Analysis SD IM 22 South Dakota Governmen Accountability and Anti Corruption Act

Time for a little personal history research before the campaign push starts.

Between ‘work work’ and ‘campaign sign work’ this week, instead of putting my extra time into blogging, I indulged myself and put some overdue time into my family genealogy. I’m glad I did, as I uncovered some great stories and had some great breakthroughs.

My best moments were some discoveries on the Powers side of the family, where after reaching out to the Reddit genealogy board, they helped me break through the “Irish wall of minimal records,” and locate church records in Ireland I’d been seeking, and established the family name of my great-great grandmother who came over from Ireland, as well as who her relatives were.

Coincidentally today, I received the latest issue of the New England Historic Genealogical Society magazine with a big cover feature of “Researching Irish Ancestors.” That helped me find obituaries for both my great-great grandmother and my great-great grandfather – the first of my branch of the Nicholas_and_HonoraPowers family in the country.

Nicholas Powers came over and worked in the paper mills of Boston, and his wife Honora was an illiterate Irish domestic (referred to as Bridgets by the Boston upper class.). And I was able to obtain more documentation that they existed, lived and died around Boston. And coming up next year in Boston, I’ll have a chance to find their final resting place.

On the my mom’s side of the family, I found a line of ancestry that got more and more interesting as I went, tracing through the crusades, English kings, to Charlemagne of the Holy Roman Empire, and all the way to when Christ walked the  earth. Which a person has to take with a big dose of salt, because it’s not like they filed a lot of civil documents back then.

My favorite discoveries have to be tracing my lineage to a medieval Saint who as one of the great mysteries attributed to him was the miraculous filling of a tankard of beer from nothing while travelling, which provided sustenance to a thirsty group of men. Kind of like the sermon on the mount. Except for Spring Break.

And there’s also another guy…  Sir Francis Bryan, who during his time was named Lord Chief Justice of Ireland. There was also a nickname that he’d picked up along the way. The Vicar of Hell.  According to Wikipedia’s biography of this confidant of Henry VIII (yes, that Henry the 8th):

Bryan was a distinguished diplomat, soldier, sailor, cipher, man of letters, and poet. However, he had a lifelong reputation as a rake and a libertine, and was a rumoured accomplice in the king’s extramarital affairs. He was a trimmer, changing his views to suit Henry’s current policy, but was also one of the few men who dared speak his mind to the king.

Read that here.

Apparently some time shortly after Sir Francis Bryan, my 12th Great Grandfather, was named Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, he died. It’s rumored that his wife, Lady Joan Fitzgerald (my 12th great grandmother) poisoned him so she could marry her cousin.  But that’s royalty for you. I think I’d rather hang out with the bottomless-tankard saint.

The whole tracing your lineage back to royalty might seem like heady stuff. Until you start running the numbers. As illustrated by tracing my lineage to Charlemagne, as one article says, if you have European in your background, if you hit the right relative, you probably can trace it all the way back as well :

Not only do all Europeans share Charlemagne as an ancestor, they share everyone alive at the same time as Charlemagne as an ancestor. Everyone who had kids, anyway.

And..

Next time someone in your neck of the ethnic woods points out a famous relative or claims blue-blood descent, remind them that they aren’t so special. All street-sweepers are royalty, all nobles are peasants, and we are all Kings and Queens.

Read that here.

So, go enjoy your weekend, and be the kings and queens that you know you are. Someone is in your lineage certainly was!

Sex Trafficking Operation Results in Arrests

jackley-logo Marty JackleySex Trafficking Operation Results in Arrests

PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Marty Jackley, United States Attorney Randolph J. Seiler, Rapid City Police Chief Karl Jegeris, and Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom announce that the Division of Criminal Investigation, the South Dakota Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, and Homeland Security Investigations have conducted investigations into sex trafficking in Rapid City.

“It is important that we protect our children with law enforcement operations that focus on removing sexual predators from our streets. Our operations continue to protect children and send a message that South Dakota is off-limits to anyone seeking to harm our children,” said Jackley.

“Despite the intense publicity and focus on human trafficking these past few years, these undercover operations serve as a somber reminder that some people will throw caution to the wind and succumb to their perverted instincts,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Seiler. “I’m proud of the joint collaboration displayed by law enforcement and our united efforts to bring sex traffickers to justice.”

The investigation resulted in the following felony arrests for sex crimes:

Marshall Brown, 26, Ellsworth AFB, SD, Attempted Enticement of a Minor Using the Internet (18 USC 2422(b)) and Attempted Transfer of Obscene Material to a Minor (18 USC 1470)

Duane Hosek, 61, Rapid City, SD, Attempted Enticement of a Minor Using the Internet (18 USC 2422(b)) and Attempted Transfer of Obscene Material to a Minor (18 USC 1470)

Ryan Kammerer, 26, Box Elder, SD, Attempted Enticement of a Minor Using the Internet (18 USC 2422(b))

Brendan Leiter, 24, Elkhart, IN, Attempted Enticement of a Minor Using the Internet (18 USC 2422(b))

Noah Schottenstein, 27, Rapid City, SD, Attempted Enticement of a Minor Using the Internet (18 USC 2422(b))

Andries Snyman, 42, Isabel, SD, Attempted Enticement of a Minor Using the Internet (18 USC 2422(b))

Cody Two Lance, 33, Rapid City, SD, Attempted Enticement of a Minor Using the Internet (18 USC 2422(b)) and Attempted Transfer of Obscene Material to a Minor (18 USC 1470)

Joel Zupnik, 51, Ft. Collins, CO, Attempted Enticement of a Minor Using the Internet (18 USC 2422(b))
The mandatory minimum penalty upon conviction for Attempted Enticement of a Minor Using the Internet is 10 years in prison, up to life. Hosek, Two Lance, and Brown, could face an additional 10 years in prison if convicted of the Attempted Transfer of Obscene Material to a Minor.

All these individuals are presumed innocent until such time as proven guilty.

The Attorney General’s Office would like to extend its appreciation to the Rapid City Police Department, Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, Sturgis Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations for their efforts and continued cooperation.