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

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

  1. Anonymous

    22 is a bad measure…the more one learns about it; the worse it is….we need to educate people about this horrible measure.

    VOTE NO on 22!

    1. Chad Krier

      Anyone who is interested in helping with the Defeat 22 Campaign by making telephone calls, walking neighborhoods, and/or attending our events should call me at (605) 370-2778. My volunteers and I are spreading the word about IM22, but we need all of the help that we can get.

  2. Fred Deutsch

    This is an important read. One paragraph in particular that stood out to me was:

    The sheer length and complexity of Initiated Measure 22, which purports to regulate every South Dakotan’s core First Amendment rights, also poses ser
    ious constitutional questions. It took the author of this analysis, an attorney who specializes in the types of campaign finance and lobbying laws addressed in this Initiative, more than five hours to read and re-read the measure in order to
    understand its provisions.”

    One of the first thing you learn as a new legislator is to be careful about crafting language that might have unintended consequences — and even with purposeful effort to carefully craft language, unintended consequences still occur. This IM is so poorly drafted that I shutter to think about all the unintended side-effects. Like I said, this is a good read. The author lists a number of examples that could result from this measure that would not be friendly to the liberties South Dakotans enjoy.

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