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. 

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

  1. Anonymous

    Didn’t Frankenfeld support Pressler in the 2014 US Senate race? If so not much a Republican anymore…kind of like Pressler…

    NO on 22!

  2. Anonymous

    Don has always been a political gadfly. He usually takes these goofy positions so he can get on television. Otherwise nobody would know who he is and more importantly, care.

  3. Dave R

    Do these slogans like “Make it right” or “take it back” really influence people? Of do folks see through the propaganda?

  4. Porter Lansing

    Secret stuff is bad for all of us. Take this blog for example compared to the far-right, ultra-conservative blog from Mpls. run by a classmate of mine from way back. Dartmouth/Harvard educated John Hinderaker. His POWERLINE commenters have to sign in with their Facebook account, which lists their name as they post (however, some have created a Facebook account with a nom de guerre, if they didn’t have an account already.). Anonymous campaign donations and anonymous blog commenting leads to excessive exaggeration without authentication. People and corporations should be allowed to donate as much moolah as is legally allowed, but not anonymously.

    1. Charlie Hoffman

      Porter you had to write something I agree with nearly 100% making us a kindred spirit in certain ways. This blog would be much better if everyone had to certify who they were before publishing their rants, though “Caveman” long ago was a fun monicker to bash both sides with.

      I suppose if we stay active in politics long enough we will all become full circle in political ideology as both mainstream parties evolve continuously. Those who don’t will be left standing alone. Don has his reasons I’m sure and is a smart guy.

  5. Norbe Barrie

    My Brother who lives in Oregon said that Oregon tried similar legislation. Didnt work, even in Oregon. “Candidates” would file, take the money but didnt run.

  6. Porter Lansing

    Overall, Mr. Powers knows how to attract commenters to his blog, which sets the ad rates, which cut his overhead. If anonymous posting attracts more commenters, which attracts more readers then that’s the way it will be done.
    But, my point isn’t about finding out the name of an anonymous poster. That’s easy to do. There’s an app that you just put in three or four anonymous posts and it will compare them to not only other blog posts but anything the writer has written on the internet in the past, where they’ve used their name. The app will analyze words you use and your sentence structure, which is highly unique and it will tell you with an indisputable level of certainty who posted it, where they live, their phone number and other vitals. That information is irrelevant and of little value. The point is that when people post anonymously and corporations donate anonymously there’s a level of secrecy that leads to exaggeration and dishonesty.

    1. Mr. Neiloh

      Porter would you be open to the idea that George Will put forward awhile back, which is put no limits on how much money one can give to a candidate? For example if George Soros wanted to give say $250 million to Hillary, all the Hillary people would have to do is report that, like they usually do, on their donor report. It would do away with PACS. It is an interesting point……

      1. Porter Lansing

        Yes. That sounds proper. Money is free speech. But, when donations by corporations are disclosed to “we the people” both candidates usually get equal amounts because the donor doesn’t want to alienate any of their customers who may favor one candidate over another. One political party favors secrecy because the donors to that party demand it. If donations are secret they can cut their donations in half because their customers don’t know that they’re only giving to the side those customers may not favor and not giving to the side the customers prefer. That’s why the super rich campaign donors want it secret. So they can trade money for political favors without alienating their customers who like the candidate who won’t easily come across with the favors.

  7. Michael Wyland

    It will be interesting to see how much in-state financial support both sides of the IM 22 debate receive. provided the pro-IM 22 early money, and Americans for Prosperity established the defeat22 office and web site. Yes on 22 has filed a campaign finance report, as Pat has noted; defeat22 is new enough that it has not yet filed. See:

    Prairie Playground for Special Interests to Test Campaign Finance Initiative

      1. Michael Wyland

        Thanks! NPQ is a national publication, so I don’t get to write too many SD pieces for it. From a purely nonprofit perspective, the movement of money from 501(c)(3) public charities to 501(c)(4) social welfare groups for use in initiated measure campaigns (as Yes on 22 has done) is notable.

  8. Anonymous

    As has been the case with nearly all of the pieces coming from the Vote Yes on 22 side, Frankenfeld’s latest opinion letter is full of misrepresentations and even outright lies. For instance, he claimed, “South Dakota is the only state where it’s still legal for lobbyists to give politicians anything they want to earn influence.” There are laws in SD making it a crime to accept money or gifts in return for votes. Frankenfeld should be ashamed of himself for being so dishonest.

    On another note, anonymous speech is an important American tradition that dates back to the Founders, and it should be protected, wether it relates to money given to organizations that advocate for policies or things posted on Internet blogs. The First Amendment was designed to protect people from intimidation intended to suppress political speech.

  9. Michael Wyland

    Frankenfeld’s comment is presumably based on information on the pro-22 web site. That web site points to a page on the National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL) web site where legislator gift restrictions are listed by state. I referenced that page in my NPQ article, cited in an earlier comment.

    If there is a state statute limiting or prohibiting gifts, I’ve love to see a citation of it, preferably with a web link, so I can forward it to the NCSL webmaster.

    1. Fred Deutsch

      Michael, in response to your request dealing with gifts and other ethical considerations, South Dakota legislators are governed by the Constitution and the following laws (which today I forwarded to NCSL):

      South Dakota Constitution, Article 3, Section 8: Oath required of legislators and officers.

      Members of the Legislature and officers thereof, before they enter upon their official duties, shall take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation: I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I . . . have not knowingly or intentionally paid or contributed anything, or made any promise in the nature of a bribe, to directly or indirectly influence any vote at the election at which I was chosen to fill said office, and have not accepted, nor will I accept or receive directly or indirectly, any money, pass, or any other valuable thing, from any corporation, company or person, for any vote or influence I may give or withhold on any bill or resolution, or appropriation, or for any other official act.

      Codified Laws:
      22-12A-4. Bribery or unlawful influence of legislators–Felony. Any person who gives, or offers to give, a bribe to any member of the Legislature, or attempts, directly or indirectly, by menace, deceit, suppression of truth, or any other corrupt means, to influence a member to give or to withhold the member’s vote, or to not attend the legislative session, or any committee thereof, is guilty of a Class 4 felony.

      2-12-9. Improper influence of legislation or legislators as misdemeanor. It is a Class 1 misdemeanor to threaten, to harm, to offer or make bribes of money or other inducements, to offer or to give gifts or other types of consideration, to any person for the purpose of obtaining sponsorship or introduction of legislation influencing the form of legislation, attempting to influence any member of the Legislature to vote for or against any measure pending therein, or for or against any candidate for any office to be elected or appointed by the Legislature, attempting to influence any officer of either house of the Legislature in naming of members and officers of committees, or in the performance of any of his duties, or attempting to influence or control the action of any member in relation to any matter coming before the Legislature, or any of its committees.

      2-12-11. Expense reports filed with secretary of state–Open to public inspection–Administrative penalty for untimely report. On or before July first of each year, each registered lobbyist and each employer of a registered lobbyist whose name appears in the directory in that year shall submit to the secretary of state a complete and detailed report of all costs incurred for the purpose of influencing legislation. The report shall be submitted in writing or electronically in a format prescribed by the secretary of state. However, the personal expenses of the lobbyist spent upon the lobbyist’s own meals, travel, lodging, phone calls or other necessary personal needs while in attendance at the legislative session need not be reported. The completed reports shall be open to public inspection. The terms, costs, and expenses, as used in this section do not mean the compensation paid by the employer to the lobbyist.
      Any lobbyist expense report filed pursuant to this section is exempt from the ten dollar filing fee prescribed in subdivision 1-8-10(2).
      If a person has been authorized to act as a lobbyist on behalf of an employer pursuant to § 2-12-4, but the lobbyist does not conduct any lobbying activities pursuant to § 2-12-1 nor acts in any manner as a lobbyist in connection with representing that employer, a report is not required to be filed under this chapter.
      The secretary of state may impose an administrative penalty for the failure to timely file the report required by this section. The secretary of state may impose a penalty on a registered lobbyist or employer of a registered lobbyist for each report not timely filed not to exceed a total of one hundred dollars per report not timely filed. Any administrative penalty collected pursuant to this section shall be deposited in the general fund.

      1. Michael Wyland


        Thanks for following up on this. The next question is, will the pro-22 folks update their web site and campaign materials to reflect the truth of the matter and correct the erroneous NCSL-provided information?

  10. Anonymous

    sometimes you have to fight fire with fire….22 should go down, I cant see a vote of the people deciding to spend $12million on election