Today, Marty Jackley was talking to the Sioux Falls Rotary club, proposing that maybe we do need another level of government in South Dakota in the form of an ethics commission. From the Argus Leader:
Attorney General Marty Jackley encouraged Sioux Falls Rotary Club members to support a proposed ethics commission, a provision of a ballot measure narrowly approved last month by voters.
“The voters of South Dakota spoke and they said there needs to be some level of change and I think that change ought to focus on an ethics commission,” Jackley said. “I don’t think we should necessarily be scared of that, we should embrace it.”
Another prominent Republican, Secretary of State Shantel Krebs on Monday said she’d also been working on a proposal to create an independent review or ethics commission to be managed by her office.
“You can count two Republicans in on this,” Krebs said. “You will hear me testifying in favor of some sort of ethics commission in South Dakota.”
I don’t think it serves much purpose to grow government, and have a commission for the sake of having a commission, so we can go “Yay. We did something.” But I also get the sense that given the turmoil over constant political accusations that have flown around the capitol for the past few years, that both Marty and the Secretary of State might have an interest in offloading those headaches to someone else.
Investigating charges of improper disclaimers, whether someone may or may not have actually circulated their petitions; Allegations over whether a donation was reported properly, or did so-and-so at that College turn in those voter registrations forms, and on and on… now those types of issues might more properly find themselves housed with a group empaneled and charged with making a firm determination, and assessing a penalty when warranted.
This would be opposed to these matters bouncing around state government between one person who would like to spend more of their time prosecuting murderers and rapists, and another who would like to run elections. If investigating and adjudicating issues of that nature was the purpose and charge of an ethics panel, that might actually make a little sense.
But I’m very wary about spending hundreds of thousands, if not millions on a panel that operates with little to no oversight, with an ill-defined or useless mission.
If Marty wants to make that proposal, and have it serve a real purpose, that could make the difference between something useless, and something real.
Bridging that gap in reality? That could be the challenge.