Clint Roberts Visitation tonight, with funeral tomorrow.

(From Isburg Funeral Chapel)

Clint Roberts, 82 of Ft. Pierre, died Monday, February 13 at Aver St. Mary’s Hospital. Visitation will be 5-7pm, Thursday, February 16 at Isburg Funeral Chapel with a prayer service at 7:00pm. Memorial Service will be at 11:00am, Friday, February 17 at First United Methodist Church with inurnment at Presho City Cemetery.

Clinton Ronald Roberts was born on January 30, 1935, in Presho, SD. He was adopted by his maternal grandparents, Clint and Grace Roberts and attended grade school and high school in Presho. He graduated from Presho High School in 1952 and attended Black Hills University.

On December 7, 1952, Clint married Beverly Dittman in Presho, and they celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary in 2016. They had four children, Debra, Schelle, Clayton and Kristi. Clint and Bev’s youngest daughter Kristi died in 1999. There are six grandchildren in the family and eight great-grandchildren. Family was always a priority for Clint, along with community service and civic pride.

Clint farmed and ranched in Lyman County for most of his lifetime and also taught country school briefly. In the early 1970’s, he was known as “the Marlboro Man” in the SD Senate for the commercial shoots for Marlboro, as he was featured in such ads. He also appeared in several Schlitz commercials, a rugged cowboy with horsemanship skills. Clint was an actor in the movies, “Orphan Train” and “duchess and Dirtwater Fox” in the 1970’s. He produced and narrated the movie “Love or the Land”, a documentary film about agriculture in South Dakota.

One of Clint’s passions was community service, and he served as a state representative and senator for many years. Following that service, he was elected as one of SD’s US Representatives in 1980. It was during that term that he developed the idea of having a conservation reserve enhancement program. He aspired to become Governor, but was defeated in the Republican primaries in 1978 and 1986. He served as the Director of Energy Policy and SD Secretary of Agriculture. He also worked as a consultant for the International Trade Administration. Clint was the Director for the SD Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, retiring in 2003. His retirement years were spent enjoying family life in Fort Pierre, SD, living on the river.

Clint’s unselfish contributions in the political arena, most notably his design of the CREP, improved South Dakota’s economy and indirectly brought international recognition to our state because of the renewed emphasis on pheasant hunting. His film career also gave South Dakota national publicity. Clint’s innovative inception of CREP gave South Dakota’s agriculture economy significant support, and for all his civic contributions, was inducted into the SD Hall of Fame in 2007.

Clint is survived by his wife Beverly; children Debra Brakke (Verne), Schelle Wenner, and Clayton Roberts (Pamela), and grandchildren Nathan Brakke (Michelle), Matthew Brakke (Kimberly), Tessa Wenner, Clint Hunter Roberts (Stephanie), Chelsey Roberts Renemans (Nick), and Tiffany Menke (Nick). Clint also leaves behind eight adoring great-grandchildren.

Memorials may be directed to Countryside Hospice in Pierre or Ruby’s Remedy; Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in lieu of flowers.

Are Republicans becoming less civil to one another? Focus on party building, because 2018 is almost here.

On my way back from picking up a vehicle from an oil change yesterday, I had a call from a political operative. The subject of their call was that they were not happy over the tone of the comments that “their side” had been receiving on the web site.

They thought that some of the attacks being fostered were untrue, got overly personal, and were a bit unfair. And that if they didn’t stop, they were going to have trouble holding their people back from responding in kind, and then people would be going at it constantly under my comment section.

It was one of those situations where I was left with the thought – “Well, what am I supposed to do with that?”

Yes, it’s in the comment section, but you’re seeing it in general society as well. Just turn on the news, or even worse, just look at Facebook. If I could guarantee civility, I’d do it on my Facebook first, so the worst I’d have to look at are funny cat videos, and not have to wade through some of the other crap.

It used to be mainly a back and forth between political parties, but the occasional sniping that broke out at political primary time seems to be expanding to all year with Republicans in general, and from people you might not expect.

I offered to my caller that if someone was posting things that were blatantly false and people were out-and-out lying, (i.e. Candidate Bob was arrested for an unnatural act with a horse) to let me know immediately, and I would be happy to remove the comments. That’s been long standing policy, as I certainly have no time for nor any interest in being subpoenaed when someone wants to sue a commenter.

But when it comes to expressions of opinion (i.e. I don’t think Candidate Bob is a straight shooter because he did A, he employs B, or whatever C ), then you’re getting into different territory. It’s a little tougher being the arbiter of feelings, as in making a determination as to what’s hurtful, and what is not. It’s not a college ‘safe space’ for goodness sake. Feelings aren’t going to change because a comment appears or doesn’t.

What my caller was wishing for was more civility. Not an unreasonable wish, but probably an impossible demand. And you know, if I could guarantee that, I’d bottle it, and be a millionaire. Especially in recent times. People are crabby.

While I can’t guarantee it, I think what I can do is to make a nice ask of our fellow Republicans for more civility towards each other, especially when we’re so far out from the primary season. It’s probably a Pollyanish wish, but we are fighting for largely the same things.

Debate? Discuss, Disagree? Absolutely!  But save your ire for the Democrats, not each other.

The Republican Party is starting off the year with a theme of renewal and a renaissance of the GOP grassroots.  What we should be focusing on is helping the new chairman build the party in preparation for having the strongest organization possible in preparation for the 2018 elections, where we’ll be picking a lot of new officeholders, including a new Governor and a new Congressperson.

We need to be working together to defeat the opposition. And that starts with making a commitment to focus on the GOP first & cheer for your candidate second.  Sign up to help. You can drop the new chairman a note here, and let him know that you’re ready to go to work.

“The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally – not a 20 percent traitor.” – Ronald Reagan

Today’s new word is “emendation.” Nelson dissent returned for correction.

Remember last week’s Senator Stace Nelson tantrum over the passage of House Bill 1069 in the State Senate?  As noted in the legislative journal:

The question being “Shall HB 1069 pass as amended?”

Sen. Nelson rose to a point of order invoking J.R. 12-1 and Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure Section 521, paragraphs 2 and 3.

The President ruled against the Point of Order.

And the roll being called:

Sen. Nelson rose to a point of order invoking Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure Section 522, paragraph 1.

The President ruled against the Point of Order.

Sen. Nelson appealed the ruling of the President.

The ruling of the President was sustained.

Yeas 27, Nays 8, Excused 0, Absent 0    Yeas:
Bolin; Cammack; Cronin; Curd; Ewing; Greenfield (Brock); Haverly; Jensen (Phil); Klumb; Kolbeck; Langer; Maher; Monroe; Netherton; Novstrup; Otten (Ernie); Partridge; Peters; Rusch; Soholt; Solano; Stalzer; Tapio; Tidemann; White; Wiik; Youngberg

Frerichs; Heinert; Kennedy; Killer; Nelson; Nesiba; Russell; Sutton

So the bill having received an affirmative vote of a two-thirds majority of the members-elect, the President declared the bill passed and the title was agreed to.

Sens. Nelson and Russell announced their intention to file a letter of dissent and protest pursuant to Joint Rule 1-10.


Pursuant to Joint Rule 1-10, we, the undersigned Senators, do hereby respectfully dissent from, and protest against, the rulings of the President of the Senate, Lt. Gov. Matthew Michels, in ruling against Senator Nelson’s point of orders that 17 Senate members be excused from voting due to their personal conflict of interest in the legislation to overturn IM22 due to their admitted public record of personal pecuniary interest in a lawsuit to overturn IM22, violating Joint Rule 12-1 and Section 521 (2)(3) & Section 522 (1) of Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure (enacted as SD Legislative Joint rules via Joint Rule 11-3). Lt. Gov. Michels’ ruling, in the face of such conflict of interests, promotes a practice that undermines the very foundation of our State Constitution, weakens the rule of law, and besmirches the reputation of the South Dakota Senate. Furthermore, we, the undersigned Senators, do hereby respectfully dissent from, and protest the passage of House Bill 1069 in that it clearly violates Article III, Section 21 of the South Dakota Constitution (which 17 Senators acknowledge in section 10 of their lawsuit contesting the mirror image of HB1069, IM22 was unconstitutional for violating this constitutional provision) states: “No law shall embrace more than one subject, which shall be expressed in its title.” Members voted to pass House Bill 1069 knowing that provisions of it contained sections which require citizens to declare their names, address, etc., on campaign material, which the Supreme Court of the United States of America has ruled explicitly violates persons’ 1st Amendment rights (see McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Comm’n, 514 U.S. 334 (1995)). We therefore believe that the passage of House Bill 1069 is in contravention of both the United States Constitution, South Dakota’s Constitution, and is therefore null and void. We thus dissent from, and protest against, the erroneous rulings, the unconstitutional aspects of House Bill 1069, and the appearances of improprieties used to pass House Bill 1069. We respectfully request that this dissent and protest be printed in the Senate Journal as required by Joint Rule 1-10.
Respectfully submitted,                        Respectfully submitted,
Senator Stace Nelson                            Senator Lance Russell

Sens. Sutton and Heinert announced their intention to file a letter of dissent and protest pursuant to Joint Rule 1-10.

Read that here.

After attacking his colleagues in the Journal, from there, Senator Nelson clucked around like a rooster, and penned a self-serving and fairly ego-inflated editorial about how he was right, and others were corrupt.

Coming around the following week, on Monday, some of his fellow legislators decided they didn’t exactly agree with his dissenting opinion in the matter. And they sent it back for a correction:

From the Legislative Journal for yesterday’s proceedings:

And you can listen to the non-debatable motion, which was supported by a majority of members of the State Senate, and quickly disposed of.

The full text of the rule reads:

1-10. Dissent against an act or resolution. Any two members of a house may dissent or protest in respectful language against any act or resolution which they think injurious to the public or to any individual and have the reason for their dissent or protest entered upon the journal. However, if an objection is made that the language of the dissent or protest is not respectful, a majority of the house may refer the dissent or protest back to the dissenting or protesting members for emendation.

So, because the language in the dissent was not considered respectful, the dissent has now been sent back to the dissenting members for “emendation,”  or as President of the Senate Matt Michels noted, it’s a fancy word for amendment.

And as related to me, using the rule that Nelson invoked to file the dissent in the first place, the referral back to the dissenting members sent Nelson for quite the loop. So much so, that he had even voted for the omnibus water bill.. one of those omnibus bills that he regularly rejects as not being constitutional.

And after session, there were reports of Nelson chewing on the President of the Senate, Senate Secretaries, and even the Executive Director of LRC trying to figure out what happened.

So yesterday’s new word of the day is “emendation.”  A new word that Senator Nelson is not going to forget anytime soon.

Rounds Introduces Legislation to Dismantle CFPB

Rounds Introduces Legislation to Dismantle CFPB

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, today announced he introduced legislation to dismantle the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) by eliminating its funding stream from the Federal Reserve.

“A product of the ill-advised Dodd-Frank Reform Act, the CFPB is an unaccountable regulatory agency ran by unelected bureaucrats with no oversight from Congress,” said Rounds. “No unchecked federal agency should have the power to dramatically alter the financial choices of consumers through the rules it promulgates. Dismantling the CFPB is but one step we can take to ease the regulatory burdens of Dodd-Frank, the cost of which continues to be handed down to American families. I look forward to working with my colleagues to roll back the CFPB’s power and prevent the agency from imposing any further harmful regulations.”

Rounds’ legislation amends the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 to bar the transfer of funds from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System to the CFPB. The bill also requires the CFPB to turn over all penalty funding and other money it has received to the Treasury of the United States. Text of the bill can be found HERE.


“I’m not a chick-flick enthusiast” (Clint Eastwood)

As you all know, I like to use famous quotes as titles. At first, I thought I’d use a Reagan quote because Congressman Clint Roberts was the prototypical Reaganite but then I ran across the above quote and I laughed. Do you think Clint ever watched a chick flick?

I have cried twice in my life because my preferred candidate lost an election. Most who know me would correctly guess Senator Abdnor’s 1986 re-election loss. But, only the few who were there would know the other election night bawl was when Clint Roberts lost the 1978 GOP nomination for Governor. Clint’s gubernatorial campaign was really my first campaign. That Spring I went down to the campaign headquarters after track was over and volunteered until they were closing the office. Before long, I was taking mailers to school and recruiting friends to stuff fold them during study hall.

I was raised by a single mom and am the oldest of four children. As you might guess, I was able to go under my mom’s radar but fortunately some in our community kept a pretty good watch, for all of whom I’m most grateful. Well, because of that spring helping on the Roberts campaign, Clint and Bev Roberts became one more guardian angel for this kid living on the edge. Bev of course was the more angelic in how she talked to me while Clint was just as you would expect- stern and firm.

I’ve had the opportunity to observe up close four politicians who couldn’t be more different as people- Jim Abdnor, Bill Janklow, George Mickelson and Clint Roberts. Contrary to perceptions, in substance their political views were actually very close despite their different public personas, styles, and personalities.

As a politician, I found Roberts unique. Abdnor loved working a room and crowd. Janklow loved giving speeches and firing people up. Mickelson loved hearing ideas and sharing his. Put these three in these situations and you could see their energy go up. Roberts didn’t seem to like or dislike any of these things. He just did them with the same level of energy he probably moved cattle on his ranch- steadily and methodically. To this day, I’ve never seen a politician like him in this regard.

As a friend, I found Clint also unique. Clint didn’t want to listen to you babble to fill silence and he certainly wasn’t one to fill silence. If nobody had anything to say, it was silent. I remember one night when I must have been running something over from Abdnor’s office to Congressman Roberts’ office and he spontaneously invited me to dinner. We went to Bull Feathers (his favorite spot) on Capital Hill. After I had told him how school and my work was going and he told me how he was adapting to DC, we ordered our meal, had a few drinks, during which there were many periods where nothing was said. When we parted, I thanked him for the meal but wondered if he had regretted wasting his evening with me because he sure didn’t seem to be enjoying himself. Then, a few weeks later, he called and invited me again to dinner. Same type of evening. I wasn’t another member of Congress, a lobbyist, or on his staff. I think Clint was just longing to go for a horseback ride and dinner with me was as close as it got in DC.

I don’t remember how long ago it was that Clint and Bev lost their daughter Christie to cancer. I have some very faint recollections of asking how she was doing when she was sick and I suspect I expressed my condolences but don’t remember for sure. But, probably very close to exactly seven years ago, Clint Roberts called me at my office to talk after I lost my daughter Sydney. To this day, it is one of my most treasured conversations because Clint Roberts was an actual example of a Dad living after losing a daughter. Clint had something to say to me and he did all the talking. I can’t recall what he said. I just remember he called, he talked, I listened, and I cried.

Bev and family, you are in my thoughts and prayers. You were blessed to have loved and been loved by someone as unique as Clint Roberts. It had to have been a heck of a horseback ride. May the soul of Clint Roberts, by the mercy of God, Rest In Peace. Amen.

Guest Column from Attorney General Marty Jackley: EB-5 Prosecution: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly


EB-5 Prosecution: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Good: The EB-5 Investment Program has contributed to economic development across South Dakota from electric power generation to wind energy to the Dakota Provisions Turkey Plant. These are important jobs that provide income and health care for families across South Dakota.

The Bad: The program has necessitated investigation into misuses of security interests and state grant funds, resulting in a felony conviction. While monies from the charges have all been returned, it was wrong and a crime to have taken them. The sentencing law that required probation tied the hands of prosecutors and the judge in this matter. This law needs to be revisited.

The Ugly: The loss of a father and former S.D. Secretary of Tourism and State Development. In addition, tactics by federal investigators out of D.C. during the prior administration’s investigation reflected poorly on local and state law enforcement that were cooperating in an effective investigation. These federal investigators used overly aggressive tactics like telling witnesses they could not contact an attorney, serving subpoenas on cooperating witnesses at their places of employment, and disclosing information about ongoing investigations that just happened to make its way into political ads. These tactics unnecessarily politicized the issue, as seen in a recent press release by a political party suggesting that state prosecutors should have refused a felony plea and conviction, and the Court should have ignored the law requiring probation. Fortunately, both Democrat and Republican prosecutors in this State do not conduct the people’s business in such a fashion.

The Future: Both Republicans and Democrats in the South Dakota Legislature are working to strengthen public integrity laws. The State Senate unanimously passed a bill sponsored by the Attorney General to counteract criminal self-dealings and conflicts of interest. This important legislation provides whistleblower protections for employees who report crimes, and removes the required probation that has limited the sentencing discretion for both prosecutors and courts in EB-5 and other financial crime cases.

Marty Jackley
South Dakota Attorney General (2009-Present)
United States Attorney for South Dakota (2006-2009)
President National Association of Attorneys General (2016)



Pierre, SD – February 13, 2017 – The South Dakota Republican Party offers sincere condolences to the family of former Republican Congressman Clint Roberts.

“Congressman Clint Roberts was the definition of a South Dakota Statesman. Our sincere condolences go out to his family and friends,” said South Dakota Republican Party Chairman Dan Lederman. “The Roberts family has given much to our Republican Party in South Dakota and they are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” added Chair Lederman.

A rancher from central South Dakota, Congressman Roberts was elected to Congress the same year Ronald Reagan was first elected to the White House. Roberts served as the West River Representative in DC when South Dakota had two Congressional Districts.  

Funeral arrangements will be published on the South Dakota Republican Party website when they become available.


Early reports coming in of Former Congressman Clint Roberts passing away.

From KCCR News:

The family of former South Dakota Congressman Clint Roberts is reporting that he passed away overnight.

Roberts, who was 82, served as the state’s Second District Congressman, elected in 1980. That seat was eliminated after the 1980 census, then Roberts lost the 1982 election to democrat Tom Daschle.

Read it here.

Watch SDWC for more on this.

The Money Race for Governor – Jackley versus Noem.

After the report this past weekend noting that Gubernatorial Candidate Marty Jackley is bringing Sioux Falls Attorney and Gubernatorial scion Russ Janklow onto his campaign team and setting him to work for fundraising, it indicates that Marty isn’t letting anything to chance in the dollar race for Governor.

But how are they really doing? The Year End reports are in, and they illustrate a few interesting points about the two main Republican candidates for Governor, Attorney General Marty Jackley, and Congresswoman Kristi Noem.

Jackley for Gov 2016 Year End Report by Pat Powers on Scribd

And here are the year end reports (State and FEC) for Congresswoman Noem:

Kristi Noem 2016 Year End Reports State and FEC by Pat Powers on Scribd

What do we notice about these reports?  Here’s the tale of the tape.

Jackley: 1,012,233.42 Raised. 11,311.14 Spent. 1,000,922 Cash on Hand. And of the money raised, 2,447.11 was unitemized ($100 or under), 223,850 was itemized, 1,500 came in from unaffiliated PAC’s, and he transferred over $367,475.83 to his campaign account from a Marty Jackley PAC.

Noem: 1,834,259.49 Raised. 27,124.09 Spent. 1,807,135.40 Cash on Hand. Of the money raised, 7,997.62 was unitemized or in amount of less than $100. 211,690 was itemized. 1.6 Million was transferred from her House Account and another 14,500 was raised from Congressional House members. Noem also Filed a federal report noting $5800 Raised, 144,895 Spent, and 76,500 cash on hand for her Congressional account.

Kristi is coming into the contest with a couple of advantages. The obvious one is that she has an $800,000 advantage over team Jackley.  But looking at the reports also indicate that her “grassroots cash” is stronger – she’s posting nearly $8000 in unitemized contributions, versus Jackley’s amount just under $2,500.

Why is that? I would suggest because Kristi has had some tough contests along the way, and she’s had to work for every campaign dollar. And, she’s had to cultivate that donor base. The curse of being a Congressperson is that you’re in constant, almost never-ending campaign mode.  Herseth was arguably the best the Dems had to offer in recent years, and it was a fight. Varilek gave an effective show. Corinna Robinson… well, you know that one, but Paula Hawks showed a few signs of life.

Compare that to Marty’s races. He was appointed in 2009. In 2010 he faced… Ron Volesky. Not exactly a race to generate a need for fundraising.  Even worse, in 2014, he was for all practical purposes, unopposed. His opponent was Libertarian Chad Haber, Annette Bosworth’s husband. I’m not sure Chad had a college degree, and he certainly didn’t have a law degree. Two races, 4 years apart with nearly the worst (as in lowest quality) candidates the universe could roll the dice with.

Marty has shown he can raise money, as his overall total is quite respectable. But he’s going to need to spin up his small donor program quickly, as Noem’s is never spun down.

Another thing to notice – There is literally NO cross pollination among donors in the year end report. There was one that appeared to be husband/wife (Duane Harms 3k to Jackley – Barbara Reed Harms 1k to Noem), but that’s all I caught with a brief scan.   Marty’s list is heavy with those in the legal profession, as you might expect, but there’s a lot of familiar names on both lists.

The Jackley list boasts notable donors such as Dave Bockorny, a few Bradsky’s from Rapid City, John Calvin of Watertown, Several Lien’s in Rapid City, Karl Fischer of Ft. Pierre, Grant Houwman of Sioux Falls, Pat Prostrollo from Madison, former Governor Frank Farrar of Britton, current US Attorney Randy Seiler, and Buffalo Chip tycoon Rod Woodruff.

And several legislators/former legislators such as Jerry Apa, Blake Curd, David Lust, Liz May, Mac McCracken, John Mills, Scott Munsterman, Dave Knudson, Betty Olson, Tona Rozum, and Mike Vehle.

Who did Noem collect checks from this year? Her list includes , Dana Dykhouse, Tom Everist, Harvey Jewett IV and V, Several Kirby’s, Al Kurtenbach, Dr. Looby and wife of Sioux Falls, Several of the Moyle’s in Rapid City, Larry Pressler and wife, Bart Sugarman and his wife Mary Hart of Beverly Hills, and others.

Her legislative donor list includes Dave Billion, Kim Vanneman, and Matt McCaulley.  Larry Rhoden’s wife Sandy also sent a check.

Looking at the lists, Jackley’s itemized state donor list makes up for the deficit in unitemized contribution numbers, coming in twice as large in number than Noem’s, (roughly $125 to $250). But on a per donor basis, Noem rules the roost again posting numbers where she comes in better than a $1700 average per donor, as compared to Jackley at around $925 per donor. (I’m rounding, so don’t quibble).

Some of this may be skewed a bit, with Kristi having just come off of a Congressional election where her resources were devoted to raising money for that race, and Marty has had the field to himself.

But, if it was skewed for that reason, Noem’s already competitive donor numbers could be even stronger with the report to be filed next year at a time when they’re more evenly matched. It may also show more accurately how the two compare on a head to head basis.

Stay tuned – 2018 is around the corner, and the race is on in full force!