Attorney General Marty Jackley Warns of Scams Following Hurricane Harvey 

Attorney General Marty Jackley Warns of Scams Following Hurricane Harvey 

PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Marty Jackley said today that South Dakotans should expect to be contacted by unscrupulous scammers soliciting donations to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

“South Dakota consumers are very generous individuals and when disaster hits we are always willing to assist,” said Jackley. “In the wake of tragedy, there are always those who want to take advantage of others for their own benefit, so please proceed with caution when choosing a charity.”

Here are a few tips to avoid becoming a victim:

  • Don’t be fooled by “sound-alike” Many scam artists use names that are designed to resemble well-known charities. Don’t assume a charity is legitimate based on its name.
  • If you are contacted by a professional telemarketer, donors should ask the question of what percentage is actually going to the This will help the donor make a better determination if they want to give to the telemarketer or donate directly to the charity to maximize the benefits of the funds.
  • Be skeptical of e-mail requests for donations by unfamiliar organizations or those pretending to be well-known charities. This is just another attempt to obtain your personal identifying
  • Be cautious of anyone wanting on-the-spot donations or refusing to provide written information about their organization. Do not contribute if they refuse to provide you with the requested
  • Consider giving to charities close to the storm. Check Charity Navigator to ensure the organization is worthy of your
  • Error on the side of caution when thinking of donating through a crowd funding source such as Multiple scam postings have been listed.
  • Do not give a credit card number or checking account number over the phone and do not send
  • The best way to ensure that the charity of your choice receives your donation is to request a return envelope. Once you receive the information in the mail use a credit card or check so that you have a record of your

For more information about charitable giving, contact the South Dakota Consumer Protection  Division  at  1-800-300-1986  or


So, that was the version of the Hulk that just kind of sat there and gave credence to rumors?

Recall the post from a few days ago where State Senator Stace Nelson claimed to be akin to the Hulk going into a gladiatorial battle in the lead up to the latest Government Operations and Audit Committee?

(Yes, I thought he sounded like an idiot too.)

The version of the Hulk that Nelson tried to portray himself as must have actually been the version of the Hulk that sat there, did very little, and got scolded by Representative Jean Hunhoff. Because that’s what went on at the meeting.

Nelson was expected to have to take the stand under direct questioning from GOAC committee chair Deb Peters, coming after he demanded staff members and an attorney, but rebuffed by the LRC who pointed out that they just “asked what you know. Only you know what you know.”

While that’s what he expected, Peters played it in a bit more cagey manner. Peters asked him questions all day long about the validity of his sources.  And it turned out that Nelson couldn’t actually support his allegations. Most of what he used for evidence was all rumor and supposition.. again.

When he wasn’t getting scolded by Jean Hunhoff.  I’ll pull the clip of it. She let him have it for his silliness at one point.

Nelson spent time trying to use the testimony of LuAnn Werdel who apparently left the Department of Ed in 2011 before the Gear Up Grant in question was ever issued (There were two of them, the one in question was issued in 2012).

The problem is that Nelson and others who are trying to make hay over rumors is that they’re going for sensational grandstanding over the truth. That’s not the purpose of the committee. The purpose of the meeting is to identify what went wrong, and to fix the loopholes that allowed the wrong thing to happen.

And as related earlier by the Office of Legislative Audit, one important point that keeps getting overlooked is that there actually wasn’t any money taken from the Grant. The money was stolen from the Co-op.  Westerhuis embezzled from Mid Central Co-op, not GEAR UP. He reported to Dan Guericke, who reported to a board made up of representatives from each member school district.

So, if Nelson and others who are sending out press releases honestly cared about it, why aren’t they showing up at the school board meetings for those districts who participated in Mid-Central, and asking those Districts about their manner of oversight over the Co-op?

If GOAC ultimately thinks we need more legislation for the oversight of grants administered through the state, then by all means, require more oversight. That’s easy.  If there were laws broken, the Attorney General should and is already prosecuting. Again, easy.

But when it comes to the ridiculous and tiresome conspiracy theories and political theater that politicians are using to bolster their egos and political campaigns? Save it for the campaign trail.

And Hulk should go back to smashing. Because he stinks at the rest.

SDGOP updates the party – Holding 2018 Straw Poll at SD State Fair

From my mailbox, South Dakota GOP Chairman Dan Lederman had an e-mail out today to South Dakota GOP Central Committee Members, and it contains an interesting tidbit of what’s going on at this weeks’ South Dakota State Fair.  It notes in part…..

Central Committee:

Hope everyone has enjoyed their Summer!

The SDGOP has been busy and I wanted to give you an update of how things are going with the state party.


This upcoming weekend is the South Dakota State Fair. I want to thank Rosie and Gary Harrington for all their hard work at the SDGOP Fair Building. Rosie and Gary have been setting up the building and will be handling the day-today operations. I encourage all counties to make their way to the fair and to visit our building anytime between August 31 to September 3.

The SDGOP will be conducting a Straw Poll for the Congressional and Gubernatorial races. Everyone is encouraged to stop by the building, volunteer, bring cookies and vote in the straw poll for your favorite candidates. I am attaching a sample ballot that will be used this weekend.  (My emphasis… see inset image above – pp) 


As always, please call anytime with any questions, concerns or accusations. 🙂

For the party,


Dan Lederman,  Chairman
South Dakota Republican Party

The party conducting it’s own straw poll in a primary environment is an interesting step forward, and certainly represents a more independent-minded GOP under Lederman’s leadership.

The GOP acknowledged to me that it’s not a scientific poll by any means, but it’s the kind of outreach where the party has an opportunity to bring more people into participation because they have an interest in their favorite candidate doing well in the informal plebiscite.

Stay tuned, and see you at the fair!

Sioux Falls Businessman Paul TenHaken to enter race for Sioux Falls Mayor

After giving the idea serious contemplation last year, Sioux Falls businessman Paul TenHaken had backed off a bid for Mayor to succeed outgoing Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether, who is leaving office because of term limits in 2018.

But like some dreams, there are those that a person can’t get out of their head, and they keep returning to that “what if” thought.

And for the founder of Click Rain, one of INC Magazine’s top 5000 private businesses in the country for growth for nearly four years now, Ten Haken found his path winding back to that thought – that a campaign for Mayor of Sioux Falls may be part of his story in a chapter yet to be written.

This morning, TenHaken started that new chapter by announcing a surprise bid to become Mayor of Sioux Falls in 2018.

I asked Paul about what triggered him to re-examine entering the race once again, and he noted “While I have been looking at getting into this race for the past two years, I honestly didn’t feel the time was right until the last couple of months. The leadership transition at my company has gone tremendously well and has energized me to tackle this new challenge.”

The transition at TenHaken’s company involved him taking a step back from day to day duties, and as opposed to serving as CEO, taking a role as founder and advisory board chair for his business giving him time to pursue “new business conversations,” in his words.

I asked Paul that loaded question all candidates are faced with: “Why? What is drawing you to run for Mayor?”

His reply is that “the past ten years of running a successful company has reinforced my core passion for leading people. I love the challenge of developing leaders, building consensus, and bringing people together for a common good. There would be no greater honor than to bring that passion to the people of Sioux Falls.”

Reviewing the issues that he sees as important in the race, TenHaken offered that “there are going to be a myriad of issues to dive into, but poverty and affordable housing are issues I feel especially called to tackle. We’ll also have a tight budget for the next several years, accompanied by workforce shortage challenges. Despite some hurdles to jump, it remains a fantastic time to be a Sioux Falls resident and I hope to keep our momentum going.”

While Mayor is a non-partisan race, supporters often line up on a party basis in picking sides in the contest. On the Republican side of the aisle, Ten Haken would join Jim Entenman, a City Councilman who is often said to be allied with the outgoing Democrat Mayor Mike Huether. One of the most notable opponents will be fellow Republican, former Councilman and State Representative Greg Jamison, who had challenged Huether for mayor in 2014.

On the opposite side, also running are Democrats Nick Weiland, son of former US Senate Candidate Rick Weiland. David Zokaites of Sioux Falls is running, as is former City Councilman Kenny Anderson, Jr. and Mike Gunn.

Unlike some fresh faces entering the mayoral contest, TenHaken brings a widely recognized business success story as well as a can-do attitude that he’s parlayed into being a motivational speaker, an author, and a fitness enthusiast who has competed on the NBC Television show “Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge.”

With so many others in the contest at this point, I asked TenHaken why he believes he’s different from his opponents.

“I think I bring a very different background and leadership style to this race. If we are serious as a city about looking to our next generation of leadership, I feel as though I represent that,” he said.

The election for Sioux Falls Mayor will be held on April 10th, 2018.

Stolen funds came from schools, not State or Feds. Will the truth possibly prevail?

That’s an interesting development. 

The Auditor General who has been looking into the theft of funds from the Mid-Central School District just dropped a bomb on public impressions and media reports. 

Because he just announced that area schools were the victims of Scott Westerhuis’ financial machinations, and not the State of SD or Federal Government:

The $1.4 million that a Platte man funneled from his employer before his murder-suicide came from his neighbors and nearby communities, the state’s auditor general said Monday.


…….the money that went missing came from the 14 central South Dakota public school districts to share special education teaching services and other contracting services.


He said the funds used for the Gear Up grant were all returned to the state and federal departments of education. But probes of Mid-Central’s finances found that $1.4 million in general funds was unaccounted for.

Read the entire story here.

Does that change your view of the story? 

The State of SD, and the Department of Education discovered the accounting problems in the first place, triggering them to yank the grant from the beleaguered co-op. Unbeknownst to all, that action caused a heretofore unknown financial manipulation to crash, and the author of the financial scheme, Scott Westerhuis, murdered himself and his family as a result. 

Clearly, others did bad things along the way. There are those accused of taking shortcuts, altering documents and enriching themselves. And as this has been discovered, lawmakers have passed legislation, and are proposing more measures to fix the loopholes.  To resolve then in an attempt to prevent them in the future.

Isn’t that how “the system” is supposed to work? Discover problem. Review and investigate. Fix problem. 

Too many people, such as the media and other opportunists, overly sensationalize things for gain. And the simple truth gets muted as a resort.  

We’ll get to see more of that this morning as State Senator Stace Nelson will be called to testify as to unreported criminal activity that he claims he knows about, and has paraded around to the state’s media… but hasn’t reported to law enforcement and refuses to disclose to his colleagues on the Government Operations an Audit Committee.

In appearance after appearance after appearance in front of the state press corps, like others who think they have something to gain from the spotlight, Senator Nelson has paraded wild claims of corruption that might make for a good 15 second soundbite in the media, but does not stand up to cross-examination.

There was wrongdoing and several loopholes that needed closing in the matter of the theft of funds from the Mid-Central education cooperative. The Attorney General is prosecuting what can be prosecuted, and the legislature is passing laws where there need to be laws. 

Instead of wild claims that benefit a person’s political standing or a television station’s ratings, sticking with facts and truth seems to work the best in the long run. It’s the opposite of sensational. It’s boring, it’s tedious, and it takes a long time. Not exactly what we want to see in the 24 hour news cycle, where if it bleeds, it leads.

But we can always hope that even through all the noise and static, the truth might win in the long run. 

And isn’t that who we want to win?

Still select advertising opportunities available at SDWC, as we move further into the 2018 campaign season.

Campaign action is starting to heat up, and this week the South Dakota State Fair kicks off what is sure to be a busier time in politics as people prepare for solidifying as well as launching campaigns for 2018.

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Argus noting media announcement from Paul Ten Haken tomorrow

From the Argus Leader:

Click Rain founder and president Paul Ten Haken invited media to a press conference Tuesday at the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown.

Ten Haken’s name has come up in conversations about the 2018 mayoral race, but earlier this year he downplayed that possibility, telling me that family obligations would keep him out of the race.

Read it here.

Attorney General Jackley Joins Challenge to Protect Second Amendment Rights 

Attorney General Jackley Joins Challenge to Protect Second Amendment Rights 

PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Marty Jackley has joined an amicus brief filed in the United States Supreme Court by 24 Attorneys General seeking to protect Second Amendment rights.

“The Second Amendment gives law-abiding citizens the fundamental right to bear arms for the defense of themselves, their families and their homes. As Attorney General, I have a strong interest in protecting and defending our law-abiding citizen’s right to keep and bear arms. The Federal Court’s adoption of a novel standard significantly reduces the types of common firearms protected by the Second Amendment,” stated Jackley.

The brief was filed in the case of Stephen V. Kolbe v. Lawrence J. Hogen, Governor of the State of Maryland. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals adopted a novel standard that would significantly reduce the types of common firearms protected by the Second Amendment, in direct conflict with a central holding in District of Columbia v. Heller. In Heller, the Court plainly held that the right to keep and bear arms extends to firearms that are “in common use” for “lawful purposes.” The Fourth Circuit strayed from this directive and held that “weapons most useful in military service” are outside the ambit of the Second Amendment.

The states contend that on an extensive examination of the Second Amendment’s text, history, and preexisting precedent, the  Court concluded that the Amendment protects  an “individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.” The states argue the lower court ruling inappropriately limited the scope of the Second Amendment by taking Heller’s ruling out of context.

The states contend the United States Supreme Court’s involvement is needed to  reaffirm Heller and ensure that state efforts to protect the Second Amendment rights of their citizens will not be undone by federal actions.