If you recall the big emotional news story about a week ago, where Annette Bosworth claimed she received bad advice regarding her petitions:
Former U.S. Senate candidate Annette Bosworth blamed bad legal advice from her former attorney for the 12 election law felonies she is now facing.
“Because of Joel Arends’ advice, Dr. Bosworth was indicted,” said Lee Stranahan, Bosworth’s current spokesman.
Arends did not immediately return a call seeking comment. But Patrick Davis, Bosworth’s former campaign manager, said she was wrong about Arends’ role.
Read it here.
Bosworth claims to have had advice regarding her petitions. But one thing that has yet to come to light in all of this matter, as she was grinding Arends under the wheels of the bus, is where it conclusively came from.
If we parse Pat Davis’ statement, it didn’t necessarily come from Arends, who certified (and notarized) that he witnessed her signing the petitions as circulator.
And maybe, there may have been someone else advising her.
Why do I think this? Because tonight I’m being told that former Sioux Falls City Council Candidate Emmett Reistroffer, the principal of Jefferson Adams Consulting, a firm which specializes in petition signature collection, did what he does for a living for Annette Bosworth – and he assisted her with petition signature gathering. He also did this for Larry Pressler, and at the time, admitted that he was consulting for several other campaigns.
But supposedly, he was not just sending out people to gather names. I’m told he provided Bosworth professional advice on the signature gathering. Which somewhat seems to conflict with any claims of innocence and ignorance over the process.
Now, before I start laying this out, understand that there’s no evidence or even a hint of wrongdoing on Reistroffer’s part. From what I can tell, his people who circulated petitions, including Lloyd Ringrose, who also served as Reistroffer’s treasurer for his City Commission Race, did them by the numbers and by the book.
But, then again, Resitroffer doesn’t seem so eager to claim pride of workmanship or any association with the ill-fated Bosworth campaign. And he certainly doesn’t seem to have an interest into delving into exactly how much advice on petition circulation he gave.
I specifically asked Pat Davis, who consulted for the Bosworth Campaign “Was Emmett Reistroffer (or his firm) hired by the Bosworth campaign for his expertise in petition circulation?” To which Davis succinctly replied “yes.” But when I approached Reistroffer about his involvement with the Bosworth campaign, I didn’t exactly get the same sort of direct confirmation.
When I asked him about his work for Bosworth, he noted” I did not work for her or Patrick but I did provide referrals to some known signature gatherers to help her, but I believe they only collected a very minimal amount.”
When I asked Patrick Davis about the contradiction, he was far more direct.
“His company was under contract with my company to gather signatures for Boz.” Davis noted. “He has had several conversations with Bosworth and Chad about signature gathering in Sioux Falls and Rapid City. Lloyd Ringrose works for Emmett and he collected for Boz. Chad and Annette even talked about putting Emmett in an ad.”
So, Reistroffer claims to have just provided referrals, but Pat Davis noted he under contract, consulted with Boz and her husband, and was almost in a Bosworth ad? That would seems to represent a significant difference of opinion.
I went back to Emmett armed with the Davis statement, informing him that I was being told that he was hired for his expertise in petition circulation. And I noted that I was just trying to figure out the nature of his work for the Bosworth effort. Given that he’s a petition guy, it seems that it’s a pretty important distinction.
When Emmett got back to me this evening, he doubled down on his statement, noting “I did not work for Bosworth and I did not provide any advice (unfortunately) because if I were hired in that capacity I certainly would have advised against signing any affidavits that didn’t belong to her.”
He also added “Generally, candidates or groups hire me to help train gatherers stay in line with the law. It can be tedious and confusing and I believe good people make mistakes in the process.“
So, Patrick Davis noted Emmett was under contract, and Emmett’s opinion was a bit divergent. I have the feeling this isn’t the last we’re going to hear about this.
In the meantime, it brings into question exactly what advice Bosworth was forearmed with before she signed the petitions that she is accused of signing in violation of State Law. And it also brings into question her accusations of bad petition advice by Joel Arends.
Because in this case, who knows what advice she received. And from whom? As Davis quipped in the original article in the Argus Leader
“Anybody who knows Dr. Bosworth for even five minutes would know she takes advice from no one,” said Davis. “She did not get advice from anyone about signing those petitions.””
Which could very much be true.
Sometimes people have all the advice they’d ever want in the world. And they might choose to ignore it.