Release – BY THE NUMBERS: Listening Shouldn’t Come with a Price Tag

Listening Shouldn’t Come with a Price Tag
Boards, Commissions, and Blue Ribbon Task Forces Cost Taxpayers Thousands; Noem Refuses to Add More

Each year, South Dakota taxpayers spend thousands of dollars on 134 boards, commissions, blue ribbon task forces, and similar bureaucracies, which have increased taxes and expanded government. Kristi Noem, who is committed to reducing the size and scope of government, does not believe more government is needed for people to engage with their state government.


134: Number of existing authorities, boards, commissions, councils, groups, panels, and task forces

$0.42/mile: Mileage reimbursement

$70/day: Summer hotel reimbursement; $55 for the rest of the year

$32/day: Meal stipend

$60/day: Per day per diem (although some entities offer a per diem as high as $75)

$1+ million/year: Very conservative estimate of the annual cost to taxpayers for 130+ boards, commissions, etc.

This is a key differentiator in the June 5 gubernatorial primary: “The Republican candidates for South Dakota governor take opposite sides over creating more state government boards, commissions and task forces. State Attorney General Marty Jackley plans to use them while U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem rejects them.” (Capital Journal, 4/29/18)

“Only a lawyer who’s been stuck in government for most of his career would think you can only connect with South Dakotans through another government board,” said Justin Brasell, Kristi for Governor Campaign Manager. “Kristi is not going to hide behind a board to get things done.”

As a part of her plan for South Dakota, Kristi has committed to protect South Dakota from government growth and pledged “no new boards, no new commissions, and no new blue ribbon task forces.”  Read that part of the Plan here.

52 Replies to “Release – BY THE NUMBERS: Listening Shouldn’t Come with a Price Tag”

  1. Anonymous

    $175k for a congresswoman. Plus millions for her staff. Maybe we should get rid of them also since she doesn’t want to hear what the citizens think.

    As a citizen it is nice when elected officials on the dole are interested to know what the average citizen thinks.

    I couldn’t disagree more with her. SD Governor is not a dictator position. She needs to get buy in from people and industries. Her ideas are scary.

    1. Anonymous

      Kristi has done a fine job in DC but why doesn’t she take her insane idea and remove her own salary as governor or a congressperson? Her staff can work for free. The legislature can work for free. The citizens can serve on a board for free.

  2. Troy Jones

    Well, let’s get rid of all that and from where would we have any transparency.

    The two dumbest ideas in this campaign:

    Jackley’s clean campaign bill.

    Noem’s desire to eliminate all citizen input, transparancy and concentrate all the power of government in the Governor’s office.

    One is bad campaign strategy. One is horrid policy.

    I think this race is over.

    1. Anonymous

      Im curious, where does she say she wants to eliminate those things, Troy? All i have ever read or heard was no NEW boards, task forces, etc…

      There is a big difference.

  3. Anonymous

    It is now Marty’s nomination to lose. Would Kristi be open to being his LT? Don’t see her winning this race but there are lucrative opportunities for her in the private sector.

  4. Anono

    Honestly, I have always laughed at the ‘blue-ribbon task forces’ that are put together. I agree with her point that a politician can solicit a lot of public input without appointing commissions and task forces. Just as Daugaard did whenever he was pushing something big — he’d take the show on the road and go visit chambers and service clubs. I always prefer a leader to lead when there are obvious solutions rather than appoint a commission. But making a blanket statement about commissions and boards is short sighted as well.

    Sure feels like Jackley has the momentum but things can change quickly in politics.

  5. Anonymous

    I’m confused:

    1) Congresswoman Noem hates doing town halls and all but refuses to do them in person,


    2) Candidate for Governor Noem says she wants feedback from citizens.

    Who is the real Kristi Noem?

  6. Lee Schoenbeck

    This Brazil dude she has speaking for her is nuts! Take Pardons and Paroles, the most thankless volunteer job in the state. Those board members donate a week a month to the state for mileage, meals and a couple bucks per day. You couldn’t buy that talent in the marketplace for about 750k for that board alone.
    There’s a serious need for some tutoring on South Dakota here

    1. Anonymous

      Agree Lee. The only person who needs a pay cut is Noem. Shes made $1.4 million off of tax payers the last 8 years in DC.

      Any one of these boards and commissions would have been equally as successful as she has been lowering the national debt and getting rid of Obamacare…

      …and they only charge room and board.

      She needs an entire staff to suck up millions of dollars in taxpayer money.

  7. Annon

    These comments are hilarious. Kristi is right on with this position. Just look at one of the last Blue Ribbon Task Forces the Governor appointed on education. The outcome was completely established before he appointed the first member! Only a life long lawyer thinks the only means to take input from the public is to expand government with more commissions and task forces. Way to go Kristi! Enough is enough. I remember the day when Republicans thought less government was better government.

  8. Anonymous

    Will this new South Dakota be a dictatorship or a matriarch?

    Back to the country you peasants!

  9. Michael L. Wyland

    Once we all calm down and deal with the topic rationally, there are a few open questions to be asked. What would replace some or all of the current boards and commissions? What would happen to boards and commissions that are required under federal law as a condition of SD receiving federal funds for specific purposes?

    As a former chair of one of the boards and commissions, I know how difficult they are for the Governor’s office to administer. I know firsthand (because I asked the responsible Governor’s office staffer) that there are no rules of the road, no guidebook, from the Governor’s office about how boards and commissions should conduct their work – the boards and commissions are amazingly free to set their own operating conditions.

    I also know they provide an official alternative to the Governor’s staff and state executive department influence. They often require bipartisan and geographically diverse memberships, placing some limits on who the governor may appoint at any given time. Boards and commissions are ways to engage advocates and influential people, at times offering an official forum for loyal opposition and debate. This allows issues to be discussed in a structured way that may lead to understanding and good policy rather than having adversaries take potshots in the media and on blogs.

    I would hope that the next governor would review and assess the current boards and commissions in an attempt to maximize their usefulness, utilizing both cuts and additions to increase benefit and value.

  10. Anonymous

    Let’s be clear on this issue. Kristi hasn’t proposed (or I haven’t seen that she’s proposed) doing away with boards/commissions altogether. I believe her pledge was no NEW boards. What she seems to be saying is that we have 130 some already. Why do we need more? Can’t imagine there’d be an issue that arises that couldn’t be assigned to one of the existing boards. And frankly, if she wants to cut down on these 130, that would be fine with me too. I’m just baffled that this is even an issue in the REPUBLICAN primary. What happened to Republicans believing smaller government is a better government?

  11. Anonymous

    Just talked with one legislstor in charge of one of last year’s summer studies….had meetings across the state on the assigned subject, and a whole SIX people showed up!

    Most studies are worthless imo, especially those that have a preordained outcome like the blue ribbon task force on education. I attended one of those meetings, and it was definitely skewed to get the desired results.

  12. Troy Jones

    To add to what Micheal said, Boards and Commissions must notify the public before they meet, they are open to the public and the press, and, with very few exceptions, the public can testify in both writing and orally to the business at hand.

    I’ve also participated in listening meetings (which can have value) but they are not the same. At a listening meeting, the decision maker considers the information for a later decision. At a Board/Commission meeting, they decision makers make the decision right in front of the citizens.

    As the two relate to transparency and citizen input, decision makers aren’t required to have citizen input or release the decision to the press/public before making decisions. Boards and Commissions can’t make decisions without notifying both the public and the press.

    While I may like or not like (ala Anon 2:22 p.m.) a decision of a board, commission, or task force, it at last provided an opportunity for supporters and opponents to directly provide input other than picket or send a letter that may or not be seriously considered. And, they provide opportunity to listen to the debate in person.

    This my government and I’m not reacting too fondly to someone who wants to diminish opportunity for input and transparency.

    1. Annon

      Seriously? Transparency? Input? You believe that the best way to govern is to orchestrate a phony Task Force that is scheduled to reach a predetermined outcome by spending thousands of dollars of tax money building a case for that outcome?
      I understand that you want to help Jackley, but you are better than this.

  13. Anonymous

    By far the largest unforced error in a campaign full of very few unforced errors on both sides. If she loses it will be because of this.

    1. Anono

      Wrong. This is inside baseball stuff that a small percentage of voters know or care about. If she loses it will be because Marty ran a better campaign. I believe the race is still close but the ground war is being won by team Jackley.

  14. Troy Jones

    Anonymous 2:48:

    1) That summer study that had nobody show up is a reflection on the subject. Plus, we have adequate opportunity to weigh in on legislation during session. Not so much with the Executive Branch.

    2) You think citizen input via task forces, boards, commissions, and studies is a waste of time? I encourage you to vote for Noem. Her willingness to diminish citizen input is obviously consistent with your desire of governance.

    Anonymous 2:43:

    1) So, she has studied all 134 Boards/Commissions and discerned the current one’s are useful but there are no other areas where they might be needed? Nice try to dance to her position to a new position.

    2) Big government autocrats love diminishing public input so they can grow government without accountability. To infer wanting transparency is pro-big government is bull crap.

  15. Lee Schoenbeck

    First, look at the new technical institute board, you couldn’t hire that talent for 500k a year
    Second, assuming your using math, the investment in education two years ago was not the largest tax increase in SD history
    Finally, these anti-lawyer remarks aren’t a new campaign strategy in South Dakota. Dale Bell did it too; how’d that work out for him?
    George Mickelson, Bill Janklow, Jeremiah Murphy….the list goes on of attorneys that have served are state with distinction. Governor Jackley will be remembered on that list

  16. Troy Jones

    Anon 3:03 p.m.:

    If she doesn’t want a task force, she doesn’t have to call one. However, her own piece above includes boards and commissions.

    P.S. I’ve maintained my undecided status up to now and have no desire to help Jackley vis a vis Noem. In fact, because I oppose the death penalty (a government powerful enough to kill its citizens is too powerful), I’ve looked for every reason to not vote for a person who has woken up in the morning thinking about trying to get approval to kill someone.

    Three times Noem as said something where I think it is the last straw and I go back to giving her another chance. I’m just wondering how many chances I should give her? In a race where on the substance of most major issues, these candidates substantially agree on must make the decision on more subtle differences.

    Diminishing vehicles for public input and transparency is not an insignficant issue. In fact, to a libertarian inclined Republican, it is a big one.

    1. duggersd

      So call me ignorant, but has Noem expressed an opinion on the death penalty? I find it hard to believe Marty Jackley wants to get the approval to kill someone, but I do believe he sees situations in which he (and most other South Dakotans) believes the death penalty is warranted. That is part of his job as Attorney General. If a person does not believe the death penalty is ever warranted, that person should probably not run for AG in South Dakota.

      1. Troy Jones


        In SD, juries decide if a person is put to death. Marty has personally made arguments to get permission to have another human being killed. It is an endeavor which causes an extreme visceral reaction in the deepest parts of my being.

  17. WD

    You Jackley staffers are ridiculous. No NEW boards, commissions, etc…this is good policy until we make sure the current groups are working efficiently.

    1. Anonymous

      Kristi’s quote is essentially Daugaard sucks.

      Kelo should ask Daugaard what he thinks of this.

    2. Anonymous

      You can call us Jackley staffers all you like, but good luck consoling yourself with that come June 5th.

      1. KM

        How many incumbents do you think need to be replaced for that to actually happen? June 5th is going to bring big surprises… I did some internal polling;)

    3. WD

      And this is why you’re so ridiculous. You try your hardest to spin her opinion, but you can’t actually defend the policy. It’s as simple as this:

      AS A REPUBLICAN, do you want?:

      A) the government to spend more of our tax dollars to expand government.
      B) put a freeze on government expansion until we know our existing system is being used most efficiently.

      The answer is simple and it’s why i’m voting for Kristi. By the way, i WILL be supporting Jackley IF he wins the primary. We all know it’s going to be close, but seriously stop with the false (phony) confidence.

      1. MHS

        Who, in their right mind believes boards are an expansion of government? Citizen boards exist to restrict the power of government bureaucrats, period.

        I’ll ante up more taxes for that. Every. Single. Time.

        1. Anonymous

          Is it an additional board paid by the government? If yes, that is government expansion.

          And that’s not really why boards exist. You go ahead and pay more taxes for wasteful spending.

  18. KM

    Success in Congress is primarily a function of how hard one works. Nobody outworks Kristi. Ever. She will be most successful.

      1. KM

        It’s a pretty generic statement, it could fit for any of the candidates, wouldn’t you agree?

        I’m mostly disappointed about the whole defunding PP thing and, yes, dismantling ACA. Weren’t some R’s able to manipulate “Repeal” into “Repeal and Replace”? I’m not however ignorant enough to know that Noem would ever be capable of accomplishing these promises alone. Her vote is needed, but it requires one being part of a team that also aligns with your voters’ requests. You know, a group like ‘Tuesday Group’, ‘Problem Solvers Caucus’ or the ‘House Freedom Caucus’.

  19. The Sage

    I don’t work for any candidates. However, after reading this press release I did a little bit of research on the legislative website absolutely free of charge to anyone. As a state legislator, Kristi Noem sponsored the following bills to create new task forces or advisory committees that would have had a combined 60 new members, if all of the bills had passed:
    SB 116 (2008) Ag Land Task Force: 14 members
    HB 1155 (2008) Midwife Advisory Committee: 5 members
    SB 190 (2008) Oil Pipeline Task Force: 7 members
    HB 1006 (2009) Highway Finance Task Force: 15 members
    HB 1286 (2009) Native Affairs Task Force: 19 members

    Then in 2010 when she was running for congress Kristi Noem sponsored 1 bill to reduce a board:
    HB 1101 (2010) Corn Utilization Council from 15 down to 9 members.

    Interestingly, in 2008, Kristi Noem sponsored a bill to require anyone proposing to create a new board or add duties to an existing board to submit the proposal to the legislative executive board for review. Then … she voted to kill that bill t o rein in the expansion of boards and commissions:

    The bottom line: As a state legislator Kristi Noem sponsored bills to add a net of 60 members to boards and task forces – until she was running for higher office, then she sponsored a bill to subtract 6 members from one board. Her actions speak louder than words.

  20. Troy Jones

    Anonymous 8:56:

    Pray tell us why boards exist and they are wasteful spending. Convince us Noem’s policy is good.

    1. Anonymous

      I was refuting the claim that “…boards exist to restrict the power of government bureaucrats, period.”.

      I would say boards exist to solve problems in a more local or specified area.

      That said, city’s and county’s can still form as many boards, commissions, etc…as they want.

      Don’t get me wrong, I think that some boards is a good thing, but at some point we have to stop adding government and ask ourselves: Can we solve this problem with resources we ALREADY have? Is there an existing commission that can handle this? Is there an antiquated task force that is obsolete that can deal with modern day issues? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes”, then adding more task forces is definitely wasteful.

      By the way Troy, I believe you owe us a cite on “Noems desire to eliminate all citizen input, transparency…”.

  21. Kelly Lieberg

    Kristi is stuck in Washington speak. Trying to say something and then having to explain it. And if that’s a problem, you’re a rube. Probably voted for Trump.

  22. Anon

    This task force topic is just not that big of an issue. Noem makes perfect sense. And Town Halls? Yes, she’s done more than her 2 colleagues have put together. Live & phone.
    Sounds like Team J is grasping at ANYTHING they can to ‘create’ something ‘bad’ about their opponent. Establishment just doesn’t know WHAT to do without MORE task forces? Creative leadership will know.
    The fact is, Kristi Noem has grown tremendously since she was first in the legislature and is heads and shoulders above Jackley as far as what she can do as Governor. It has Jackley & team on edge. * He’s desperate enough to ‘mislead us’ on the nightly news by saying it was Noem’s polling that had him behind by 11 points. Then he says the ‘legitimate poll’ had him up.( the one where 22% were dems/indeps!) Misleading the public…. * He SO wants us to believe he was raised on a farm, but he WASN’T. *And interrupting Trump to get him to turn & shake his hand to snap a picture? (mailing) And the side by side photo shopping with Trump? Hmmm. Trey Gowdy coming to SD to support Kristi for Governor pretty much sums up her governing capabilities. She’s the real thing & our best choice.

    1. Anonymous

      Noem is the epitome of Establishment. She accomplished very little in congress, rose to leadership under Ryan, and believes the crown, I mean governorship, is hers. Establishment.

        1. Anonymous

          1) Thune is done in 2022.

          2) If Noem is Governor in 2022, she’ll run for Thune’s seat.

          3) She’s all in, for herself.

          1. KM

            20yrs. That’s a long, long time. He said he wouldn’t make a career out of politics.

            You can see the future, how exciting. You really can’t though;) You don’t know what decisions Noem will make in the future and if she does do what you say, she may not win.

  23. Troy Jones

    Before I begin, I don’t know if it is better or worse that her supporters seem to suggest I’m reading too much into this. Is this a policy worthy of a big statement (email and press release) or just an insignificant statement that sounds good?

    1) Noem: “$1+ million/year: Very conservative estimate of the annual cost to taxpayers for 130+ boards, commissions, etc.” The inference is $1mm is too much money to be spent on transparency and vehicles for citizen input.

    I’ll just say I think it a small price to pay for citizen input and I expect my Governor to have a bit bigger vision for cutting of government.

    2) Anonymous May 21, 2018 at 8:05 pm asks “where does she say she wants to eliminate those things, Troy?” Well, Noem’s release quotes the Pierre Capital Journal so she must agree with the statement: “State Attorney General Marty Jackley plans to use them while U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem rejects them.”

    If she only meant no new task forces, she should have said it. The thrust of her press release infers a much broader attack on boards and commissions. I’ll just say I expect some specificity. More importantly, repeating the statement in her own release she rejects (boards and commissions) indicates an attitude where she will also ignore these vehicles of citizen input. Sounds dictatorial to me.

    3) Anonymous May 21, 2018 at 2:43 pm says all she is saying is “no NEW boards.”

    OK, I’ll accept the premise of your statement. Kristi Noem isn’t going to create a new board which costs $20K. Talk about a small vision. Isn’t there something more significant to reduce the cost of government?

    4) Anonymous May 21, 2018 at 10:12 pm said: “I was refuting the claim (by MHS) that “…boards exist to restrict the power of government bureaucrats, period.” I would say boards exist to solve problems in a more local or specified area.”

    Heres the deal. MHS is 100% correct, not 99% or less because everything a board does (issue permit, set policy, give grants, regulate, etc.) are Executive Branch duties per the Constitution. However, the powers are entrusted to the Board and not the bureaucrats. That is what they do. If they didn’t do it, the Bureaucrats would do it.

    At the end of the day, it is my position if you want more government reform, less government power, lower and more responsive spending, greater transparency, and lower taxes, you will not get it by giving the bureaucracy more power. You will get it by giving the citizens more power.

    Some of these actions can occur via the exercise of Legislative prerogatives but not all. Some prerogatives are Constitutionally entrusted to the Executive Branch.

    In an email with the subject line “Glimpse” Noem said: “I believe we have the opportunity to lead the nation when it comes to cutting regulations, fighting back against new boards and commissions, and providing a more transparent state government.”

    I think her stated goal of cutting regulations is contradicted by her last two statements:

    1) Citizens will cut regulations better and more soundly than the bureaucrats whose jobs depend on regulations. Reformers listen to others instead of making statements to ignore them (see her own press release saying she rejects boards and commissions).

    2) Boards and Commissions are the most transparent part of state government. They publish their agendas, give public notice of when and where there are meetings, invite citizen comments (written and oral) and vote in public. Where else in state government do we have that much transparency?

    Sidenote: A few weeks ago I was blasted by Jackley supporters because I thought he did poorly in the AFP debate/forum. As I said then, I’m just calling it as I see it. If her view on Boards/Commissions and organized citizen input vehicles is a “glimpse” of her style of governance, I’m not interested.


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