SD GOP challenges Senator Johnson


SD GOP Press Release:


SDGOP Calls on Sen. Johnson to Explain How Staffer’s Activity Isn’t in Violation of the Hatch Act

As reported by Tom Lawrence of the Mitchell Daily Republic, Tim Johnson staffer Matt Varilek went off-script in his remarks to the Davison County Democrats and “sounded like a candidate.”

“Varilek needs to realize that South Dakotans do not want to fund this type of hate-filled attack,” said Tony Post, Executive Director of the South Dakota Republican Party.

Typically, federal-level staffers do not level this type of attack to steer clear of Hatch Act improprieties, but Matt Varilek’s brazen attack seems troubling in this regard.

“Matt Varilek has two very simple options to rectify this,” outlined Post: “1. Stop campaigning. 2. Keep campaigning but don’t ask taxpayers to pay your $90,000 salary. I hope Mr. Varilek does the right thing.”

In light of the clear Hatch Act questions Varilek’s activities have raised, Post called on Senator Johnson to defend his employee’s actions and explain to South Dakota’s taxpayers how this is not in violation of the law.

“It appears Senator Johnson is allowing his employees to play loose and fast with the rules,” Post said. “South Dakotans deserve to know whether Matt Varilek is working for them or promoting his political ambitions at their expense. At the very least, Sen. Johnson’s office should provide proof that Varilek was not reimbursed by taxpayers for expenses incurred while he campaigned yesterday. How many other campaign meetings has Varilek had across the state – either public or private – at the expense of South Dakota taxpayers?”

The full story is below for your review.

20 Replies to “SD GOP challenges Senator Johnson”

  1. Tom

    While I generally agree with Tony Post on this, the ranty nature of the release reminded me of Nesselhuf.

  2. CaveMan

    I get this funny feeling the Dems ain’t gonna like this guy Tony Post at all. Heh heh; keep the drill running Tony! 🙂

  3. TCMack

    What has Matt done specifically to violate the Hatch Act? I have read both you links and I cannot see the violation. Did he say somethings that do not put Rep. Noem in a bad light, yes, but he did not say he could do better or even say he was in the race. I would want more hard evidence before I would report that there was a federal law being broken. That is just me.

  4. Anonymous

    Does anyone think Noem will ever hold a town hall or is that a broken promise?

    I could care less who is our congress person between the two.

    1. Anonymous

      Whenever Noem is back in SD she is always on the go meeting people everywhere. She does have a state-wide conference call with constitutients about every 2 weeks.

      A true town hall meeting, don’t know, but she will be on Watertown radio station KWAT, 950 AM, tomorrow morning Thursday (20th) at 8:15 am. It’s the “What’s Up” program and callers can ask her questions.

    2. Spencer

      She held a telephone town hall last night. I am presuming a large number of other people participated considering that there were quite a few callers with various issues and questions.

  5. LookItUp

    As long as they do not use any official resources and they have the approval of their supervisors, Senate employees are free to engage in other campaign work, as volunteers or for pay,
    on their own time, so long as such activity complies with Senate Rule 41.1. 206
    An employee?s
    ??own time?? includes non-Senate hours such as weekends, or vacation time accrued and taken in
    accordance with established office policy. If an employee intends to spend substantial time on
    campaign activities, over and above accrued leave, the supervising Senator should reduce the individual?s Senate salary proportionately or remove the person from the Senate payroll. 207: From the Senate Ethics Manual

    This appears to be completely off base, as an employee of an elected official anyone can run for office, or campaign for others in their spare time.


    When the SD GOP asks Sen Johnson to explain something they are really asking Varilek or another staffer to write something for him to release to the press. They really dont think that Tim is writing or saying his own material do they? They should watch c-span more and see what an embarrassment that guy is.

    1. Spencer

      Yeah, I have mixed feelings about this release. On one hand Varilek is clearly overstepping his role as a taxpayer-funded staffer, but on the other hand, Varilek and the rest of Johnson’s far left staff can legitimately claim to be our defacto Senator since they have been pulling the Senator’s puppet strings for quite some time now. It is debatable as to what extent Johnson even knows what is going on in his own office much less any detail pertaining to current U.S. policy…Senators Byrd/Thurmond anyone?

  7. Anonymous

    I am still waiting for Kristis town meeting.Sounds like one politician when Daschle had to much power.

  8. donkephant

    So it’s true, intelligence really does scare the SDGOP. I guess when your task is to defend Rep. Noem the attacking is bound to start early. Early-as in before you even know who her potential opponents will be.
    Since when is pointing out how our lone rep votes and who funds her campaign considered a “hate-filled” or “brazen attack”? Really, Mr. Post? I guess you have time to practice before you write more embarrassing releases when it really is campaign season.

  9. Anonymous

    The KLAN has been running for re-election since shortly after she was sworn-in back in January.

  10. Who is on the committee?

    All fine good and dandy, it is not difficult to make a complaint with the OSC. Do so and unleash the whimpering paper pushers that they are. Good luck trying to get them to do anything. In all seriousness, do not just send them a letter of complaint. Send them as much recorded material as possible and they might actually get off their butts.