Predictably, South Dakota State Senator Stace Nelson, who helped to run primary candidates against incumbent legislators, and set up a caucus to oppose the Republican House and Senate Caucuses, is grousing that he will be cut off from the Republican Caucus if he continues to attack it, after the letter asking candidates if they intend to be a member of the Republican Caucus:
On Jul 16, 2018, at 8:51 PM, Stace Nelson <Stace.Nelson@sdlegislature.gov> wrote:
Myself, other legislators, as well as candidates, in both the House & Senate, reportedly received a version of this “memorandum” demanding fealty, forced total confidentiality in violation of SD Constitution Article 3 Section 15, and to be a “sole (sic) member of the Senate..” caucus or face summary disciplinary actions to include exclusion or loss of official Legislature Committee Chair & Vice Chair positions.
This edict contains provisions that effectively offers a quid pro quo bribe or illegal disciplinary action extortion if current/future perspective legislators do or do not comply. The edict specifically indicates it seeks to influence official actions of legislators. Legislators who agree to these terms may very well be in violation of their SD Constitutional Oath of Office in Article 3 section 8 and subject to disqualification and removal http://www.sdlegislature.gov/Statutes/Constitution/DisplayStatute.aspx?Type=Statute&Statute=0N-3-8
The edict violates the 1st Amendment rights of Republican legislators rights to peacefully assemble, as well as It seeks to illegally punish and restrict legislators engaged in religious activities in the Wednesday Catacomb Caucuses, and the Catholic Caucus.
Senator Greenfield has indicated this was NOT sent with his approval, my understanding is Senator Maher indicates the same. Senator Curd has not responded to my inquiry.
In that this letter could be rightfully viewed as a violation of SDCL 22-12A-4, I am reporting it so as not to be considered an active participant in what could be construed as a conspiracy to commit a felonious violation of SD law.
Stace Nelson, Senator District 19 (Hanson, McCook, Douglas, Hutchinson, Bon Homme Counties)
Vice Chair Senate Commerce & Energy Committee
Senate Judiciary Committee
Senate Local Government Committee
I’m thinking he might have to get used to not being a vice-chair of Commerce and Energy if he continues to attack the Republican Caucus.
Considering he set up his little club “TO STAND APART FROM CORRUPTION AND LIBERAL DIRECTION WITHIN GOP RANKS,” as he termed it in capital letters, I’m not sure why he’s crying about being told he’s welcome to do whatever he wants to set up a competing caucus, but not to expect any support, or the ability to choose who caucus GOP Leadership is.
If he didn’t want to attack GOP Leadership so he could lay in his bed of thorns, I’m not sure why he created it in the first place.
State Representative & GOP House majority leader Lee Qualm noted to KELO radio the fallacy of red herring arguments such as the one Nelson is making:
“There are a few Republican legislators who have publicly stated they have organized their own caucus,” Qualm wrote in an email to KELO.com News.
The majority leader also said that the July 11 memo does not bar legislators from participating in other caucuses that are not political in nature.
Qualm named some of the other “caucuses” and how they would not be impacted by the new requirement.
“Catacombs Caucus and Catholic Caucus are a weekly time where people of faith gather together to have devotions, pray together and worship God,” Qualm said. “The Cowboy Caucus is a group of folks who get together occasionally and have fun eating and fellowshipping. These are all open to Republicans, Democrats, Lobbyists, Constitutional Officers, Employees at the Capitol, family members, and friends plus more.”