Scoop: ED Tony Post leaving SDGOP for American Cancer Society

Hey – Caught wind of a rumor that I was able to follow up on this morning. And you get to be among the first to know.

I made a call today and found out that Tony Post, Executive Director of the South Dakota GOP is moving on to greener pastures.  I spoke with him today, and found out that later this month, he’ll transition out of his current position and assume the position of Government Relations Director of the South Dakota Chapter of the American Cancer Society.

It was a little confusing, coming off of a year that no one expected – a repeat of the prior election’s devastating losses by Democrats to the GOP. The big question – Why would he decide to jump now?  And I got filled in on something personal about Tony that I never knew.

Not only has he battled Democrats, but in his so-far short life, he’s battled tumors.  Tony Post is a cancer survivor.  And when the rare opportunity came up to lead government relations for the South Dakota Chapter of the American Cancer Society, he knew that it was an opportunity to take up another cause he cares about, and one that’s pretty close to home.

State GOP Chairman Craig Lawrence, who will be personally managing the office in the absence of a director, was very complimentary, and thankful for his service.

Lawrence notes that the GOP will be mounting a full scale recruitment effort with the Governor, Senator Thune, and Congresswoman Noem, etc., to identify and hire a new Director to lead the GOP into next election, with the expectation the new director will be in place before December.

As a Republican, I’m sad to see someone who did such a good job for the GOP move on to greener pastures.  As a person who lost their mom to cancer, and had a sister who, like Tony, fought it in childhood, I’m appreciative of having someone committed to the cause willing to take up the banner of helping to find a cure.

Tony, thank you for your service to the SDGOP, and best of luck to you in your new endeavors.

Jindal to headline GOP convention

This is an exciting win for Tony Post, Tim Rave and most likely Dennis Daugaard for reaching out to his fellow Governor.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will be the headline speaker when the state GOP holds its convention next week. Jindal will speak at the Sioux Falls Convention Center in a speech that will be open to the press.

GOP State convention

The 2012 South Dakota State GOP convention is getting close. As hard as Chairman Tim Rave and Executive Director Tony Post have been working behind the scenes in preparation for this event, I have no doubt it will be one of the best state political conventions in recent memory. (Delegates will be ariving June 21 in Sioux Falls for a great weekend).

Thanks for your hard work Chairman Rave and Executive Director Post!

According to KELO It's party time!

Is this another example of KELO’s war on the SD GOP? Between this and Kristi Noem’s non-speeding story their bias is ridiculous.

KELO decided to run a story regarding the hotel site the RNC gave the state delegation to the National Convention in Tampa later this summer.

They call it the Grand Old Party and when South Dakota delegates head to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, they’ll be staying at a hotel that is notorious for spring-break style parties.

This week South Dakota was assigned to stay at Shephard’s Beach Resort in Clearwater, Florida.

It?s a resort known for its Sunday beach parties, dance parties and night life. And it will be home to South Dakota delegates during the Republican National Convention in August.

SD GOP Executive Director Tony Post made me proud with his statement countering KELO’s absurd story.

“It does have this stigma of being a spring-break kind of hotel, but you know what, it’s not March and it won’t be filled with 18 to 21 year olds. It’s going to be filled with delegates who are devoted to making sure we elect the next President of the United States,” Post said.

To appreciate the ridiculousness of the story you truly need to watch the video. Or maybe KELO’s portrayal of the GOP just expanded the party’s appeal to the 18-25 year old demographic?

Senator Johnson's record to the left of a socialist

From my inbox:

Tim Johnson, Ethically Challenged and Consistently Liberal

New Study Shows Senator More Liberal Than Socialist Bernie Sanders

Pierre – U.S. Senator Tim Johnson has faced ethical scrutiny in recent weeks after a Washington Post investigation revealed that he steered federal money toward his wife’s business. In addition to helping his wife, Johnson has faced nepotism charges for installing his own son as South Dakota’s U.S. Attorney.  Johnson’s son, Brendan, is widely-known to be planning his own run for political office using his federal post as a launching pad.

Now comes word of a new study of Congressional voting conducted by National Journal which reveals that Johnson’s voting record is more liberal than that of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont socialist.  Johnson’s voting record was also more liberal than his fellow Democratic Senators from neighboring states such as Nebraska, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Colorado, Missouri, and Wisconsin.

“Tim Johnson is a consistently reliable vote in the U.S. Senate for the liberal Obama agenda and the people of South Dakota deserve to know that,” said Tony Post, Executive Director of the South Dakota Republican Party. “South Dakota deserves better than a Senator who is always looking for appropriations and federal jobs for his family and voting to uphold a liberal agenda.”


SD GOP: "Stonewall from Johnson Inc. Continues"

SD GOP new press release:

Stonewall from Johnson Inc. Continues

Senator Johnson Refuses to Address His Staffer’s Campaigning While on Public Payroll

Sioux Falls – The South Dakota Republican Party today called on U.S. Senator Tim Johnson to end his stalling and stonewalling and address the controversy over his government-paid staffer, Matt Varilek, who has been campaigning for Congress and launching vicious personal attacks against Rep. Kristi Noem all while serving as a federal employee and collecting his taxpayer-funded paychecks at $90,000 per year.

According to news reports this morning, Senator Johnson refuses to address the controversy when asked about it directly (see “City, MTI seek Sen. Johnson’s help,” Mitchell Daily Republic, October 27, 2009). The appropriate authority for investigating potential violations of law prohibiting campaigning while serving as a federal employee is either the U.S. Senate Ethics Committee or South Dakota’s U.S. Attorney, who is Senator Johnson’s son. Senator Johnson engineered the appointment of his son to be U.S. Attorney in 2009 (see “Nominee gets help from senator dad,” Politico, October 8, 2009). It should also be noted that Senator Johnson is the former Chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee.

“The conflicts of interest and incestuous nature of this whole arrangement boggle the mind,” said Tony Post, executive director of the South Dakota GOP. “Senator Johnson is refusing to comment on the problematic activities of his own staffer while his son, whose plum federal appointment he orchestrated, is in charge of enforcing some of the relevant laws involved. On top of that, Senator Johnson is the former Chairman of the Senate Ethics committee and should be well-versed in the details of what his staff are allowed to do and what they aren’t. It’s time for Senator Johnson to level with the people of South Dakota and address this ethical trainwreck. Senator Johnson needs to get Matt Varilek off the federal government payroll immediately or order him to stop campaigning,” said Post.

31 U.S.C. § 1301(a), states that monies appropriated by Congress may only be spent for the purposes for which they were appropriated. This provision bars the misapplication or misuse of federal funds by federal agency personnel. That is, funds appropriated by Congress for an agency or a federal office for official purposes, may not be diverted and used for partisan political campaigns.


SD GOP calls on US Attorney to investigate Varilek

US Attorney Brendan Johnson

South Dakota Executive Director Tony Post is on a roll! Below is a new press release from the SD GOP:

SDGOP Calls on U.S. Attorney to Investigate Senator Johnson Staffer for Hatch Act Violations

PIERRE- South Dakota Republican Party officials are calling on U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson to launch a full investigation into potential violations of federal law by a senior staffer for Senator Tim Johnson.

“U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson should immediately begin an investigation into a possible violation of federal law that occurred this week when a senior staffer for Senator Johnson attended a campaign event as a potential candidate for federal office while still on the government payroll,” said SDGOP Executive Director Tony Post.

Matt Varilek, a senior staffer for Senator Tim Johnson who earns approximately $90,000 per year, reportedly attended a Democratic Party rally in Mitchell this week where he delivered vitriolic campaign-style personal attacks against Rep. Kristi Noem. Varilek has said he is looking at possibly challenging Noem. He has also recorded a campaign-style video for a ‘Draft Varilek’ website.

“South Dakotans have a right to know whether their hard-earned tax dollars are being used to subsidize a nascent political campaign. Varilek needs to immediately come clean with expense records showing that he has not violated the Hatch Act, which puts restrictions and prohibitions on federal government employees from certain political activities.”

Brendon Johnson received his appointment to the U.S. Attorney position with the help of his father, Senator Tim Johnson.


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.

Johnson staffer criticizes Noem

Matt Varilek

Senator Tim Johnson staffer criticized Congresswoman Kristi Noem in his recent meeting with the Davison County Democrats. I’m not sure what the senate rules are, but I’m quite sure that his paycheck comes from the tax payers – not a political organization. To me it is at least poor taste on Varilek’s part. Unless he resigns, Varilek needs to remember that it is Senator Johnson’s job to handle the campaign and his to serve the public for the greater good, not political grandstand like a partisan hack, throwing around wild accusations.

He said she has supported continuing subsidies for big oil and gas in Congress and he wonders why, since there are no such businesses in South Dakota and the country is in need of tax revenue.

Varilek said a close look at Noem?s campaign finance reports shows she has received thousands of dollars from Exxon, Chevron, Halliburton and other oil and gas companies.

?All of a sudden that vote doesn?t look so mysterious anymore,? he said.

Interesting comments Mr. Varilek. Does your employer want to go on record backing up your statement?

Varilek said he was struck by Noem?s words when he attended a speech she gave recently in which she said politics are too polarized.

?Well, I couldn?t agree more,? he said. ?But that?s kind of like Goliath calling David the bully.?

Interesting Mr. Varilek. Does your boss care to go on the record agreeing with your statement?

I think the real question is whether Senator Johnson agrees with his rogue senate staffer on these issues?

Allowing Varilek to take this type of action against another member of South Dakota’s DC delegation tells me two things. 1. Senator Tim Johnson isn’t running for reelection; his career is coming to an end allowing his staff to speak freely without jeopardizing his future electoral success or 2. with the continuous talk about Rounds and Noem as possible senate candidates in ’14, Senator Johnson’s staff is growing increasingly concerned that they will be out of a job come November 2014.

Barth may soon get an opponent in the Democratic primary for the right to challenge Noem, but I can’t stop thinking how weak these two offerings appear.

New website by SD GOP

A new website created by the South Dakota Republican party, is a very useful tool and a great way to stay informed and connected with all that is happening in politics across our state. I recommend everyone take a look at this site by clicking on the picture or this link. Remember to bookmark it to your favorites bar.

SDTweets is a tweet aggregator: An unfilitered, raw stream of updates from SD lawmakers, political staffers, and members of the press. Tweets appear in real time and provide a snapshot of the news of the moment. Our aim is to become the go-to site for South Dakota politics.

This is the kind of inovation that will serve our party well and just one of the many great ideas to come from SD GOP Executive Director Tony Post.