Twice in the last four months, Republican Rep. Kristi Noem has held or testified at congressional hearings in South Dakota and Washington where the tables were packed with witnesses who between themselves, their employees and their families have given her a total of more than $19,000 in campaign contributions.
People and businesses who are affected by legislation tend to be actively involved in politics. Some donate to both sides, some to only one. Should we disqualify anyone connected to political donations from testifying? Consider the case with former Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.
At one hearing last year in Sioux Falls on the Farm Bill hosted by former Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, the witnesses represented $21,250 in contributions to Herseth Sandlin?s campaign. The bottom line is simple, South Dakota is a small state with a small donor base who are active on the issues. Just because witnesses contribute to a campaign doesn’t mean the issue didn’t get a fair hearing.
House Agriculture Committee Farm Bill Field Hearing in Sioux Falls, SD May 18, 2010
Witnesses Tied To Contributions:
1) Mr. Gary Duffy, corn, soybean, wheat, alfalfa, hog and beef producer, Oldham, South Dakota
Mr. Duffy gave $250 in campaign contributions to Herseth Sandlin.
STEPHANIE HERSETH SANDLIN FOR SOUTH DAKOTA $250 04/07/10
2) Mr. Doug Sombke, corn, wheat, soybean and beef producer, Conde, South Dakota
Mr. Sombke gave $1,250 in personal campaign contributions to Herseth Sandlin
STEPHANIE HERSETH SANDLIN FOR SOUTH DAKOTA $250 08/18/10
STEPHANIE HERSETH SANDLIN FOR SOUTH DAKOTA $500 02/14/08
STEPHANIE HERSETH SANDLIN FOR SOUTH DAKOTA $250 09/27/07
STEPHANIE HERSETH SANDLIN FOR SOUTH DAKOTA $250 10/17/06
Doug Sombke is President of the South Dakota Farmers Union.
3.) National Farmers Union gave $9,750 in PAC contributions to Herseth Sandlin
Farmers Union PAC 2010 – $250
Farmers Union PAC 2008 – $1000
Farmers Union PAC 2006 – $1500
Farmers Union PAC 2004 – $5000
Farmers Union PAC 2002 – $2000
4) Dr. Scott Weishaar, biofuels representative, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
POET PAC gave $10,000 in PAC contributions to Herseth Sandlin
POET PAC 2010 – $10,000