Why disqualify experts who are donors?

Kristi Noem

The Rapid City Journal and Aberdeen American News ran an Associated Press story about those who have testified on behalf of Kristi Noem’s legislation concerning the dust bill and pine beetles.

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.

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.


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





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

17 Replies to “Why disqualify experts who are donors?”

  1. Job Creator

    Interested parties should not be shut out from testifying. In Noem’s case, it was fantastic that Lien did testify. His testimony proved that Noem’s bill was not really about farm dust, and that she was trying to do an end-run with the bill’s definitions to endorse the dust pollution created by Lien’s quarries. Apparently, Kristi thought that no one would read the bill and discover what it really meant. She’s bound to get smarter…. isn’t she?

  2. Anonymous

    Who cares she campaigned on being against Govt who spent to much.Let the dust go and the pine beetlessubsidy Queen you say we spend to much then your for farm subsidies.If farmers cant make a living on 6.50 corn and 12 dollars a bushel beans get out offarming.Quit supporting these things as if you hadnt received farm subsidiesin the past .Sounds like Thune do as I say not as I do.

  3. Arrowhead

    Why is Noem getting all of this bad press lately?

    Boehner event, EPA, now this. She has had it rough lately…

  4. Spencer

    I like this AP story. It is both flexible enough that it can be used in all 435 districts and extensive enough to apply to liberals and conservatives and anyone in between. Basically, reuse this headline: “‘Insert name here’ donation hearings”…great news story Aberdeen American.

    Apparently, no one was having a collectable salt and pepper shaker auction sale again this week to cover; so, they decided to wade into politics. Careful, it’s getting a little deep; isn’t it?

  5. anonymous

    Didn’t Stephanie Herseth Sandlin also vote with Nancy Peolosa 97.43 percent of the time? Not exactly what I would call a legislative role model. I expected more from Noem. I hope a real candidate mounts a primary campaign.

    1. coffee house

      No one knows anything about Noem. Was her hunting lodge successful? Was her mom’s restaurant successful? How long were they open? How old was she when she ran it?

      None of us know anything about her outside of what she says.

  6. caheidelberger

    Campaign donors who buy their way into the oppprtunity to testify are only slightly more reliable than GOP operatives who publish blog posts under a false name.

    1. Anonymous

      You forgot to list lobbyists in your reliable catagory below the campaign donors. Is that because both Daschle and Sandlin
      are employed as such and both happen to be Dems? Just wondering.

  7. Maxine

    Maybe it looks bad but I don’t think it is wrong. Noem will have a fairly tough reelection fight but I feel she’ll win with at least 55% of the vote. But her handlers need to be more savy and start doing a better job.