Cliff jumping former House Speaker claiming legislation not needed to prevent lame ducks from sending themselves to Hawaii

Former House Speaker Spencer Gosch, who broke his leg while cliff jumping during a Council of State Governments meeting last month, is speaking out and declaring that legislation isn’t needed to stop things like when he sent himself and Democrat Jamie Smith to Hawaii after both were out from the legislature.  The Hawaiian junket traveling Gosch says that legislators can just choose to do it on the honor system:

Gosch on Sunday told KELOLAND News he was fulfilling his responsibility as speaker.

“I simply allowed elected officials to attend these meetings — as is the policy — to complete their work throughout the years and to speak for the people of South Dakota,” Gosch said.


“Any legislation the Lee Schoenbeck is introducing isn’t necessary as it requires a mere policy change of the E-Board, if they deem it necessary. Even then, the presiding officers would still be able to use discretion.”

Read the entire story here.

What say you, the reader?  Trust the presiding officer’s discretion, as cliff-jumping Gosch demonstrated, when he sent himself and fellow lame duck Jamie Smith to Hawaii?  Or as Schoenbeck proposes, having a stronger rule than “presiding officer’s discretion?”


16 thoughts on “Cliff jumping former House Speaker claiming legislation not needed to prevent lame ducks from sending themselves to Hawaii”

  1. It matters not what any legislators think about this.

    It only matters what the general public thinks about this.

    And the GP thinks Schoenbeck is right.

  2. Gosch trying to pivot the discussion to membership in these organizations is quite funny. This was pure and simple a lame duck junket. It’s happened more than this. A trip to Hawaii is probably more egregious than others, but a review of travel of the last dozen years would show plenty of lame duck travel I’m sure.

  3. I guess I don’t see much difference between lame duck travel and using taxpayer funded Highway Patrolmen as security for trips meant for personal gain.

    1. Im sure you feel the same way when the president travels on trips for personal gain and takes the secret service with him…at tax payers expense.

      1. Stealing is Stealing. Some people just can’t understand that using an organizations money for their own personal use is wrong.

  4. This reader thinks they should still be able to go, but maybe have the lobbyists fund the trips instead of the taxpayers. It amazes me how many votes can be bought with a few thousand dollars. The legislators need to know their value, quit selling out for pennies when you could get a trip to Hawaii for voting on that pipeline.

    1. there are laws preventing lobbyists from this level of gifting. or do you want a new practice of letting bona fide lame duck lawmakers accept gifts from lobbyists?

      1. I believe current limit is $4k per entity, you could get to Hawaii off that. The cliff diving excursion would have to be another entity, or the lawmaker would risk a misdemeanor charge!

  5. Can anybody point to one good idea that has emanated from any of these CSL/NCSL junkets? Does anybody know the price tag associated with JUST the membership, let alone the actual travel & participation? Can’t legislators sit down and Google good ideas if they can’t come up with any on their own? Seems we’d all be money ahead of SD just didn’t send legislators on joyrides.

    1. whether or not you think covid was just a hoax, it proved just how much effective and efficient business of commerce and government can be handled on zoom and teams meetings. but these big spendy conferences are evidently good for tourism so maybe we should host more of them.

  6. As Mr. Gosch indicated, the executive board has broad authority over this sort of thing and a law probably isn’t necessary. Now, the judgement used in deciding to go on a trip under those circumstances is an entirely different issue.

  7. You only live once. “Go for the Gusto” as the old beer commercial advised. The taxpayer is the sucker in this but as that wise old pundit, W.C. Fields observed, “Never give a sucker an even break or wise up a chump.” Gosch seems to be saying, “Lighten up, its only chump change.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *