Democrat author of bipartisan ethics reform measure challenges misconceptions in Argus article on IM22.

If you recall the disastrous mess South Dakotans had on their hands with Slick Rick Weiland’s Initiated Measure 22 this session, we were faced with a new set of laws which made felons out of people for being married to the wrong person. Not to mention that the measure had been noted as unconstitutional by Judge Mark Barnett as it was challenged by a group of lawmakers.

It ground a lot of legislative business – and interactions between constituents and lawmakers – to a halt as legislative leaders came up with a multi-pronged solution. One of these solutions was proposed by Democrat State Representative Karen Soli of Sioux Falls who offered a a State Government Accountability Board plan, which found bipartisan support among her colleagues on both sides of the aisle.

In recent weeks, Argus Leader reporter Dana Ferguson wrote an article attacking the soli measure, as the headline screamed that the “Ethics Bill Lost Teeth on Way to Law Status.”  This past weekend, Democrat State Representative Karen Soli responded with an opinion article of her own, and pointed out why the Argus Leader was off base in it’s criticism:

A few weeks ago, the Argus Leader published an article titled, “Ethics Bill Lost Teeth on Way to Law Status.” As the author and prime sponsor of House Bill 1076, An Act to create a State Government Accountability Board, I want to correct several misconceptions included in the article.


During the 2016 session I was involved in the creation of a bill proposing an ethics board that was defeated in committee. I wanted this bill to be directed toward misconduct in the executive branch, to be strong and effective, and to pass in a bipartisan manner. I am very grateful that this happened.

During the first weeks of the session I worked with the state’s Republican leadership to strengthen and refine the proposal. Since other bills were being brought to improve the oversight of legislators (Senate Bill 151), HB 1076 filled the gap of holding the executive branch accountable, including elected officials such as the Governor, Secretary of State and hundreds of employees in multiple departments. Once IM22 was repealed, Republicans became even more interested in supporting the accountability board.

In my many visits with our state’s leaders I discovered another motivator for their support of this bill – they were heartbroken and disturbed by the GearUp and EB-5 scandals. They were concerned about the lives lost, as well as the public money diverted from good causes, such as helping young Natives go to college.

If there were something we all could do to prevent this kind of thing from happening again, they, with me, believed we needed to do it.


This important legislation has created a much-needed and strong ethics committee for the executive branch of our state government. It deserves accurate reporting. A better title for an article on the development of the new State Government Accountability Board in this year’s legislative session would be, “Great Strides Made Toward Ethical Accountability in State Government.”

Read the entire article here.

Interesting how in the headlines, the Argus Leader blasted the needed changes by stating “Ethics Bill Lost Teeth on Way to Law Status,”  and uses a vanilla “My Voice: State Government Accountability Board defense” on the response from the measure’s author.

Check out the article from Representative Soli. It’s worth your read.

4 thoughts on “Democrat author of bipartisan ethics reform measure challenges misconceptions in Argus article on IM22.”

  1. How does an ethics board prevent a future Gear-Up or EB5 scandal? Won’t it solely (Soli?) identify a scandal merely after the damage has already been done?

    Let it be known, that Rep. Soli had voiced her opposition to IM 22 during the 2016 election cycle. She thought the “Democracy Credits’ were not realistic. But when I asked her how a law could not be “realistic,” her only response was that she did not come here (a Democratic meeting) to be abused…… What?

    After IM 22 passed, Rep. Soli then voiced concerns (at another Democratic meeting) about IM 22 and how much a lobbyist could pay to entertain legislators under that measure. And this is all quite interesting, when you consider that her bill tries to rein in executive branch misdeeds, but what about potential legislative misdeeds? How are they being reined in?

    I also heard, that Rep. Soli was known to vote against SNAP increases in committee even though she represents District 15, which has a large low income constituency, which is heavily dependent upon programs like SNAP to feed their families….. Go figure?

    And as far as having her run for governor, well, if she won, I can guarantee you, that there would be free cookies for everyone, but little “SNAP” (What about gingersnap cookies?). Because as the former Minnehaha County State Central Committeewomen, her main concern was primarily to make sure that people signed up to bring cookies for the next meeting….. I guess free cookies at a Democratic meeting is kind of like free donuts from lobbyist in Pierre, if you are a legislator, that is… So I guess habits or dependencies are hard and not fun to break, huh?…..Unless you put such a requirement only upon others or other branches of government, that is……

    1. So you figure a bills worth by how much “free stuff” it gives out? Is that buying votes?
      Your logic to follow your ideology bends you into a pretzel at times.

      1. Nice try! I judge a bill by whether it helps or not. We can debate whether we like or do not like the SNAP program, but it is not “free stuff” unless you are willing to call all federal Ag programs “free stuff.” You do know where the SNAP program originally came from, don’t you? It came from the genesis of legislative ideas supported by then Senators Bob Dole and George McGovern, who saw such a program as not only lessening hunger in America, but also helping the American farmer to sell his/her products. So I will leave it up to you as to whether you thought Dole and McGovern just wanted votes or were they also concerned about hunger too.

        As far as buying votes, well, is fighting crime buying votes or completing a municipal need? Is supporting federal Ag programs just buying votes or is it to develop our agricultural production, which helps to strengthen our national economy?…… Oh, and by the way, I like a good pretzel from time to time…….

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