PIERRE — Twelve legislators and one organization claim they would face illegal conflicts and therefore filed the lawsuit seeking to block parts or all of Initiated Measure 22, known as the Anti-Corruption Act, from taking effect.
South Dakota voters approved IM 22 on Nov. 8. Most of its provisions took effect as law on Nov. 16.
One provision sets a $100 limit on gifts to legislators. The definition includes employment and covers family members.
The legislators claiming they would need to quit the Legislature or quit their jobs, or their spouses would need to quit their jobs, are:
Sen. Blake Curd, R-Sioux Falls. His employer, Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital, pays him more than $100 per year and employs a lobbyist at the Legislature.
Sen. Deb Peters, R-Hartford. She is an accountant with clients who pay her more than $100 per year and employ lobbyists at the Legislature.
Sen. Deb Soholt, R-Sioux Falls. She is a registered nurse employed by Avera McKennan and is paid more than $100 per year. Avera McKennan employs a lobbyist at the Legislature.
Rep. Jim Stalzer, R-Sioux Falls. He recently won election to the Senate. His wife, Carol Stalzer, is employed as a nurse by Sanford Health and is paid more than $100 per year. Sanford Health employs a lobbyist at the Legislature.
Sen. Ernie Otten, R-Sioux Falls. His wife, Betty Otten, works for Sanford Health and is paid more than $100 per year. Sanford Health employs a lobbyist at the Legislature.
Rep. Kent Peterson, R-Salem. His wife, Cindy Elifrits Peterson, is a business consultant and owner of Maximizing Excellence company. Her clients pay her more than $100 and she provides services to entities that employ lobbyists at the Legislature.
Rep. Mark Willadsen, R-Sioux Falls. He owns a Farmers Insurance agency and receives more than $100 per year from Farmers Insurance Group, which employs a lobbyist at the Legislature.
Rep. David Anderson, R-Hudson. He sells insurance for one or more companies that employ lobbyists at the Legislature and he receives more than $100 per year in compensation.
Sen. Larry Tidemann, R-Brookings; Rep. Jim Bolin, R-Canton, (who was recently elected as a senator); and Rep. Timothy Johns, R-Lead, receive retirement benefits exceeding $100 per year apiece from the South Dakota Retirement System, which employs a lobbyist at the Legislature.
Rep. Mark Mickelson, R-Sioux Falls, serves on the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce board. He estimates the lunches served at the monthly meetings exceed $100 in value. The chamber employs a lobbyist at the Legislature.
In addition the Family Heritage Alliance Action group, based in Rapid City, claims it would be injured.
The Family Heritage group employs a lobbyist at the Legislature named Dale Bartscher and publishes a scorecard at the end of legislative sessions that costs more than $500 to produce and distribute.
There are 12 other legislators who are generally represented in the lawsuit, but don’t list specific personal conflicts, that are seeking to overturn parts or all of IM 22.
They are representatives Lana Greenfield, R-Doland; and Lee Qualm, R-Platte.
They also are senators or senators-elect Gary Cammack, R-Union Center; Justin Cronin, R-Gettysburg; Bob Ewing, R-Spearfish; Brock Greenfield, R-Clark; Terri Haverly, R-Rapid City; Phil Jensen, R-Rapid City; Ryan Maher, R-Isabel; Al Novstrup, R-Aberdeen; Jim White, R-Huron; and John Wiik, R-Big Stone City.
Mickelson is the incoming speaker of the House of Representatives. Qualm is now House Republicans leader. Peterson is now House Republicans assistant leader.
Brock Greenfield is the incoming president pro tem for the Senate. Curd is now Senate Republicans leader. Maher is now Senate Republicans assistant leader.
Cammack was Senate president pro tem during the past year and is president-elect for the South Dakota Retailers Association, which paid to fight against IM 22.
Fighting IM 22 was financed almost entirely by Americans for Prosperity based in Arlington, Virginia. It gave $590,000 and provided $36,755.52 in in-kind help by establishing a Sioux Falls office.
Other contributors included Dan Kirby of Sioux Falls $9,000; Garry Jacobson of Sioux Falls $2,500; South Dakota Retailers Association $5,000; Minnehaha County Republican Party $250; South Dakota Farm Bureau Federation $1,500; South Dakota Chamber of Commerce $500; and Family Heritage Alliance Action $250.
The lawsuit also attacks the creation of an ethics commission and establishing a public financing system for legislative candidates and statewide candidates.
Responsible for defending the new laws is state Attorney General Marty Jackley.
Jackley had warned voters, in the ballot explanation he was required to write, that if passed “the measure may be challenged on constitutional grounds.”
He didn’t tell voters what specifically was open to possible challenge.
Jackley as a state official would be subject to the new law’s restrictions.
The campaign to pass IM 22 received its funding almost entirely from a group called Represent.Us based in Florence, Mass.
The group hadn’t passed its Anti-Corruption Act in a state prior to South Dakota but had won city elections in Tallahassee, Fla., and Seattle, Wash.
For its South Dakota campaign, the organization channeled $663,691.98 from hundreds of small donors throughout the nation and directly donated $633,383.20.
Represent.Us also provided $55,079.86 of in-kind services for South Dakota operations from late May through October.
Additional funding flowed into the IM 22 campaign in the early days of November from allies, including $50,000 from Every Voice based in Washington, D.C.; another $22,000 from Represent.Us; and $2,500 from several contributors.
Starting in February the chairman for the “Yes22” committee supporting the initiated measure campaign was Don Frankenfeld of Rapid City, a Republican former legislator and congressional candidate.
The co-chairman was Darrell Solberg, a Democratic former legislator from Sioux Falls. The treasurer was Rebecca Goeden of Canistota.
In a late May finance report, Yes22 reported $20,000 from Represent.Us and $5,230.27 of in-kind services from the group.
The name and the officer group later changed in July. Frankenfeld remained at the top of what was now named South Dakotans for Integrity, but Henry DeHaan of Sioux Falls became treasurer. Solberg and Goeden weren’t listed.
Another committee supporting IM 22 formed in July 2015 called South Dakotans for Ethics Reform.
Its chairman was Rick Weiland of Sioux Falls, a Democratic candidate for Congress several times in recent decades and a long-time aide to then-U.S. Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle. Its co-chairman was Frankenfeld. Goeden was treasurer.
In October 2015 Dan Foley of Sioux Falls became treasurer.
In the 2015 year-end finance report for South Dakotans for Ethics Reform, the only contributor listed was Represent.Us. The group gave $228,250 and provided $33,638.68 of in-kind services.
The Ethics Reform committee’s May 2016 finance report showed zero in additional cash contributions. It reported another $6,957.10 of in-kind services from Represent.Us.
The Ethics Reform committee’s Oct. 28 finance pre-election finance report again showed zero in additional cash contributions. This time, a group called Take It Back provided $11,125 of in-kind services.
Take It Back is a federal political action committee formed by Weiland and Drey Samuelson, who was chief of staff throughout the 28-year congressional career of now-retired Democratic U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson.
The Nov. 8 election results for IM 22 were 180,580 yes and 169,220 no.
It received approval from majorities of voters in Brookings, Brown, Buffalo, Clay, Custer, Day, Dewey, Fall River, Jerauld, Lake, Lawrence, Lyman, Marshall, Miner, Minnehaha, Moody, Oglala Lakota, Pennington, Roberts, Spink, Todd, Union, Yankton, and Ziebach counties.
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