There is no marriage more sacred to Republicans legislators in South Dakota than the marriage between money and politics.
Backroom campaign financing schemes in Pierre are as old as our state Capitol itself. No-bid contracts, pay-to-play schemes, favored tax rebate programs – the list goes on and on.
In fact, we learned a new trick Corporations play to funnel money to their favored candidates from Senators Larry Rhoden of Union Center, Stan Adelstein of Rapid City, and Bob Gray of Pierre in the Senate today. Corporations can give dividends to employees who then can pass them along to Political Action Committees as personal contributions.
Looks like corporations have all sorts of ways to get around campaign finance restrictions.
So what’s the appropriate response by Republicans to corporations knowingly skirting our campaign finance laws?
Enter Senate Bill 93. SB 93 allows corporations to make direct contributions of up to $10,000 to political action committees (PACs) in South Dakota, and it passed the Senate on Monday, February 7th, 29-6 with only one Republican joining the five Democratic Senators in dissent.
Our Chairman, Ben Nesselhuf, explained the logic pretty well:
“Getting rid of restrictions on money in politics is a lazy response to corporations who get around restrictions on money and politics”.
Nesselhuf characterized Republican support of this bill as analogous to the homeowner who fixes a leaky pipe by flooding the basement. “South Dakotans want fair elections free from the intervention of corporate money. Senate Republicans, including Larry Rhoden, may like wetting their beaks on the tide of corporate money in Pierre, but turning a leak into a flood will only drown out the voices of South Dakota’s citizens.”
Hear, hear, Chairman.