Dems Demand Noem Donate Dirty Money to Charity

South Dakota Democrats are calling on Congresswoman Kristi Noem to donate to charity the $2,380.00 in contributions she received from former banker Lee C. Peterson of Sioux Falls after he was charged with violating a number of banking and finance regulations.

Peterson exercised unethical behavior to earn his income then gave a sizable contribution to Congresswoman Kristi Noem, notes Ben Nesselhuf, Chairman of the South Dakota Democratic Party.

“There is no rightful place in politics for dirty money from unethical wheelers and dealers – period,” says Nesselhuf. “We hope Kristi Noem will do the right thing and donate every cent she accepted from Mr. Peterson.”

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Peterson, the former President and CEO of First Midwest Bank, allegedly falsified bank records, made material misrepresentations to the bank, failed to disclose material facts to the bank, extended credit without obtaining the requisite loan documents, extended credit in excess of the amount authorized and engaged in self-dealing. Peterson has since been banned from participating in banking or finance operations, and he has agreed to pay a $35,000 fine.

Donating contributions from questionable sources is not a new phenomenon in South Dakota politics. Former Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin donated contributions from Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) last year after he was charged with breaking US House rules on accepting gifts. Senator John Thune donated $2000 in 2006 from close confidant Jack Abramoff, a disgraced DC lobbyist convicted of mail fraud and conspiracy.

“Kristi Noem must show that she does not condone unethical behavior,” says Nesselhuf. “We ask that Noem donate that dirty money to a worthy cause today.”

For more information, please contact Ben Nesselhuf at 605-271-5405 or

– Background –

FDIC Prohibition and FEC Statements

Contributions to Political Committees



08/26/2010 $250.00 10991337843
10/27/2010 $2130.00 10992315577

Ex-banker Banned from Finance

The former president and CEO of First Midwet Bank, Deerfield, has been banned from participating in banking or finance operations for violating a number of regulations. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. issued the order of prohibition to Lee C. Peterson of Sioux Falls in August. Details were released Friday. [Argus Leader, 9.30.11]

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