Republicans Again Vote Against Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Reform
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The South Dakota Democratic Party released the following statement from Executive Director Sam Parkinson in response to Republicans in the State Legislature killing Democratic legislators’ efforts to increase government transparency and enact meaningful campaign finance reform:
“After state government scandals like EB-5 and Gear-UP, the need for more transparency and accountability in government and meaningful campaign finance reform is obvious to anyone who doesn’t have a vested political or financial interest in keeping the status quo in place. As was made clear by the passage of Initiated Measure 22 – The Anti-Corruption Act – in 2016, the people of South Dakota see this need, and want real reform in our state government and the financing of our elections.
“Today, Democrats put forth three bills to help increase openness and accountability in state government and enact meaningful campaign finance reform. SB 192 would have made government correspondence, such as emails, public records under South Dakota law, so that documents produced using taxpayer funds would be available to taxpayers to review and investigate. SB 129 would have re-instated the campaign finance limits passed by the voters in Initiated Measure 22, which were repealed by the Republican majority in the 2017 Legislative Session.
“Finally, HB 1267 would have prohibited campaign contributions from certain government contractors and certain attorneys. This bill would have helped end any potential for “pay-to-play” in South Dakota. It would have helped ensure politicians and state officials do not reward their donors with government contracts and that contractors do not repay politicians with donations after being awarded contracts. It would also end potential conflicts of interest in the Attorney General office by prohibiting donations to candidates for Attorney General from attorneys who are part of legal action against the state. The need for this section of the bill is made clear by the fact that around the same time Attorney General Marty Jackley was tasked with defending state law in a case involving Initiated Measure 22, a political action committee benefiting Jackley received a $20,000 contribution from the political arm of the law firm Jackley was supposed to be fighting in court. Ultimately, Jackley’s office lost the case to the law firm that made the $20,000 contribution.
“While the Republican majority in Pierre continues to do everything it can to protect their political power, and the power of special interests and corporations to control our government and our elections, South Dakota Democrats will keep fighting for real reforms in government ethics and openness and campaign finance reforms. The people of South Dakota should be able to have confidence that their government is open and honest, and that their elections are determined by a battle of ideas, not of checkbooks. This November, voters will remember who was fighting for them.”