God is going to use this state very strategically to tear down national strongholds… from this place [Pierre, SD] the nation will begin to be legislated. – Bound4LIFE September Newsletter
I spent a lot of my holiday weekend being curious about campaign finance law and how it relates to the South Dakota abortion ban. Specifically I’m as curious as any South Dakotan about the potentially illegal $750,000 donation SD Legislator Roger Hunt’s Promising Future Corporation gave to the VoteYesForLife committee.
Turns out blogger SD Progressive (with Coat Hangers at Dawn’s echoing) got it wrong when they said “Not one disclosed dollar on the Vote Yes committee filing is from Steve Kirby.” Page 22 of the report (PDF) contains Steve Kirby’s name and $1000 donation. I’m not saying that means it’s not his $750,000. I’m just agreeing it’s hard to do research.
Yes, that’s right, I read with interest the Pre-election Campaign Finance Reports this weekend. I suppose if a South Dakotan has the right to know who’s trying to influence them in an election; this South Dakotan might as well exercise that right.
My favorite part of the VoteYesForLife report (PDF) is the un-required pie chart showing 65% of donations were from South Dakota contributors. But wait! Take away the mysterious, anonymous, potentially illegal $750,000 donation and you get 42% of donations from South Dakota contributors. Nice!
I also reviewed the list of South Dakota Ballot Committees to see which groups worked for an outcome on the abortion ban. I see that Bound4LIFE is not on the list. Bound4LIFE didn't submit a campaign finance report.
Here's where I got stuck. I had the laws all lined up. I had the evidence...and then the word election jumped out at me. Election (person) versus ballot question (not a person). So now all I have is some lines from the local daily:
"Disclosure law requires campaigns for statewide candidates and ballot issues to file finance reports that cover activity up to 10 days before a general election..." - Argus Leader (Or so they've been told.)
"The issues involved in the complaints are covered by current laws. If that association did collect and receive money to influence a ballot question, it, too, is covered (by existing law)." - Secretary of State Chris Nelson
If these two statements are true, why couldn't I connect the dots to the law? Because "Campaign finance laws get 'F' in S.D."
"Ballot question committees present more difficulties than candidates...you don't always even know they exist until they're brought to your attention." - Attorney General Larry Long
Did Bound4LIFE raise money?
Did Bound4LIFE spend money?
"My team and I are packing boxes this week and will be leaving on Monday. It has been an extreme pleasure to live in South Dakota for the last three and half months." - Matt Lockett
Did Bound4LIFE try to influence the outcome of a ballot question?
Maybe by the time the abortion ban bill comes around again Pierre, SD will be ready to legislate something as simple as campaign finance.
The Christian Gallery News Service was also not on the list. Since they don’t even pretend to be responsible, it doesn’t surprise me that they didn’t file.