Friday, February 10, 2017

SD GOP killed ethics measure approved by voters; prevented them from passing it again

In November, South Dakota voters approved an anti-corruption referendum, Measure 22, intended to limit the influence of campaign cash and interloping lobbyists. The South Dakota GOP overturned the law with an "emergency clause."
     Voters won't be able to resurrect the referendum.
     Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) claimed the initiative was the work of out of state "scam artists" and that voters were "hoodwinked."
     Pender, Nebraska Native Drey Samuelson, who was instrumental in the advancement of Measure 22, served as former senator Tim Johnson’s (D) chief of staff for 28 years and co-founded, the group that pushed the measure locally with backing from a Massachusetts organization,
     More from the Washington Post:
[State Rep. Larry] Rhoden said lawmakers are considering replacement ethics legislation and added there was no rush to do something: “We are pretty squeaky clean, and I can say that with a great deal of pride in South Dakota; the ethics among the people that serve the state in the legislature, I would call impeccable.”
    The nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity recently ranked South Dakota 47th in the nation for accountability, largely because of its lax lobbying laws. “Little to none of [state legislative and lobbyist interaction] is reported to the public in any detail,” the report said.
     The state has been wracked by two major ethics scandals in the past two years: Investigations into misuse of the federal green card program for wealthy immigrant investors and the theft by a private company of more than $1 million of federal grant money to help Native Americans get ready for college.
     As a grim aside, people implicated in both scandals either committed suicide or murder or both.

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