The corruption & secrecy of the SD GOP continues

Not sure when this article was written (somewhere between 2002-2009?) because there is no published date or author, but it is an intriguing interview with the last Democratic Treasurer, his take on secrecy and corruption in Pierre, and how the media contributed (ignored) the secrecy;

Since serving as Treasurer of South Dakota, Dick Butler has overhauled banking practices, overhauled primary banking contracts of colleges and universities, overhauled collateralization of public deposits and in six years returned unclaimed properties accounts that totaled more than 500% of what had been returned to citizens during the previous 20 years combined. Millions of dollars have been returned to South Dakota citizens through his efforts.

During the time Butler has been Treasurer his actions have been the impetus for the creation of a gag law intended to silence his efforts. The Commissioner of Banking in South Dakota, Richard Duncan, wrote a memo to all state banks in South Dakota advising them not to give information to Butler regarding executive accounts, and a bill was proposed that was intended to strip the State Treasurer of his banking authority for colleges and universities.

The controversial gag law, spurred by Janklow, was passed in 1996. It closed some corporate records and prohibited state officials from discussing information on investigations into the actions of corporations.

Isn’t it ironic that Butler rightfully performed his job, and what does the GOP do? Pass a law preventing him from doing so. Fast forward to 2013, where are current governor is bragging about all this money the state is receiving in unclaimed property. Why does the governor have this money? Because the state treasurers since Butler have made ZERO effort to return it.

I also find it ironic that Butler calls out Mercer for not reporting any of this while it was happening, fast forward again to 2013 where Mercer is crying to AG Jackboots for not giving him information on Benda’s death. Geez, Bob, are you surprised? Oh that’s right, when Janklow’s administration did these things, you turned the other way . . .

And here is another classic from 2009, about the secrecy of ‘The Governor’s Club’. Same cast of characters protecting the past while securing the secrecy and money of the future;

The Governor’s Club has been a discrete part of political fundraising in South Dakota for more than 30 years. For a $1,000 donation, contributors buy a place at the table – and a position of potential influence – with South Dakota’s governor at club events that are not open to the general public.

Lucas Lentsch, executive director for the South Dakota Republican Party in Pierre, said it would be wrong to presume that $1,000 club members get “perks or additional access” to the governor.

Oh Lucas Losemylunch, you are a funny one;

And there are state contract holders on the Governor’s Club list. They include former state Attorney General Roger Tellinghuisen, a Spearfish lawyer with $75,000 legal services contract; Dr. Michael Rost of Sioux Falls, whose company has about $400,000 in contracts; Tom Adam of Pierre, a partner in a Pierre law firm with a $350,000 in contract; and Sioux Falls lawyer Doug Hajek, a member of the Davenport, Evans, Hurwitz & Smith firm, which holds a $700,000 state contract.

Knudson is with Davenport, Evans, too. But he says the corporate structure is designed so that he doesn’t benefit financially from the state contracts.

Maybe so, Hauffe said, but the whole mix of money, personal connections and no-bid contracts is more proof that the public needs more details on how where the money starts, how it flows, and where it ends up.

Now we are here, 4 years later, the same corruption, secrecy, back door deals and same old characters involved. Here’s the deal folks, Janklow is dead, we don’t need to be scared of the man anymore (like we should have when he was alive), one of his appointees is dead (Benda), it’s time to blow the lid off of the SD GOP and their destruction of this state for their financial gain.


#1 anonymous2 on 12.30.13 at 1:06 pm

More people should contact “60 Minutes” and ask them to come out to South Dakota to do some investigative reporting. We could keep them busy for years.

#2 John on 12.30.13 at 8:21 pm

60 Minutes is so last century – have you seen their PR puff-pieces on the NSA or the Bengazi hearings? No, turn the inquires over to Mercer, Madville, or the MinnPost.

#3 tara volesky on 12.30.13 at 9:11 pm

This will be one of the most important elections for the Governor’s race in the history of SD. The voters need to wake up and realize the seriousness of what is happening in SD politics. We are a State of Cronyism, Nepotism, Favoritism and Corruption. We need to rise up and vote Mike Myers who is an Independent and who is Not for $ale. He is a candidate for the people, not the big money, corporate special interests. Check out his fb page….Mike Myers for Governor. Thanks

#4 l3wis on 12.30.13 at 9:14 pm

Well, Tara, I like Mike, but after hearing Joe Lowe speak tonight, I am leaning his way, smart, funny and full of leadership.

#5 Winston on 12.31.13 at 4:44 pm

It is amazing how the Janklow crowd is still willingly to come-over to the Democratic corner, even after the death of “Wild Bill,” with Mercer’s work on the EB5 scandal and now Gene Abdallah’s endorsement of former Senator Larry Pressler (assuming that Pressler’s candidacy benefits the Democrats at the Republicans’ expense). But, I think this movement speaks more to the Janklow crowds’ interest in dethroning the Rounds/Daugaard political clique than any genuine interest in transparency and/or electing Pressler to the Senate once again.

If you care to recall, Abdallah was called “Uncle Gene” at Janklow’s funeral, when the late Governor’s son gave his eulogy of his father. I ask, what is “Uncle Gene” doing trying to elect Pressler to the Senate now? Especially, If you subscribe to the theory that the Janklow crowd never had any time for Pressler and the only reason Janklow entered the 2002 Congressional race was to stop Pressler from getting the nomination; because Janklow and others did not think Diedrich could defeat Pressler in a Republican Congressional primary that year. But the answer to that question is that the Janklow crowd really does not believe Pressler can win in 2014, but Pressler’s candidacy could stop Rounds, and further development and reporting on the EB5 story by Mercer could further serve to derail not only Rounds, but hopefully in their minds, Daugaard too.

In many ways this is a continuation of the old Abdnor/Janklow fight within the South Dakota Republican Party. It explains why the Janklow crowd appeared to hedge their bits in the 2002 and 2010 gubernatorial races with their candidates being found on each side of the aisle like Barnett/Abbott in 2002 and Knudtson/Heidepriem in 2010. As Democrats we should welcome this tangent political strategy and not look a gift horse in the mouth, but if the Abdullah’s endorsement gets out of hand and no one comes to Mercer’s aid soon, then the strategy will, I am afraid, falter…. unless the Feds help out some how…..

#6 Testor15 on 12.31.13 at 5:51 pm

Uncle Gene is backing Larry because Uncle Gene was nominated to US Marshall position by Larry.

#7 Winston on 12.31.13 at 6:57 pm

That sounds like a good spin…..

#8 Detroit Lewis on 01.01.14 at 1:49 am

The only way this will all work is if the SD GOP finally gets caught biting the heads off of kittens on LIVE TV (EB-5 metaphor) . . . or maybe not.

#9 Ol'Bubbleguts on 01.01.14 at 4:46 am

Off topic but I moved and used to vote at Lambert
Where do I change my district or area since I plan on
h8 voting against MMM come this Nov.

#10 Winston on 01.01.14 at 2:09 pm

Speaking of kittens, I have always thought Bubbles looks like the son of …….

#11 Detroit Lewis on 01.04.14 at 12:09 pm

Winston, just want you to know I wasted an entire afternoon watching the clips. Then I rubbed cat food on my cheeks. LOL!