TenHaken donor gives his children quite the allowance

“Hey Johnny, I’m going to give you $1,010 this week for an allowance,” Dad. “WOW! Thanks Dad. What did I do to deserve it?” Johnny. “Ah, there’s a catch, $10 is for you and you are going to do your civic duty and experience your first campaign contribution by giving the remainder $1,000 to the mayoral candidate of your choice, who of course isn’t a Democrat, or a woman.”

Mr. Eric McDonald, who is the CEO of DocuTap, gave his $1,000 limit, than it seems his children (who I believe are all under 18)* gave their $1,000 limit (Eric’s name is spelled incorrectly below, Full document from TenHaken financial report: 20180305-TenHaken-cfdr)

*It is okay for people under the age of 18 to contribute to campaigns.

While it is not against the law for people under the age of 18 to contribute to a political campaign, where it becomes questionable is HOW that contribution was given. Did Eric just cut a $6,000 check to TenHaken and whip his kid’s names on the finance report? Or did each kid write a check from separate accounts? And if they did, will they file taxes and report those contributions? Also, if the children do have their own accounts (how cute) where does the money come from? The irony is I don’t even think some of Eric’s kids are even old enough to hold a pen.

As I have mentioned before, it comes down to ‘ETHICS’ with Paul. And while this appears to be legal, it certainly is ethically questionable for toddlers to be donating $1,000 to TenHaken’s campaign.


#1 "Very Stable Genius" on 04.17.18 at 11:51 am

This is just further proof that ThuneHaken represents a totally different crowd than the average Sioux Fallsian.

Wake up Sioux Falls before it’s too late!

And I wonder what is his affirmative defense to all of this, that at least it’s not stealing candy from a kid?


#2 "Very Stable Genius" on 04.17.18 at 11:59 am

Oh, better yet, if these are legitimate contributions, then do we really want politicians talking kids into giving them a $1000 each? And that can only not be a concern, if it is really not their money, but then whose money is it? Was it their fathers and or mothers? If so, then those are illegal contributions.

#3 D@ily Spin on 04.17.18 at 11:59 am

Unethical and unprofessional but prolly legal. If TenHaken is this hard up for support, is he worthy of becoming mayor?

#4 l3wis on 04.17.18 at 12:08 pm

VSG – Exactly. Was this just a $6000 check from Eric or did he hand Paul $6000 in cash and said, “BTW, $5000 of this is from the kids.” (Wink, Wink, nod, nod, giggle).

#5 Knothead Peasant on 04.17.18 at 12:14 pm

What was this Lords name again? Ten Huether as in Ten times Huether or Ten Haken.

#6 "Very Stable Genius" on 04.17.18 at 12:22 pm

Absolutely! Either Paul took advantage of some kids or this is just blatant political money laundering….. So what’s their response?…

And the media, well, it maybe time to forget about Pizza Ranch and instead go to McDonalds, I mean the family.

Quite frankly, this bothers me more than a family stealing some complimentary free buffet cards too. Neither is right, but political money laundering can quickly make a mockery of our political system….Plus, there will always be more pizza eventually coming from the oven….

And, if we allow this to be a standard practice in our city elections, then what stops an other wealthy family from doing the same?

#7 scott on 04.17.18 at 1:24 pm

this sounds like something everyone’s favorite pay day lender would do, and get away with.


#8 voter on 04.17.18 at 3:48 pm

Shalom Christian Reformed Church endorses TenHaken…….

CEO of DocuTap, Eric McDonald’s, SIX children contribute $6,000 to TenHaken’s campaign

TWO Downtown evangelists……

Is this really who you want to lead our city!?

#9 Peter "Mega" Pischke on 04.17.18 at 4:21 pm

I’m pretty sure that is a no-no. You can get as much money as you want from relatives 3 degrees from you (Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother, Uncle, Aunt, Daughter, etc.)

This is what got my man Dnesh Dsouza in trouble.

While I don’t blame the candidates campaign,as more often than not the donations are given via the internet thus automatic systems. So when you finally catch it, you may have already spent it.

Still, if the campaign realizes they need to return it. And perhaps McDonald should receive a visit from some legal authorities.

Last word: People on both parties skirt these campaign finance laws every single day. It isn’t a partisan thing. I guarantee the Jo campaign is seeing this too.

That doesn’t make it right, just the reality of it.

#10 Briggs on 04.17.18 at 4:29 pm

12-27-12. Disguised contributions prohibited–Misdemeanor. No person or entity may make a contribution in the name of another person or entity, make a contribution disguised as a gift, make a contribution in a fictitious name, make a contribution on behalf of another person or entity, or knowingly permit another to use that person’s or entity’s name to make a contribution. No candidate may knowingly accept a contribution disguised as a gift. A violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor. A subsequent offense within a calendar year is a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Source: SL 2007, ch 80, § 12; SL 2008, ch 67, § 5; SL 2017, ch 222 (Initiated Measure 22), § 13, eff. Nov. 16, 2016; SL 2017, ch 72, § 12, eff. Feb. 2, 2017; SL 2017, ch 71, § 12.

#11 Peter "Mega" Pischke on 04.17.18 at 4:39 pm

This is more a problem of the donor than the candidate generally speaking.

Both sides, and most major campaigns have people skirting campaign finance law. Which doesn’t bother me all that much but I do know it is important to a lot of people.

Only relatives in the 3rd degree from you are allowed to donate as much as they want. Everyone else has the $1000 limit.

#12 Mike H. on 04.17.18 at 5:15 pm

Seems like the donkey party is worried about Jolene Burdine not getting enough support.
TenHaken runs a successful company and has Christian values. Loetscher can’t remember her own name and keeps basking in the glory of her accomplishment in Pierre.
Keep whining and crying JoJo. The debates upcoming will show who the strongest candidate to lead this city will be.

#13 "Very Stable Genius" on 04.17.18 at 5:19 pm

“This is more a problem of the donor than the candidate generally speaking.”

….. Unless it is just one $ 6000 check, then the recipient facilitated in the matter.

Given all of the money that ThuneHaken has raised, it is not like he needed this money. But it does speak to what he is willing to do, or allow to happen, as mayor, however.

With transparency being a big deal now days in Sioux Falls, I am not so sure that ThuneHaken’s campaign financial disclosures quite make the grade when it comes to transparency.

When they say “follow the money,” it is not only a clue to who, but also a clue to what some are willing to do…..

#14 "Very Stable Genius" on 04.17.18 at 5:45 pm

Mike H.,

Since when is political money laundering a form of “Christian values?”……..Oh that’s right, I forgot, it’s just a “Mulligan,” right?

#15 scott on 04.17.18 at 7:53 pm

vsg, read your bible. i think there’s something in there about Jesus laundering money. perhaps mike h can tell us which verse.

#16 Rachel on 04.17.18 at 8:49 pm

But Paul is a conservative Christian, so he obviously beyond reproach ethically. Oops, my tongue got stuck in my cheek.

#17 "Very Stable Genius" on 04.17.18 at 9:27 pm


He’s probably to preoccupied with the Old Testament. But if he checks the New Testament, he might find a passage about Jesus’ distain for the “Money changers,” however…. And we definitely have some money changing going on here, don’t we?

#18 Lilly on 04.17.18 at 10:35 pm

The person who gave all of these donations via his minor children is a friend and business associate of TenHaken’s. TenHaken had to know.

#19 Warren Phear on 04.18.18 at 6:42 am

Federal election laws are written like this. Amounts are a little different, but the basic law? Is the law on campaign contributions within the city of SF different than this? If so, in what way?


An individual who is under 18 years old may make contributions to candidates and political committees, subject to the limit of $2,700 per election, if:

The decision to contribute is made knowingly and voluntarily by the minor;

The funds, goods or services contributed are owned or controlled by the minor, proceeds from a trust for which he or she is a beneficiary or funds withdrawn by the minor from a financial account opened and maintained in his or her name; AND

The contribution is not made using funds given to the minor as a gift for the purpose of making the contribution, and is not in any way controlled by another individual.

#20 Mitch Bartlett on 04.18.18 at 4:17 pm

Also listed is ABG LLC, a company at the same address and suite as DocuTap.

#21 anonymous on 04.18.18 at 4:29 pm

no matter which one is elected mayor

this is not getting off to a great start

one candidate is endorsed by a church

and accepts $6,000 in contributions from 6 minor children

the other candidate seems to not want to reveal her full legal name (loetscher burdine)

#22 l3wis on 04.18.18 at 5:27 pm

Loetscher is her professional name, so it doesn’t bother me she goes by it, she has for years, as a reporter and as the host of City Scene. She has been very vocal about her family and husband Nate Burdine. Hyphenated names are confusing, why do you think TenHaken took out the space?

#23 Truth on 04.18.18 at 8:26 pm

Unethical? Following letter of the law sounds ethical to me. If you don’t want minors to be able to contribute and change the law.
And Jolene have something to hide because of what name she uses? Give me a break everyone move on here. You people are pathetic.

#24 "Very Stable Genius" on 04.18.18 at 9:48 pm


Unless it is from an established trust from a third party, isn’t a child’s money actually their parents? So the contributions were from the children in name only and actually from the parents, and thus in violation of the limits.

#25 Davis on 04.18.18 at 10:44 pm

“Loetscher can’t remember her own name”

That’s a fairly idiotic argument considering TenHaken isn’t Paul’s real last name either. He assumed people were too dumb to know how to say his name with a space in the middle, so let’s not go down this childish path.

Back to the topic at hand – I find it rather disturbing that someone would use a loophole to funnel campaign cash from their minor children to a candidate. Legal or not it most certainly is unethical.

Not that it matters. The big money in town supports Paul and those in power are certain to look the other way at least until after the ballots are counted.

#26 Anonymoose on 04.20.18 at 12:18 am

Having worked at DocuTAP this doesn’t surprise me.

McDonald made habit of using his kids as a show and tell. He made a whole production out of one during an all company meeting one time. He recorded a video from a raft in China and made us all listen to him rattle on about how his God was guiding him and guiding the company, etc. Somehow the trip to pick up his new accessory child was tied in with God, him, and DocuTAP. It was all pretty weird.

Oddly, he doesn’t seem to be so Godly these days. Split up with the wife and is a living a Playboy lifestyle Downtown from what I understand.

#27 l3wis on 04.20.18 at 8:23 am

Moosey, Ahhhhhhhh, that would explain why she didn’t donate a $1,000 also. I wondered what was up with that.

#28 Anonymoose on 04.20.18 at 10:48 am

Yeah, it explains a lot. When I worked there I wondered if he was really religious or just going along with it to get Father in Law’s money. It was always a tossup because he did go to Seminary.

Apparently now we know because word has it they’ve gone from Christ-filled Xmas parties with no booze to moving the party over to Wiley’s half way through so McDonald can grind on his employees and strangers. Once he didn’t need Father in law’s $$ it would appear he moved on to the playboy stage of his career.

#29 Eric McDonald on 04.21.18 at 10:43 am

It’s clear to me that people posting here have either 0% of the facts or 10% of the facts. It’s clear that the majority of this crowd is driven by stirring the pot with exaggerated statement, creating untrue stories, conjuring up possibilities that are not reality, or just flat out making hurtful statements. I personally fight to assume the best intentions in people and not the worst.

The Argus article did clear up some points but not all and I honestly have zero desire to spend time correcting all of the untrue statements within this post. I do however want to point out the depravity in the statement from an ex-DocuTAP employee who spoke of my amazing adopted kids as an “accessory child”. Wow!! There must be a lot of pain, anger and negativity in your lift to refer to two amazing kids who fought through a lot in Chinese orphanages, who underwent open heart surgery, who both have amazing outlooks in life, who are deeply integrated into our families… as an “accessory child” or to poorly assume that I view them as an accessory child. My two adopted kids are absolutely amazing and I couldn’t be more proud to be their father!

The negativity contained within this post is sad. No hard feeling from me, I just hope that your negativity is contained within this post and that you don’t walk through life with that same level of negativity. There’s enough hard in the wold; let’s work to assume the best in people and not assume the worst.



#30 l3wis on 04.21.18 at 12:46 pm

Eric, thank you for coming on here and explaining yourself, to a degree. I apologize for some of the commenters, but this was never an attack on your children from my point of view, in fact I feel sorry for them for being used as a pawn. This was about a question of ethics using your children to make campaign contributions, even if it is ‘LEGAL’, which I think, and many of my commenters think is questionable and wrong.

#31 "Very Stable Genius" on 04.21.18 at 7:11 pm


You are right, children should be out of the fray, but you are the one who brought them into it, however.

In my opinion, what you and Paul did was either naivety or arrogance, so what is your affirmative defense?

#32 Eric McDonald on 04.22.18 at 8:02 am

Genius – This is just another great example of how words are twisted and the point I was making was missed. I never asked that the kids be left out of the fray and I fully understand that I involved them in Paul’s campaign early. The point I was making is that when someone refers to my adopted kids as a “accessory child” that is deeply offensive, speaks to the negativity being bred in this column and is clearly way off topic. Why would anyone refer to any human being as an “accessory child”? Why is there such negativity vs assuming the best in people?

I3wis – The law allows for my kids to make campaign contributions. City officials advised ahead of time that this is was legal which is why I proceeded in this fashion. If you don’t like that then let’s work to change the law. Is it “right” in people’s mind? Well, that’s your call. For me and the kids I think it’s awesome that we rallied as a family behind Paul and his family. Our kids to go the same school as theirs. Paul’s daughter is in same grade as my son. Prior mayors have been met my kids in the school setting and it has been an active discussion in their classrooms. Mayor Huether came to the DocuTAP ribbon cutting and my kids had the chance to meet him. When we gave Paul our contributions Paul came to my house and talked with the kids and each kids had a separate check for Paul. It was fantastic from my point of view and it made it a great opportunity to talk about supporting Paul in his awesome endeavors to be mayor. My goal as a father is to be the best life coach possible to my kids which means when I see a friend running for Mayor then I’m going to use it as a teachable moment for my kids and talk about the risk he’s taking and the drive that it takes to make bold moves. Why wouldn’t I make this a family topic and use it as a teachable moment?

From a financial perspective it’s something that I’m not going to explain the details of publicly. There are aspects of the kids finances that are a bit unique and don’t need to be publicly described unless I receive a court order forcing me to disclose how I’ve structured my estate. It’s clear that within this thread people know that I’m the CEO of DocuTAP which should be bread an assumption that I’ve structured my estate in a way that get’s value into the kids hands vs keeping in mine. If someone is familiar with estate planning then one could make a pretty good assumption that the kids have more cash than Dad does and that Dad gets his allowance from the kids. 🙂

On another giving note; the “family” has given about 20 times the amounts given in this campaign to local charitable organizations over the last 18 months. The “family” has also given about 40 times this amount to charitable organizations (widows and orphans) abroad. My point being; this family tries to give and each time I use this as a talking point with my kids.

Any further discussions on this shouldn’t be warranted and I hope that this brings some closure for you guys/gals. This will be my last engagement on this topic.



#33 Anonymoose on 04.24.18 at 4:45 pm

Eric, I used that term because it felt like that is how you viewed your children at the time, not because I believe that personally. This is the impression you gave off then. Hopefully that’s different now.

Not surprisingly, your response here is similar to how I witnessed you handle criticisms when I worked at DocuTAP: deflect, minimize, attack the character of the messenger, and play the victim… Then if we didn’t buy your trite explanation of why you weren’t doing anything wrong, of course we just didn’t understand you correctly and/or are just poisoning the well, right?

If I wanted to share stories of the way you mistreated me personally as well many (most) of the folks I worked with, I would have already spilled the beans. I refused to sign your gag order contract before I left, so I am happy to share my numerous horror stories if you’d like. You could even respond publicly to each story to clear the air. I’d prefer to stick with the subject at hand, though.

I agree with you wholeheartedly that children should be left out of politics and public life. It’s a shame that you made the choice to bring them into the public eye in this way. Just another example of poor judgement on your part. No matter; I’m positive you’ll find a way to point the finger at someone else to save your fragile ego.