PACs are being used to funnel big money into city elections by a handful of people

Before we get to the PACs dark money into our city elections an update on the races.

In the school board race there are 3 people circulating for the two seats. Baker and Reiter plan to run for re-election, and the 3rd person’s name escapes me, but it is a woman from the banking sector.


The first PAC that is doing this is Paul TenHaken’s PAC ran by his mentor Joel Dykstra, Next Generation (DOCS). Which has funneled money to Merkouris and Curt Soehl. Major Donors below;

But the big PAC is the one that seems to be funded almost solely by Matt Paulson, Falls Community Growth (DOCS). Paulson funneled $20,000 of his personal wealth (Half from himself and Half from his LLC) into the PAC and turned around under the shield of the PAC to donate $2,500 to Soehl (which explains why certain people have decided to NOT run against him, I won’t say names) and $5,000 to Barranco.

For the record, this is totally legal, it’s just a back door way for an individual with a lot of money to give thousands of dollars to candidates while not classifying it as an individual donation. It has been going on for years from donors like Sanford, Dykhouse and Lloyd.

As someone said to me yesterday, “It seems Mr. Paulson sees himself as a kingmaker.” Money can buy you a seat on the council, he helped pay Jensen’s rent and now he is all in on some more candidates.


#1 Very Stable Genius on 02.05.22 at 5:20 pm

And what prevents one (like Sanford) from having multiple PACs, that he solely funds?

( and Woodstock adds: “Couldn’t this also be known as ‘Fund Soehly’?”…. )

#2 Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on 02.05.22 at 5:23 pm

Like I have been saying: Matt runs this town. Everyone else is his Mini-Me. But I am still trying to figure out who Fat Bastard is.

#3 Further Fear & Loathing on 02.05.22 at 7:17 pm

Are the developers, their wealth and influence, perhaps the personification of a Fat Bastard(s)?

#4 Fearing the Fuhrer & More on 02.05.22 at 7:26 pm

Just for fun, it could be like the Burger Battle, I’d like to watch some competition between Sanford versus Paul’s Taupeville friends having all of their children fund their own PACs to see who could fund more of them. #TommyHereIsYourAllowance

#5 "Woodstock" on 02.05.22 at 8:56 pm

“Now, for this PAC Battle, if Sanford is there with Paul’s friends for the initial press conference, then his friend’s would probably have to wear ties, right?”….

#6 Mike Lee Zitterich on 02.08.22 at 5:26 pm

The only way to change the system is for “Someone” to stand up and run for office and set an example that you can run for public office without asking for donations from any form of lobby group. I have no problem with people donating to PACS, however – to change the system, you must lead by example.

#7 l3wis on 02.08.22 at 6:00 pm

PACs are going nowhere, especially when SCOTUS said corporations are to be treated like people when it comes to free speech. That is what is troubling about Paulson’s PAC, notice half the money came from his business’ coffers. Why does MarketBeat care about who sits on the city council? I will tell you why, for the same reason development companies, banks and hospitals care who sits on the council, power and control. Do you think when a banker donates thousands to a PAC they care about the general public? LOL.

While we do need better people running for council, unless you have the money to compete with the PACs it is difficult to win.

The problem with our local elections is the influx of money. It used to be people like Munson, Erpenbach, Beninga, Litz, Brown, Starr, Stehly, Staggers and other regular folks who care about local government would get elected. Unfortunately several of those that I just mentioned got corrupted once they got there. Neitzert and Erickson are prime examples of councilors that started out with good intentions and great policy ideas and big supporters of open government until the monied elite poisoned them.

I tell people all the time, FOLLOW THE MONEY! I encourage people to read the campaign finance reports before making a decision, it’s important. If a majority of candidate A’s money comes from regular folks, they will probably have you best interest in mind. If they are taking money from the corporate welfare queens, they probably are NOT looking out for you. It’s really that simple.

It is also important to look how they spend that money. If it is on door knocking and lit drops and direct marketing to probable voters, that means they understand who they represent. If they waste it on billboards, signs and radio ads, they are NOT targeting the people that are actively participating in government, or paying attention. They are just collecting a lot of money, spending a lot of money and throwing spaghetti at the wall. And if that is the way they are running their campaigns, I don’t want them running our city because they don’t understand fiscal restraint and spending our tax dollars wisely. Anyone who spends $120K+ to win a term that pays $96K obviously doesn’t understand economics and are in it for themselves.