You are gonna need a bigger shovel

Mikey the Great denies Pay-to-play;

“I don’t worry about the political accusations like that,” Rounds said. “They’re bogus as far as I’m concerned.”

There’s stretching the truth, but that statement is just plain ridiculous.

Lawrence & Schiller has received million of dollars in no-bid state contracts during Gov. Mike Round’s time in office, while also donating thousands to the governor’s campaign.

But the Sioux Falls advertising agency isn’t alone in a system that the governor calls simply good business and critics label as a hazy pay-to-play process likely to benefit the politically connected.

Hazy?! The only thing that is hazy is our vision after all the Bullshit that has been dumped in our faces by this governor.

Woster writes an article on competitive bids;

South Dakota’s state government has hundreds of active contracts worth millions of dollars for professional services ranging from legal work to health care to advertising, and most are provided by private sector businesses and individuals who are awarded the jobs without going through a competitive bid process.

There are 1,800 of these contracts currently active and on file with the South Dakota auditor. But nobody — including Gov. Mike Rounds, his budget director Jason Dilges or contract manager Rob Swanson in the auditor’s office — knows exactly how many of the 1,800 were awarded without bids or competitive proposal.

Mike just can’t figure out where we could make cuts in the state budget?

“I think it’s very important that we learn the nature of all these contracts,” Senate Democratic leader Scott Heidepriem of Sioux Falls said. “The taxpayers have a right to know how their dollars are spent. If there’s a good reason to avoid requests for competitive proposals, then say so. Then the taxpayers will either agree with you, or they won’t.”

I think it’s time Scott and other Democrats and Republicans who actually care how our tax money is being spent give Mike a good thumping and don’t let him spin them in a corner.

“Look, it’s your money,” said Jay Stewart, executive director of the Chicago-based Better Government Association. “If they don’t know how it’s being spent, does that give you confidence? At a bare minimum, it’s reasonable to expect our public servants to know where the money went.”

Mike knows exactly where it went – scratching backs.

“Gosh, this is just way too secretive,” Heidepriem said. “It’s clearly simpler for the governor’s office to operate that way, and it allows them to favor who they want with taxpayers’ dollars.”

I truly believe that Scott wants to fix the system – but we had known for years how Rounds operates his office, in a cloak of secrecy. I think it has gotten so bad that the only solution is impeachment. You can slap his hands with a ruler all you want, but once a spoiled brat – always a spoiled brat.

Woster also touches on the ‘amazing job’ Louser and Shister does for the SD tourism department;

The 32-year-old agency currently holds exclusive contracts with the South Dakota Department of Tourism and State Development worth more than $7 million. And since Gov. Mike Rounds took office in January of 2003, Lawrence & Schiller has been awarded more than $23 million in state contracts, most with tourism, and virtually all without competitive bids or alternative proposals from other firms.

During that time, Rounds received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Lawrence & Schiller officials, something that critics say poses ethical issues that need to be addressed in state law.

“I would hope pay-to-play is not taking place here,” said state government reform activist Lee Breard of Pierre. “But I will let the taxpayers of South Dakota draw their own conclusions.”

Nah . . . Mike would never ‘repay’ his campaign contributors, that is above him to use state resources for his own benefit (choke, cough, spit). All aboard Rounds Airlines!

From the Gargoyle Leader;

Members of the Legislature’s Government Operations and Audit Committee asked whether the Department of Tourism and State Development should ask for proposals from other advertising firms.

Talk about a day late and a ($25 million) dollars short.

As for the no-bid to L & S, all you have to do is look at at Rounds for Governor campaign financials, thousands of dollars in donations from the owners of L & S. Who needs an investigation with something an eight-grader could figure out. The legislators should change state law, if they are so concerned about it, wait, that would mean they couldn’t pay back their campaign contributors either.

More dicking around instead of just getting it on.

I’ve known about this story for awhile, (I did the above toon in July) actually I was told about it this summer, and to tell you the truth, no surprise.

South Dakota’s tourism department awarded about $25 million in no-bid contracts to Sioux Falls advertising agency Lawrence and Schiller in recent years, while members of the firm were contributing to state politicians and a former state Office of Tourism director became employed there. But officials with the state and Lawrence and Schiller scoffed at the idea that the firm’s political contributions are related to the awarding of contracts.

They scoffed! At who? The taxpayer’s making their wallets fat?

“We’ve had great success with them,” he said, noting that visitor sales have been going up each year and are expected to top $1 billion.

Benda said the no-bid contracts ensure a consistent branding and marketing strategy to promote South Dakota to potential tourists. Allowing other agencies to bid each year could cause upheaval in that strategy, he said. 

And how do you know you wouldn’t have the same amount of success with another agency that was cheaper if you don’t put it out for bid. L & S is one of the most expensive agencies in the state, but they don’t win all the advertising awards.

Officials with Lawrence and Schiller donated more than $16,500 to political candidates from 2002 to 2006, records show. Most of that money went to Gov. Mike Rounds, and Breard notes that many donations weren’t made until after Lawrence and Schiller started working for tourism in 2003.

Mike Rounds is involved with this somehow?! GET OUT! He is one of our cleanest and most honest governor’s in state history . . . ahem.

You may or may not know I’ve locked horns with one of Lawrence & Schiller’s founders, Paul Schiller in the past. He has been up to this kind of crap for a very long time. While sitting on the board of the Washington Pavilion, L & S did work for the Pavilion (some donated, some not). Yes, a pretty obvious conflict of interest. In fact, Paul used to participate in art exhibits at the Pavilion while sitting on the board. Finally this year (with little fanfare) the Pavilion changed their policies when it comes to conflict of interest. Though I haven’t read the full language, it is pretty simple, you can’t participate in exhibits or provided services to the Pavilion while sitting on the board. Seems logical.

And as for Billie Jo, she has gotten everything in life by being politically connected. How do go from being out of college, to being Minnehaha Treasurer, to being head of SD Tourism to having the state’s leading ad agency create a position for you? Think about it.

Maybe the chickens are finally coming home to roost.