Lobbying Groups Gave 99% of Funds to Oppose Amendment W

PIERRE, S.D. (October 26, 2018) - The ballot committee opposed to Amendment W, the South Dakota Anti-Corruption Amendment, that includes a lobbyist gift ban, received ninety-nine percent of its $170,650 in contributions from groups that lobby the state legislature.

“With so many lobbyists lining up against Amendment W, you know it’s going to drain the swamp,” said Doug Kronaizl, spokesperson for Yes on W. “These are the special interest groups who buy significant influence and benefit the most from a corrupt system. They are threatened by Amendment W because it gives power back to the voters.”

There are a total of forty-two lobbyist registrations on file in Pierre for the seventeen groups who gave $169,650 of the $170,650 raised. Only one individual donated to the opposition campaign. The largest donor to oppose Amendment W is the South Dakota Chamber, which gave $50,650. The Virginia-based Americans for Prosperity and the organization who lobbies on behalf of the banking industry are the second largest donors to the committee opposed to Amendment W with each giving $25,000. Eleven of the seventeen lobbying groups hosted events on the “2018 Legislative Social Calendar” during the legislative session. The full coalition of groups opposing Amendment W employ more than 60 paid lobbyists.

Here is a snapshot of the donations, lobbyist registrations and social events hosted by the sixteen lobbying groups giving the bulk of the money to oppose Amendment W:

Americans for Prosperity - The Virginia-based group gave $25,000 to oppose Amendment W and their registered lobbyist is Andrew Curley.

Associated General Contractors - CONPAC, run by the Association of General Contractors gave $2500 to oppose Amendment W. Their registered lobbyist is Deb Mortenson. The group hosted their annual legislative dinner for legislators and their spouses at the Ramkota on January 30.

Credit Union Association of the Dakotas - South Dakota Credit Union PAC gave $1500 to oppose Amendment W. The group’s registered lobbyists are Jay Kruse, Jeff G. Olson and Jim Kasper. They hosted a legislative social “with heavy hors d'oeuvres” at Drifters Bar & Grill for legislators on January 30.

Forward Sioux Falls - Forward Sioux Falls is a joint venture between the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce and the Sioux Falls Development Foundation. The group gave $5000 to oppose Amendment W. The Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce’s registered lobbyists are Debra Owen and Justin Bentaas. The Sioux Falls Chamber held an event on the legislative social calendar on February 21.

Independent Community Bankers of South Dakota - The group’s PAC gave $2500 to oppose Amendment W and their registered lobbyists are Megan R. Olson, Matt Krogman and Dean Krogman.

Sanford Health - The corporation gave $5000 to oppose Amendment W. They hosted a legislative reception at RedRossa Italian Grille for legislators and their spouses on January 24. Registered lobbyists for the corporation are Corey Brown, Dan Heinemann, Lorin Pankratz, Tim Rave and Matthew McCaulley.

South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations - They gave $15,000 to oppose Amendment W and registered two lobbyists last legislative session: Kim Janice Gillan and Scott A. Duke. The group hosted a legislative social at the Ramkota for legislators and spouses on February 20.

South Dakota Automobile Dealers Association - The group’s PAC gave $1250 to oppose Amendment W. Their registered lobbyists are Myron L Rau and Tim Dougherty. They hosted a legislative reception at the Ramkota “by invitation only” on January 22.

South Dakota Bankers Association - The group gave $25,000 to oppose Amendment W. Their registered lobbyists are Douglas A. Abraham, Katie Hruska, Brett Koenecke and Curtis A Everson. They hosted legislators and their spouses for an event at the Ramkota on February 7

South Dakota Chamber - The group gave $50,650 to oppose Amendment W. Their registered lobbyists are David Owen and Jasper Diegel. The Chamber hosted an event at the Ramkota on February 22 for legislators and their spouses.

South Dakota Coalition For Responsible Taxation - The group gave $2500 to oppose Amendment W. Their registered lobbyists are Myron L Rau and Matthew McCaulley.

South Dakota Corn Growers Association - The group gave $2500 to oppose Amendment W. Their registered lobbyist is Matthew McCaulley.

South Dakota Farm Bureau Federation - The group gave $2500 to oppose Amendment W. Their registered lobbyists are Michael Held  and Krystil Smit.

South Dakota Retailers Association  - Their PAC gave $10,000 to oppose Amendment W. Their registered lobbyists are William M Van Camp, Katie J Sieverding and Jim Hood. The group hosted a legislative dinner at the Ramkota on January 8 for legislators and their spouses.

South Dakota Rural Electric Association - The group gave $15,000 to oppose Amendment W. They hosted a legislative dinner for legislators and their spouses at the Ramkota on January 11. Their registered lobbyists are Edward Ray Anderson, Robert C. Riter, Darla Pollman Rogers and Margo D. Northrup.

South Dakota Telecommunications Association - The group gave $2500 to oppose Amendment W. Their registered lobbyists are Greg Dean, Darla Pollman Rogers and Margo D. Northrup.

South Dakota Trucking Association - The group’s PAC gave $1250 to oppose Amendment W. They hosted “South Dakota’s Largest Sundae Bar” at the Ramkota “by invitation only” on January 22. Their registered lobbyists are Myron L Rau and Tim Dougherty.  

The only individual donation to oppose Amendment W was a $1000 contribution from the well-connected Dan Kirby who has attended secret donor meetings with billionaires.

More than 50,000 South Dakota voters signed petitions to place Amendment W on the ballot. The coalition supporting Amendment W  includes conservative groups, workers and farmers: the conservative South Dakota Constitution Party along with conservative national group Take Back Our Republic; the South Dakota Farmers Union, South Dakota Democracy in Action, South Dakota AFL-CIO, South Dakota Democratic Party, Greening Vermillion, TakeItBack.org, Madison Area Stands Together, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), End Citizens United, and the nonpartisan anti-corruption group RepresentUs and its Represent South Dakota chapter.