South Dakota ALEC Politicians

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About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.


2013 South Dakota Legislature Uses Taxpayer Dollars to Fund ALEC Membership

On April 23, 2013, the South Dakota Legislature's Executive Board, lead by Ryan Maher (R-Isabel), adopted two policies in a 10-4 vote that allow the Legislature to use taxpayer dollars for costs associated with participation in the American Legislative Exchange Council.[1] First, the Executive Board voted to pay membership fees of $100 per Legislator for each of the 105 South Dakota Legislators to be members of American Legislative Exchange Council, coming to a total of $10,500 of taxpayer money.[2] Next, the Executive Board expanded the eligible travel fund reimbursement options to include travel to out-of-state ALEC meetings and events. Some claim that this expansion of the travel policy was conveniently rushed to the floor to accommodate the 9 Republican legislators who attended the ALEC Spring Task Force meeting in Oklahoma City on May 3-4 (rather than waiting for the appropriate budget timing on July 1.)[3]

A broad opposition has formed among citizens, editorial boards, and politicians that argues these policies "don't have the best interests of South Dakotans in mind."[4] Bernie Hunhoff (D-Yankton), the House Democrat Leader, and Jason Frerichs (D-Wilmot), Senate Democrat Leader, demanded that the Legislature not pay any money on behalf of any Democratic Legislators for membership to the "extremist" lobbying organization."[5]

South Dakota's Democratic Party purchased ads in the Brookings Register with over 160 citizen signatures opposing the policies.[6] In addition, the Democratic Party created an ad with Senator Deb Peter's photo, identifying her as the chair for the South Dakota Senate Appropriations and the ALEC Chair for South Dakota legislators.[7]

SD Republican Representative Nelson(R-Fulton) and former representative Schoenbeck (R-Watertown) voiced their opposition to the policies, characterizing ALEC meetings as "crony-capitalist machinations" and "brainwashing conventions."[8] Additionally, former SD Republican Chairman, Joel Rosenthal, posed the question "Why would those that believe and espouse a smaller government want to have the State pay for their non-governmental partisan activity?"[9]

More public opposition was posted in the Argus Reader and quoted by the SD Democratic Party.[10] Ryan Gruber, a former Republican Legislative staffer from Wisconsin, characterized ALEC's process of proposing model legislation as a "middleman that wipes the fingerprints off the murder weapon."[11] Robert Burns, a professor of Political Science, called the policy decisions "highly questionable and clearly a partisan use of public money."[11]

In defense of the new policies, Republican legislators compare ALEC to other nonpartisan legislative groups such as National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the Council of State Government (CSG). The fundamental difference between ALEC and these organizations, however, are that NCSL and CSG are organizations solely comprised of legislators and annually rotate leadership between Democrats and Republicans.[12] In ALEC, committees are comprised of business leaders and legislators, and each committee is co-chaired by both a state representative and a CEO or lobbyist for a large corporate interest.

Ryan Maher (R-Isabel), the chairman of the South Dakota Legislature's Executive Board, determined that out-of-state travel would only be reimbursed for one organization (of the 3: NCSL, CSG, or ALEC), and directed the Legislative Research Council (LRC) to pay for memberships only if legislators provided a voucher for reimbursement.[12] Since the inception of these policies, not a single Legislator has submitted a voucher for reimbursement associated with ALEC membership or travel.[13]

South Dakota Politicians with ALEC Ties

For a list of politicians with known ALEC ties, please see ALEC Politicians.

This is a partial list of South Dakota politicians that are known to be involved in, or previously involved in, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). It is a partial list. (If you have additional names, please add them with a citation. The names in this original list were verified as of posting.)

Legislators who have cut ties with ALEC publicly are also listed here.

South Dakota Legislators with ALEC Ties

House of Representatives

Senate

U.S. Representative

Former Representatives

Former Senators

References

  1. Who's Paying for Republicans at ALEC Convention this Weekend?, Press Release, South Dakota Democratic Party, May 3, 2013.
  2. Our Voice: Sate Should Not Pay Lawmakers' Dues to ALEC, American News Editorial Board, Aberdeen News, April 27, 2013.
  3. Spending your Tax Dollars on Partisan ALEC Meetings, South Dakota,Madville Times, May 14,2013.
  4. Deb Peters Put Conservative Organization ahead of South Dakota taxpayers, South Dakota Democratic Party.
  5. Bob Mercer, Conservative Group Dues will be Covered by South Dakota Treasury, Capitol Journal, April 26, 2013.
  6. Citizens Protest use of Tax Dollars for ALEC Dues , South Dakota, Madville Times, May 23, 2013.
  7. Meet Senator Deb Peters South Dakota Democratic Party.
  8. Nelson and Schoenbeck Say No to Taxpayer Funding of ALEC Dues, South Dakota, Madville Times, April 24, 2013.
  9. Joel Rosenthal, Get Real, Straight Talk Blog, May 29, 2013.
  10. Screen Shot of Argus Reader Citizen Voices, South Dakota Democratic Party, May 19, 2013.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Citizens Oppose Taxpayer Subsidies for ALEC, South Dakota Democratic Party, May 19, 2013.
  12. 12.0 12.1 State Legislators Not Asking for ALEC Membership Reimbursement, State Capitol Bureau, July 5, 2013.
  13. Lawmakers Are Right to Foot Their Own Bills for ALEC, Capital Journal, July 14, 2013.
  14. American Legislative Exchange Council, Letter to Google, signatory letter to Google, September 24, 2014.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 American Legislative Exchange Council, Director – Full Name and Address, organizational task force membership directory, August 2011, obtained and released by Common Cause
  16. 16.0 16.1 American Legislative Exchange Council, organizational task force membership directory, March 31st, 2011, obtained and released by Common Cause April 2012
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 American Legislative Exchange Council, Directory – Full Name and Address, Civil Justice Task Force Membership Directory, August 2011, obtained and released by Common Cause
  18. American Legislative Exchange Council, Durbin Response Letter, signatory letter to Senator Richard Durbin, August 8, 2013.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 American Legislative Exchange Council, Directory – Full Name and Address, Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force Membership Directory, December 2010, obtained and released by Common Cause
  20. American Legislative Exchange Council, Letter to Google, signatory letter to Google, September 24, 2014.
  21. 21.0 21.1 American Legislative Exchange Council, Public Safety & Elections Task Force 2011 Spring Task Force Summit April 29, 2011 Minutes, organizational document, June 30, 2011, p. 5, obtained and released by Common Cause April 2012
  22. 22.0 22.1 American Legislative Exchange Council, Letter to Robert C. Byrd and Nancy Pelosi RE: Federal health reform efforts, June 24, 2009
  23. American Legislative Exchange Council, Letter to Google, signatory letter to Google, September 24, 2014.
  24. 24.0 24.1 American Legislative Exchange Council, Directory – Full Name and Address, International Relations Task Force Membership Directory, August 2011, obtained and released by Common Cause
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 American Legislative Exchange Council, Directory – Full Name and Address, Education Task Force Membership Directory, August 2011, obtained and released by Common Cause
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 American Legislative Exchange Council, Directory – Full Name and Address, Communications and Technology Task Force Membership Directory, August 2011, obtained and released by Common Cause
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 27.4 American Legislative Exchange Council, Directory – Full Name and Address, Health and Human Services Task Force Membership Directory, August 2011, obtained and released by Common Cause
  28. American Legislative Exchange Council, organizational task force membership directory, June 30, 2011, p. 31, obtained and released by Common Cause April 2012
  29. American Legislative Exchange Council, Letter to Google, signatory letter to Google, September 24, 2014.
  30. American Legislative Exchange Council, Letter to Google, signatory letter to Google, September 24, 2014.
  31. 31.0 31.1 American Legislative Exchange Council, [http://www.commoncause.org/issues/more-democracy-reforms/alec/whistleblower-complaint/original-complaint/National_ALEC_Exhibit_4_TFP_2011_STFS.pdf – Full Name and Address], Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Membership Directory, August 2011, obtained and released by Common Cause
  32. 32.0 32.1 American Legislative Exchange Council, "ALEC State Chairmen, organization website, accessed April 2012
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 33.3 American Legislative Exchange Council, International and Federal Relations Task Force meeting and Federal Relations Working Group, meeting agenda and materials, August 4, 2011, on file with CMD
  34. ALEC 1995 SB
  35. ALEC 1995 SB
  36. ALEC 1995 SB
  37. ALEC 1995 SB
  38. American Legislative Exchange Council, Letter to Senate Majority Leader Reid, RE: the EPA’s plan to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, March 10, 2010