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 ExposedbyCMD.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

  • Rep. Fred Deutsch (R-04) attended ALEC's 2020 States and Nation Policy Summit where he participated in ”Education and Workforce Development Subcommittee Meeting” and “Opening General Session”[14]
  • Rep. Tim Goodwin (R-30)[15]
  • Rep. Spencer Gosch (R-23) attended ALEC's 2020 States and Nation Policy Summit where he participated in ”"Civil Justice Committee and Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Subcommittee Joint Meeting", "Education and Workforce Development Subcommittee Meeting", "Federalism and International Relations Subcommittee Meeting", "Energy, Environment and Agriculture Subcommittee Meeting", "Health and Human Services Subcommittee Meeting", "State Chair Meeting", "Opening General Session", "Workshop: Reducing Red Tape: Lessons Learned from Successful State Strategies", "CARE Constituent Management Training", "Workshop: AB5/ABC/Prop-22... What’s Happening, What’s Next and What you Need to Know in the States and DC?", "ALEC Connect Training", "Rural Caucus Meeting", "General Session - Morning", "Workshop: State Budget Reform Toolkit: Policy Best Practices to Help Legislators Navigate the Fiscal Uncertainty of COVID-19", "Training: Let's Talk about Education and Opportunity with Frank Luntz", "Workshop: Against Critical Theory’s Onslaught: Reclaiming Education and the American Dream", "Thursday General Session - Afternoon", "Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force Meeting", "Education and Workforce Development Task Force Meeting", "Workshop: Stop the Cancel Culture, Before it Stops You!", "Training: Digital Media: Applying Presidential Strategy To Legislative Races", "Training: Let's Talk About Workforce Development with Frank Luntz", "Jefferson Awards Ceremony", "Friday General Session - Morning", "Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force Meeting", "Friday General Session - Afternoon", "Health and Human Services Task Force Meeting" and “ALEC CONNECT Training"[14], State Chair[16]
  • Rep. Jon Hansen (R-25), ALEC Civil Justice Task Force Member [17]
  • Rep. Steven Haugaard (R-10)Attended 2019 ALEC Annual Meeting[18], registered member
  • Rep. Taffy Howard (R-33)[15]
  • Rep. John Mills (R-04)[15]
  • Rep. Tina Mulally (R-35)[19]
  • Rep. Tom Pischke (R-25)[19]
  • Rep. Sue Peterson (R-13), attended ALEC's 2020 States and Nation Policy Summit where she participated in "Education and Workforce Development Subcommittee Meeting", "State Chair Meeting", "Workshop: New Education Polling Data with [[EdChoice]]", "Opening General Session", "Workshop: Reducing Red Tape: Lessons Learned from Successful State Strategies", "General Session - Morning", "Civil Justice Task Force Meeting", "Training: TPUSA: Saving America’s Academic Institutions: One Student Regent at a Time. What They Are, Why They Matter, How You Can Help", "Workshop: Against Critical Theory’s Onslaught: Reclaiming Education and the American Dream", "Thursday General Session - Afternoon", "Education and Workforce Development Task Force Meeting", "Workshop: Stop the Cancel Culture, Before it Stops You!", "Training: Let's Talk About Workforce Development with Frank Luntz", "Friday General Session - Morning", "Friday General Session - Afternoon", "Health and Human Services Task Force Meeting", "Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Meeting"[14], State Chair[16]
  • Rep. Bethany Soye (R-09) attended ALEC's 2020 States and Nation Policy Summit where she participated in "Workshop: New Education Polling Data with EdChoice", "Opening General Session", "Workshop: Reducing Red Tape: Lessons Learned from Successful State Strategies", "Workshop: AB5/ABC/Prop-22... What’s Happening, What’s Next and What you Need to Know in the States and DC?", "ALEC Connect Training", "General Session - Morning", "Civil Justice Task Force Meeting", "Training: Let's Talk about Education and Opportunity with Frank Luntz", "Training: TPUSA: Saving America’s Academic Institutions: One Student Regent at a Time. What They Are, Why They Matter, How You Can Help", "Workshop: Against Critical Theory’s Onslaught: Reclaiming Education and the American Dream", "Thursday General Session - Afternoon", "Federalism and International Relations Task Force Meeting", "Workshop: Stop the Cancel Culture, Before it Stops You!", "Training: Digital Media: Applying Presidential Strategy To Legislative Races", "Training: Let's Talk About Workforce Development with Frank Luntz", "Friday General Session - Morning", "Criminal Justice Task Force Meeting", "Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force Meeting", "Friday General Session - Afternoon", "Health and Human Services Task Force Meeting"[14]
  • Rep. Mark K. Willadsen (R-11), ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Alternate[20]
  • Rep. Marsha Symens (R-25) attended ALEC's 2020 States and Nation Policy Summit where she participated in ”Workshop: New Education Polling Data with EdChoice”, “Opening General Session”, “General Session - Morning”[14]

Senate

  • Sen. Brock Greenfield (R-2) [21]
  • Sen. Ryan Maher (R-28) received $1,005.92 in ALEC Scholarship funding in 2006.
  • Sen. Al R. Novstrup (R-3), ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Alternate[20]
  • Sen. Jim Stalzer (R-11), attended ALEC's 2020 States and Nation Policy Summit where he participated in "Federalism and International Relations Subcommittee Meeting", "Tax and Fiscal Policy Subcommittee Meeting", "State Chair Meeting", "Workshop: New Education Polling Data with [[EdChoice]]", "Opening General Session", "Workshop: Reducing Red Tape: Lessons Learned from Successful State Strategies", "Workshop: AB5/ABC/Prop-22... What’s Happening, What’s Next and What you Need to Know in the States and DC?", "Workshop: Post-Election Panel: The Future of Energy and Environmental Policy", "General Session - Morning", "Workshop: State Budget Reform Toolkit: Policy Best Practices to Help Legislators Navigate the Fiscal Uncertainty of COVID-19", "Workshop: Against Critical Theory’s Onslaught: Reclaiming Education and the American Dream", "Thursday General Session - Afternoon", "Federalism and International Relations Task Force Meeting", "Jefferson Awards Ceremony", "Friday General Session - Morning", "Friday General Session - Afternoon", "Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Meeting"[14], attended 2019[18] and 2020[22] ALEC Annual Meetings; State Chair, ALEC Member List of South Dakota Legislators with ALEC ties from the South Dakota Legislative Research Council (Nov. 8, 2015).
  • Sen. Margaret Sutton (R-10)[19]attended ALEC's 2020 States and Nation Policy Summit where she participated in "Opening General Session", "Workshop: Reducing Red Tape: Lessons Learned from Successful State Strategies", "Workshop: AB5/ABC/Prop-22... What’s Happening, What’s Next and What you Need to Know in the States and DC?", "Workshop: Post-Election Panel: The Future of Energy and Environmental Policy", "Workshop: Growing Momentum for Personalize Health Care: Health Care Choices 2020", "Workshop: State Budget Reform Toolkit: Policy Best Practices to Help Legislators Navigate the Fiscal Uncertainty of COVID-19", "Training: Let's Talk about Education and Opportunity with Frank Luntz", "Workshop: Against Critical Theory’s Onslaught: Reclaiming Education and the American Dream", "Thursday General Session - Afternoon", "Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force Meeting", "Workshop: Stop the Cancel Culture, Before it Stops You!", "Training: Let's Talk About Workforce Development with Frank Luntz", "Jefferson Awards Ceremony" and "Friday General Session - Morning”[14]

State Governor

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. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 14.6 David Armiak, "ALEC Working in Partnership with Turning Point USA, Major Player in Capitol Insurrection", Exposed by CMD, January 13, 2021, accessed January 26, 2021.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 ALEC, State and Local Legislators Urge Congress to Eliminate State and Local Tax Deduction in Exchange for Pro-Growth Lower Rates, ALEC, October 16, 2017.
  16. 16.0 16.1 ALEC State Chairs "ALEC", accessed: July 6, 2020
  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. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Nick Surgey 2019 Annual Meeting Attendees - Legislators Documented August 2019
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Nick Surgey Revealed "Documented", Dec 6, 2019
  20. 20.0 20.1 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
  21. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named docu
  22. David Armiak, "ALEC 2020 Annual Meeting Attendees and Sponsors Revealed", Center for Media and Democracy, July 23, 2020, accessed August 10, 2020.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 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
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 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
  25. ALEC 1995 SB
  26. American Legislative Exchange Council, Letter to Google, signatory letter to Google, September 24, 2014.
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 American Legislative Exchange Council, Director – Full Name and Address, organizational task force membership directory, August 2011, obtained and released by Common Cause
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 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
  29. 29.0 29.1 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
  30. American Legislative Exchange Council, Durbin Response Letter, signatory letter to Senator Richard Durbin, August 8, 2013.
  31. ALEC 1995 SB
  32. ALEC 1995 SB
  33. ALEC 1995 SB
  34. 34.0 34.1 American Legislative Exchange Council, Letter to Robert C. Byrd and Nancy Pelosi RE: Federal health reform efforts, June 24, 2009
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 American Legislative Exchange Council, Directory – Full Name and Address, Education Task Force Membership Directory, August 2011, obtained and released by Common Cause
  36. American Legislative Exchange Council, Letter to Google, signatory letter to Google, September 24, 2014.
  37. 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
  38. 38.0 38.1 American Legislative Exchange Council, "ALEC State Chairmen, organization website, accessed April 2012
  39. 39.0 39.1 American Legislative Exchange Council, Directory – Full Name and Address, International Relations Task Force Membership Directory, August 2011, obtained and released by Common Cause
  40. 40.0 40.1 40.2 American Legislative Exchange Council, Directory – Full Name and Address, Communications and Technology Task Force Membership Directory, August 2011, obtained and released by Common Cause
  41. American Legislative Exchange Council, organizational task force membership directory, June 30, 2011, p. 31, obtained and released by Common Cause April 2012
  42. 42.0 42.1 American Legislative Exchange Council, organizational task force membership directory, March 31st, 2011, obtained and released by Common Cause April 2012
  43. American Legislative Exchange Council, Letter to Google, signatory letter to Google, September 24, 2014.
  44. American Legislative Exchange Council, Letter to Google, signatory letter to Google, September 24, 2014.
  45. American Legislative Exchange Council, Letter to Google, signatory letter to Google, September 24, 2014.