|A Noble Enterprise|
Quixotic But Worthy
There is one aspect of this venture that is most noteworthy now, during its inception phase. It's the conspicuously bi-partisan nature of its supporters. Well-known Republicans Don Frankenfeld and David Volk have joined up with Democrat Rick Weiland to give the campaign a broadly supportive kick-start. The effort will get plenty of attention around the state and at the very least will start a lot of conversations about reform. Republicans who are dismissing it (one writer calls it "a 44-page monstrosity") do so at their peril, because I think a lot of people in both parties are fed-up with the influence of big money, generally, and the lackluster attention to ethics in South Dakota, specifically. On the latter front, the ridiculously casual effort by our legislature to get to the bottom of the EB-5 scandal that probably cost South Dakota more than $100 million dollars likely put ethics code enforcement issues at the top of our collective political mind and spurred much of the effort on this new initiative.
No doubt there's a need for an endeavor like this, and to that extent I support it. But getting it done will be tough, and the writers of the proposal make it all the tougher by including a component
|SD Windmill |
Are The Reformers Tilting Futilely?
Much as I like transparency, contribution limits, disclosures to the max and the general thrust of meaningful reform--and much as I'm willing to engage in some discussion and consideration of public financing for candidates--I think inserting that element into this proposed amendment is a poison pill. It's all very frustrating to me because without that clause, this effort has a real chance. As it is, much of the discussion about it will focus on the public financing aspect, which is gratuitous and irrelevant to the broader reforms set forth by the writers. That discussion is likely to torpedo this otherwise outstanding vessel for real reform in South Dakota politics.