Monday, July 25, 2016

Noem Gives Up Ag Committee Seat For Ways And Means. Is South Dakota In Her Rear-View Mirror?

     For a while now I've been intrigued by Congresswoman Noem's decision to abandon her seat on the House Agriculture Committee in favor of a spot on the Ways and Means Committee.
Incoherence . . .
Thy Name Is Kristi Noem
 By rule, she can't serve on both simultaneously, so in order to facilitate her career move, she abandoned South Dakota's lone spot on the ultra-important Ag Committee to step into the more nationally-oriented spot on Ways and Means.  Noem spokesman Justin Brasell told the RCJ a few days ago that the move "puts her into a better position to impact congressional action on taxes, trade, healthcare and other issues of concern to South Dakota farmers, ranchers and other South Dakotans."
     That response smacks of p.r. fluffery, especially considering that Noem has been mum about any efforts to revive country-of-origin labeling (thrown under the bus during last Winter's budget deliberations), the main competitive edge that South Dakota livestock producers gained in a market place where American meat producers have to compete directly against their foreign counterparts. On a personal level, given my interests in the lodging industry around here, I'm still waiting for some explanation as to why she was willing to shut down our Autumn, 2013, tourist season by voting to close down the federal government during a budget spat that year. This latest turn of events makes me wonder even more if her commitment to herself is overriding her commitment to those she claims to represent.
     I've always known that a seat on the powerful Ways and Means Committee, given its tax-writing responsibilities, is a magnet for lobbyists and contributors, but didn't know that in recent years its campaign contribution-gathering prowess has grown at a much faster rate than
We Need A Rep Here Instead Of Ag
Like We Need A Hole In The Head
contributions given to congressional reps in general.
 In a 2014 study conducted by Arizona State University's  W. P. Carey School of Business, researchers concluded that campaign contributions to the "tax writing members of Congress" grew at a faster rate--to the tune of 80 percent vs. 60 percent--than contributions to members of Congress in general.  The period covered was 2000-2008, so I'd welcome any data showing the trend has reversed since then. For now these are the latest numbers I could find, and I doubt very seriously that there's been much of a change in this dynamic.   During that same time frame, the study concluded that contributors to at least five members on the committee saw a substantial decrease (nearly 2%) in their effective tax rates, amounting to about $33 million per company.
    It stands to reason that Noem's departure from an essentially provincial gathering of reps limited to issues involving the mainstays of their respective, ag-oriented states to a seat on a committee who's scope is broadly national and involves the bottom-line interests of the nation's largest and wealthiest private corporations is likely to swell her campaign coffers by some pretty substantial amounts.  Is Noem going D.C. native, going for the bucks?  Or does she sincerely believe that this career move makes her a more effective rep for South Dakota interests?


  1. Considering the way she left the farmers and ranchers high and dry almost three years ago in the blizzard of 2013, I don't think that she has much interest in ag, other than to line up at the trough, just like the bankers and Wall Streeters did in 2008 and 2009.

  2. She moved on years ago, she has nothing to fear from voters here, looks like she has made a career move.