Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Noem Likes The Congressional Ethics Commission. Will She Push For One In South Dakota's Legislature?

   Kristi Noem made a statement in Congress yesterday that merits some follow-up as she pursues her announced run for South Dakota governor in '18. Republican Noem is SD's sole rep
Make Mine Ethics!
in the U.S. House of Representatives, having been there since her election in 2010.  Despite a nondescript tenure, characterized mostly by going along with the political winds wafted by national Republican leadership, she's probably positioning herself as somebody with a track record that she can run on when the '18 campaign for governor gets underway a year from now. 

     I think she made a pretty decent start in Washington yesterday at the opening of this Congressional term by voting against an obnoxiously transparent effort by the majority of her Republican peers in the House of Representatives to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics.  119 House Republicans proposed to put the office under House control, essentially destroying its independence, a move that was so blatantly self-serving that even President-elect Trump used his bully Twitter account to scold Pubs and remind them that they had more important legislation to consider.  Having smacked the collective tone-deafness out of the GOP reps who promoted this thing, Trump got them to abandon the effort, post-haste.  Coming out of the fiasco in squeaky-clean fashion, Noem was one of 73 Republicans who voted against the move, for reasons that can coalesce into one conclusion:  She's okay with the idea of an independent ethics commission overseeing an elected legislative body.
     If I'm wrong and there was some other political or personal motive, I'm eminently correctable--and I invite explanation of Noem's vote by her office here in the blog's comment section.  Until then I take the existential position that Noem supports independent ethical oversight in Congress, not a particularly bold conclusion and one that dovetails with the idea of an ethics commission for South Dakota government.
     Such a body was actually created by the passage of Initiated Measure 22 in South Dakota last November.  The entrenched Republican leadership in Pierre, however, had a different view, beginning with Governor Dennis Daugaard conescendingly scolding his state's voters by telling
Inquiring South Dakotans
Want To Know
them they were "misled" into voting for the initiative. As expected, the measure was taken to court, where it was struck down as unconstitutional. That outcome notwithstanding, I have no doubt that the section of IM 22 establishing a D.C.-style independent ethics commission for South Dakota's legislature--indeed, all branches--would pass constitutional muster.  

     And now that Kristi Noem has staked out her position in favor of such a body in the U.S. Congress, I expect her to make the creation of such a commission a key part of her proposals during the coming gubernatorial campaign.  After all, her prospective constituents have already voted for one--and if it's good enough for South Dakotans and it's good enough for the U.S. Congress, why wouldn't it be good enough for South Dakota government?  What say you, Representative Noem?

Addendum added at 1503 1/4/17:  A reader just provided me with an interview regarding IM 22 with Kristi Noem last month in which she claimed that voters didn't get the "full story" on the measure.  She didn't specifiy the ethics commission aspect, so I'm hoping we'll get some clarification on the "full story" regarding her feelings about it.  Here's the url  

1 comment:

  1. So many Republicans are saying the voters were misled. Are there no polls anywhere in the state willing to check?