Good Intent, Lousy Outcome
I certainly share the vexation, but then again, who in this state, or the entire country for that matter, hasn't been frustrated at one time or another by some of the hassles created by the delirium that is sometimes called Democracy? Like it or not, Initiated Measure 24, which would ban "individuals, political action committees, and other entities from outside South Dakota from making contributions to ballot question committees," has some decent intentions, but that's where its positives stop.
First off, there's the issue of its constitutionality. In assessing IM-24's chances of a constitutional challenge should the measure pass, South Dakota's Legislative Research Council Director Jason Hancock said last June in a letter to IM-24 supporters that "contribution limits to ballot question committees . . . have been viewed by the [U.S.Supreme] court as a restraint on the rights of association and free speech." Secondly, it just doesn't seem right, much less constitutional. I know I'd be plenty put off by a law that, just because I live in South Dakota, would keep me from sending in a contribution to a committee pushing a ballot issue in, say, Nebraska, if I had an interest in the outcome. The whole conversation has a "no way" quality to it.
IM-24's dubious constitutional prospects along with its self-evident repudiation of the fundamental rights of Americans has led to some strange bedfellowing. Writing in opposition to the measure are Ben Lee, state director of the Koch brothers-funded Americans For Prosperity ("I believe that citizens should have the right to support the causes and issues they believe in"). Simultaneously Cory Heidelberger, whose Dakota Free Press blog has proven over the years to be about as antithetical to Americans For Prosperity as anyone can get, has said that IM-24 "is a step in an unconstitutional direction." That these two stalwarts of their respective and utterly contradictory worldviews can unify in their opposition to this measure says much about its inherently obnoxious nature. IM-24 just plain doesn't cut the mustard and should be resoundingly defeated by South Dakota's voters.