Executive branch, not legislators were behind state scandals
At Saturday's legislative crackerbarrel on the School of Mines campus, the audience asked legislators if the republican caucus along with the governor will appoint a task force to propose legislation for clean government dealing with ethics, transparency, proper conduct and control of agencies to prevent further corruption.
District 35 Representative Lynne DiSanto told the audience not the point the finger at lawmakers but the state executive branch.
"IM 22 is a very complicated issue guys," DiSanto said, "I can assure you that every single one of us up here is concerned about things like EB5 and Gear Up. I believe if it were not for EB5 and Gear Up, IM 22 would not have gotten the traction that it did. I want you all to know that we are regular people that chose to run because we are concerned about scandals like that. IM 22 was brought I believe because of those scandals. What you have to remember is none of those people involved were elected officials, none of them. So IM 22 would have done nothing to stop EB5 and Gear Up. I wish and I want those things addressed. Those problems were under the executive branch. Those problems were overseen by people like Melody Schopp, our Secretary of Education who I believe should no longer be in that position. I believe heads should have rolled that did not."
District 34 Representative David Lust then added that he is one of two legislators at Saturday's crackerbarrel that voted against the repeal of IM 22 stating not that because he thinks it's a good law but a terrible law. He also said it is not the legislatures job to decide what is constitutional. It is a separation of powers and is in fact the judiciary's job to decide what is constitutional and not constitutional.
"I think IM 22 is terrible and poorly crafted," Representative Lust said, "It's a poor strategy and it should go. The reason I voted against the repeal and I think I speak for Senator Craig Tieszen, is the manner in which it is being repealed. It's just a matter of process. It should go and I think you should judge the legislature, not where we sit right now, but how things stand at the end of session. When we have passed the thing and addressed the three major components about IM 22 that should be addressed. That is, limits on lobbyists gifts, campaign finance reform and an ethics commission. I have not met someone yet who was for the fourth part of IM 22 which is public financing of campaigns up to $12 million dollars or tax payer dollars going to us. I have not met anyone yet who is advocating for that. So, I don't think you'll see that survive or should in my opinion. So, judge us at the end of the session, not in the throes of an appeal."
Representative Disanto also said that bribery has always been illegal and that anyone can see what each legislator gets in campaign contributions just by going to the secretary of state website.
- South Dakota
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