South Dakota Politics
A University of South Dakota law student's blog dedicated primarily to shining light (either a harsh, unyielding spotlight or a soft, warm glow) on figures and institutions in South Dakota.

Saturday, August 30, 2003  

JANKLOW ACCIDENT UPDATE: This Reuters article contains quotes from state Republican party executive director Jason Glodt and University of South Dakota political science department chair Bill Richardson.

The Washington Post's T.R. Reid has a piece in today's edition entitled Rep. Janklow Charged With Manslaughter; Crash Role May Lead Lawmaker to Resign.

The Los Angeles Times has a piece enitled Congressman Is Charged in Motorcyclist's Death; William J. Janklow of South Dakota could face prison time if convicted of manslaughter.

Michael Janofsky of the New York Times has an interesting report in today's edition entitled Manslaughter Count Filed Against a Congressman. Excerpt:

By House rules, any member convicted of a felony is automatically investigated by the ethics committee, and any member convicted of a crime that carries a penalty of two years or more in prison is stripped of his vote.

If Mr. Janklow were to resign, Gov. Mike Rounds would be required within 10 days to call a special election to occur within 90 days, unless the vacancy arises within six months of a previously scheduled statewide election. (None is scheduled in South Dakota until next June.)

posted by Jason | 8:49 PM

Friday, August 29, 2003  

JANKLOW ACCIDENT UPDATE: The AP is reporting that, in the wake of the charges brought against Congressman Janklow, there has been no talk among family members about resigning.

posted by Jason | 2:54 PM

BOMBSHELL: Reuters is reporting that Congressman Janklow has been charged with second-degree manslaughter. It's looking more and more likely that Democrat Stephanie Herseth will become the next at-large representative from South Dakota, unless the state Republican party mounts a spectacular recruiting coup.

You can view a PDF copy of the complaint HERE. (Via Sibby Online).

UPDATE: The Power Line blog has a similar analysis of this development.

ANOTHER UPDATE: The Minneapolis Star-Tribune (assisted by the AP) has a thorough report. Poignant excerpt:

Because [Janklow] is now charged with a felony, the U.S. House of Representatives ethics committee will automatically investigate. The committee's rules say representatives who plead guilty or are convicted of a crime that carries more than two years in prison can't vote in the chamber until his or her record is cleared, or until re-elected.

If Janklow were to resign, Republican Gov. Mike Rounds would call a special election within three months to fill it.

Janklow's initial court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday in Flandreau. If he wants a preliminary hearing, one would be scheduled then and bond would also be set, [Moody County state's attorney William] Ellingson said.

NOTE: An observant reader has pointed out that it's more like the AP's Carson Walker assisted the Star Tribune with this story. It would be more accurate if the Star Tribune described it as an AP story with one paragraph each thrown in by each of their two bylined writers. Click HERE to read the AP story and compare it to the Strib's story.

posted by Jason | 1:22 PM

JANKLOW ACCIDENT UPDATE: The Argus Leader and KSFY have conducted a poll on the opinion of South Dakotans about the accident that killed Randolph Scott. The graphics on the poll aren't linked correctly on the Argus Leader website, but you can find the story about it HERE.

UPDATE: The Argus has fixed the link, and you can view the details of the poll HERE and HERE.

posted by Jason | 7:59 AM

Thursday, August 28, 2003  

JANKLOW ACCIDENT UPDATE: Ralph Nader has called on Congressman Janklow to resign, according to this CNN report.

posted by Jason | 4:06 PM

Wednesday, August 27, 2003  

EVADING THE LAW THEY CHAMPIONED: Two weeks ago, the AP published a story on the emerging phenomenon of "shadow parties," groups that can collect corporate donations to distribute to campaigns, which the national parties no longer can do because of the new campaign finance law. The "shadow parties" are a way of circumventing a law passed to get corporate money out of politics. It turns out that the Democrats are circumventing the law with a vengeance, particularly with a new group called America Coming Together. Excerpt from the AP piece:

Less than a year since a law meant to remove big money from politics took effect, Democratic-leaning interest groups are working to raise millions in large donations in hopes of unseating President Bush and promoting their issues.

The Wall Street Journal provided more interesting details and analysis on the America Coming Together "shadow party" in an August 8 report. Excerpt:

In a rapidly growing political cottage industry, America Coming Together is the latest "shadow organization" to emerge in the wake of campaign-finance legislation banning political parties and candidates from accepting big checks -- called "soft money" -- from corporations, labor unions and individuals. Independent groups can still accept such large donations and use the money to advance the campaigns of specific candidates, providing they don't coordinate their activities or air certain ads close to an election.

Advocates of the changes concede that the groups are legal, even under the new law. But they worry that the groups will provide a back door for large donations, undermining the law's goal of breaking federal lawmakers' reliance on wealthy individuals, corporations and interest groups. "How effective the law will be will depend on how aggressive the Federal Election Commission is in holding the line," says Larry Noble, executive director of the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

But, as the New Republic's Peter Beinart writes in the current edition of his publication, Tom Daschle is appointing a person to the FEC who would not "aggressively hold the line" on these shadow organizations. Beinart quotes Senator John McCain:

"I have a hard time understanding why Senator Daschle, who helped pass McCain-Feingold, would want to put on the commission a dedicated opponent of campaign finance reform, someone who would use his position not to enforce the law but to weaken it."

Finally, Ken Starr had a fantastic opinion piece in the August 22 Wall Street Journal about the new campaign finance law and its horrifying implications. Excerpt:

Supporters of McCain-Feingold promised that it would "get money out of politics." It hasn't. To the contrary, it has merely transferred power from our mostly responsible, accountable political parties to unaccountable, sometimes mysterious interest groups, frequently with narrow ideological perspectives. Money that previously flowed transparently to political parties is now flowing to shadowy groups. This problem is serious. Recently, this newspaper reported the formation of a new group dubbed "America Coming Together," which appears to be nothing but a surrogate for the Democratic Party to raise and spend money. Its stated purpose is to organize a "get out the vote" campaign in 17 states considered critical to next year's presidential election. Unlike the Democratic Party, however, this amorphous group is entirely untouched by McCain-Feingold's pervasive regulatory scheme.

My main point in all of this is that the hypocrisy of the Democratic party has reached epic proportions. The Democrats used campaign finance reform as a rhetorical bludgeon on Republicans for years. Now, as it dawns on Democrats like Tom Daschle that they may have to actually abide by their rhetoric, they cravenly circumvent the law they championed. Many Republicans denounced campaign finance reform as a cure worse than the disease. These days, the warnings of the opponents of campaign finance reform are nothing short of prophetic.

posted by Jason | 10:02 PM

Tuesday, August 26, 2003  

NYT SHENANIGANS: John Hinderaker of the Power Line blog has a masterly dissection of a recent New York Times Magazine article on Stephen Moore and the Club for Growth. The NYT has issued a cryptic correction to the story, which prompted Hinderaker's analysis. Hinderaker's dissection is the perfect model for the "Kranz Watch" feature on this blog, which is an attempt to dissect and document the liberal bias of David Kranz, the dean of South Dakota political reporters.

posted by Jason | 9:11 PM

JANKLOW ACCIDENT UPDATE: The Minneapolis Star Tribune published a piece two days ago on the Janklow accident that I think is the most thorough and well-done summary of developments and of Janklow's biography I've seen yet.

You can watch tonight's local television news coverage of the Janklow accident by clicking HERE. You can read the script of the broadcast by clicking HERE.

posted by Jason | 7:49 PM

DENISE ROSS INVESTIGATES THUNE: Rapid City Journal political reporter Denise Ross has a story in today's edition that comes to the muddled conclusion that John Thune might or might not have run afoul of federal election laws in the aftermath of last year's election.

UPDATE: The AP's Jack Sullivan had a more coherent report recently about the expenditures of the South Dakotans for Fair Elections group.

posted by Jason | 1:12 PM

ETHANOL PERSPECTIVE: Check out this interesting story on the upsurge of ethanol plants in the Midwest.

posted by Jason | 12:18 PM

Monday, August 25, 2003  

JANKLOW ACCIDENT UPDATE: The AP reports on an accident similar to Bill Janklow's: Janklow case presents problems.

UPDATE: The link above went bad, as the Bismarck Tribune's links change when the day changes over. You can find the story HERE.

posted by Jason | 10:59 PM

Paul Weyrich has a column about Bill Janklow reprinted in the American Spectator. Weyrich is of the opinion that Bill Janklow's political career is over because of the accident that killed Randolph Scott.

posted by Jason | 5:05 PM

LOOK, MOM!: SDP is now listed under "Our Favorite Blogs" of the RealClear Politics blog.

posted by Jason | 4:16 PM

There's been a flurry of press coverage in the past 24 hours of Tom Daschle's August roadtrip around the state. You can find the coverage by clicking the links below.

Right's sights on Daschle - Knight Ridder
Daschle gears up for re-election battle - AP

posted by Jason | 12:10 PM

Sunday, August 24, 2003  

HAVING IT BOTH WAYS: Peter Beinart, editor of the widely respected center-left New Republic, takes Tom Daschle to task for trying to have it both ways on campaign finance reform. Excerpt:

As [Senator John] McCain has noted, "I have a hard time understanding why Senator Daschle, who helped pass McCain-Feingold, would want to put on the [Federal Election Commission] a dedicated opponent of campaign finance reform, someone who would use his position not to enforce the law but to weaken it."

The answer is that Daschle had to publicly support McCain-Feingold--in deference to Democratic voters, who overwhelmingly believe unregulated "soft" money has corrupted our political system. But he is now trying to quietly gut it, because party strategists believe soft money is the only way Democrats can compete financially with the GOP, and interest groups like the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) are determined to keep running the bogus, preelection "issue ads" that give them influence over the party.

Making the right noises on a particular issue, while simultaneously trying to undermine the means to make progress with the issue, is the classic Tom Daschle model. Other examples of Daschle's duplicity are the issues of abortion and the Iraq war. While Tom Daschle voted for bills like a ban on partial-birth abortion, at the same time he also conducted fund-raising efforts for NARAL. Tom Daschle also voted for the resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq, but then tried to undermine support for the war with his now infamous comments shortly before the war began.

As supporters of campaign finance reform are discovering to their chagrin, Tom Daschle has a tremendous capacity for trying to have it both ways on controversial issues. Which brings us to the larger question. When has Tom Daschle ever taken a principled stand on anything?

posted by Jason | 6:09 PM

THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHEASTERN SOUTH DAKOTA?: Today's New York Times Book Review contains a review of "Parasites Like Us," a novel by Adam Johnson. Excerpt from the NYT:

This sense of anthropology's teasing opacity lies at the heart of ''Parasites Like Us,'' Adam Johnson's grim romp of a first novel (after last year's story collection, ''Emporium''). The book begins with Hank Hannah, a professor of anthropology at the University of Southeastern South Dakota, addressing himself to his colleagues of the future. The culture once known as ''America,'' it seems, has summarily extinguished itself, and Hank, one of its sole survivors, wants to set posterity straight about its decline and fall.

You can visit Adam Johnson's website by clicking HERE, and Adam Johnson also has a blog, which you can visit by clicking HERE.

posted by Jason | 5:03 PM
Ungarnered Praise
Talon News Series on Argus Leader Bias