First thing the congressional Republicans tried to do this session was to kill the Office of Congressional Ethics. When that failed, due to public uproar, they were forced to backtrack. However, I’m sure that they are brainstorming a work-around to be used as stealthily as possible.
Since they couldn’t get away with it yet on a national level, it looks like they’re trying it on a state level. Case in point: South Dakota.
First, a quick disclaimer: The Regressives control the South Dakota house 60-10 and the senate 29-6. So, when I write “legislators,” I’m talking about Regressives.
Last election, the voters of South Dakota passed Measure 22, also known as “The Anti-Corruption Act.” The measure was an attempt to curb the influence of moneyed interests in elections and lobbying and hopefully eliminate some of the rampant corruption.
What corruption? Without going into details, which would result in a very long post, let me just say that The Center for Public Integrity gave the state an “F” in their State Integrity Investigation and ranked them 47th out of the 50 states.
The very idea of unbought elections and the elimination of being pampered by lobbyists, let alone be fined up to $1000 and sent to prison for a year for violations, must have scared the hell out of the legislators, because they immediately declared an “emergency.”
The reason for the “emergency” was so that they could immediately subvert the will of the people instead of waiting the normal 90 days before their subversion goes into effect.
The process began yesterday (1/23/17) with a committee hearing. It took 2 hours for the committee to approve a repeal of the measure by a 10-3 vote. The committee’s two Democrats were joined by one Republican to vote against the repeal.
After the vote, Rep. Larry Rhoden had this to say,
Judge us on the outcome of this legislative session. Give us a chance to honor the will of the voters, because IM 22 didn’t.
It seems to me that if the voters passed the measure, that WAS the will of the voters. And, I’m sure I mentioned, as far as integrity goes, South Dakota is number 47. Somehow, “We’re number 47, we’re number 47” doesn’t make for a good cheerleading yell.
Oh, but they did promise a replacement with their repeal. One of the problems with the so-called replacement is that it can’t be referred back to the voters for their judgement. As Doug Kronaizl, spokesman for Represent South Dakota, put it,
The problem with repeal and replace is, what we’ve said from the beginning, that it repeals what the voters asked for and replaces it with something we didn’t have a direct say in.
The bill now goes to the house and if approved, goes on to the senate. If they pass it, it lands on the governor’s desk. This same governor campaigned against the measure.
I used the word “if” when writing about passage. However, with Regressive super-majorities in both houses and and anti-measure 22 Governor, is there really any doubt?