Last updated on 2013.06.19
Senator Stan Adelstein (R-32/Rapid City) graces this humble blog with a comment that may rattle Pierre. No friend of the crony kakistocracy that Jason Gant has brought into the Secretary of State's office, Senator Adelstein says he has sent the following letter to Attorney General Marty Jackley requesting an investigation of Secretary Gant. I reprint in full, adding hyperlinks for public edification:
Dear Attorney General Jackley
I request that you investigate the office of South Dakota Secretary of State. I am concerned about allegations of impropriety, conflict of interest, and possible illegal activity.
A political commercial enterprise "Dakota Campaign Store" solicits political consulting, and sale of campaign material. It appears that it may actually be operating out of the Secretary's office — by Mr Pat Powers, who is an apparent full time employee of that office, and has primary responsibility, in that office, for some of the same IT services that he is advertising.
Does "DakotaCampaignStore.com," use political filings from candidates to solicit business? It is obvious that Mr. Powers is the first to see any such filing — and with the new "assistance" program offered by his office has access to private information, not available to his competition.
I am concerned about the endorsement of a primary election of the incumbent Speaker of the House of Representatives. Does that endorsement arise out on any financial arrangements with this "consulting" service? Were any of the campaign material used in that primary race purchased through or by that enterprise?
Does the Secretary himself directly or indirectly participate in earnings of this political operation? By indirectly, I mean discounts for material, utilization of services pro bono, etc.
Has the Secretary purchased, even at market value, campaign material from that enterprise for his re-election campaign, or made use of mailing lists, etc?
Has any of the business of this commercial service utilized State computers, office space, lists, office supplies, etc. in the conduct of it's affairs.
Time may be of the essence! I went online at 12:40 mountain time, June 15 and perused in detail Mr Powers advertising on DakotaCampaignStore.com. Shortly thereafter I expressed my concern to most of my Senate Colleagues. Since my posting to them, that website has been taken down! Mr Powers, among other things, is well known as a computer Guru — and I fear that evidence of wrongdoing could be erased, revised or otherwise distorted.
If you establish apparent impropriety or misbehavior, I am also asking for your advice with regards two sections of Article XVI of the SD Constitution. Is it possible that Section 2 — "impeachment" — is something I should be seeking as a Senator or possible (and to my Engineers mind) more likely Section 3, "Removal from Office." My education and background makes the distinction between the offences listed in each somewhat unclear.
Stanford M Adelstein State Senator, District 32 [submitted to Madville Times, 2012.06.17]
I think I can answer Senator Adelstein's closing question. Impeachment is the official accusation of wrongdoing in office. The Senator will have to get a majority of his House counterparts to vote for that. The Senate tries impeachment. If two-thirds of the Senators vote to convict, removal from office is the only punishment they can mete out (that, and permanent disqualification from state office).
Grounds for impeachment include "drunkenness, crimes, corrupt conduct, or malfeasance or misdemeanor in office." Have Secretary Gant's political machinations and non-enforcement of clear notary law risen to that threshold? I look forward to the Attorney General's response to Senator Adelstein and the Senator's subsequent actions.
Tangentially Related [10:40 CDT]: Another reason I like Stan Adelstein: as an owner of the Latchstring Inn and Spearfish Canyon Lodge, he wants Valentine Mining Company to hold off on digging up and possibly polluting Spearfish Canyon until he and fellow legislators can study our mining and environmental regulations and establish sufficient bonding requirements to protect one of the prettiest places in South Dakota from more mining damage.