The press should be focusing on building the case for the incompetence and/or corruption in Secretary of State Jason Gant's office. To make sure that case stays strong, I must take a moment to knock one wobbly leg out from under that case.

Lori Stacey, who placed a distant margin-of-error third in the 2010 Secretary of State election, claimed that Jason Gant used Pat Powers's campaign materials business as a source of funds for his own campaign that he never officially declared on his campaign finance reports:

Back in my run for office in 2010 against Jason Gant and Ben Nesselhuf, I wanted to order signs from a South Dakota business. The only one that I could find online just so happened to be Pat Powers' business. The reason I completely ruled it out was that Gant had basically taken over part of his website stating that using this business would be like contributing to his campaign for Secretary of State. He implied in writing that proceeds from Powers' sign business would help him to get elected [Lori Stacey, "The Gant/Powers Impropriety Goes Back Further Than Most People Think," Sioux Falls Conservative Examiner, 2012.06.24].

Basically... implied... does anyone else get queasy about the solidity of an argument when they hear those words?

Stacey claimed in her June 24 blog post that she could document her basic implication, but explains why she didn't produce such documentation during the 2010 campaign:

The decision was made to have a few people save screenshots of the evidence for possible exposure later in the course of my campaign. Exposing this information back then would have gone nowhere and most likely backfired on my campaign as if I was just being "petty" or ultimately a sore loser since a large majority of the small amount of press I received was filled with spin, smears and obvious bias [Stacey, 2012.06.24].

The next day, Stacey explained on this blog that technical difficulties kept her from producing said documentation now:

Cory, There are 3 of us at my request at the time that all saved screen shots of the bold message by Gant on that website. Problem is that all of us are no longer using those particular computers so we are trying to retrieve it off our old hard drives which is a chore right now. If you or anyone you know is good at finding old permalinks, I have the information to tell them exactly what page,etc it was on to hopefully find it. Please let me know. Regardless, if it is found or not, there is at least 4 witnesses that saw the same thing and 1 was in the former SOS office. Working on retrieving the hard evidence that we had but if not we still have credibility in knowing what we clearly saw [Lori Stacey, comment, Madville Times, 2012.06.25].

Three people, none using the same computer as a two years ago, none backing up data, none able to find what at the time they considered sufficiently bold and important to warrant a three-person effort. I smelled bluff...

...and I was right. In comments on this blog overnight, Stacey now speaks solely of eyewitness testimony and a willingness to provide a sworn affidavit. And in a late-night e-mail, Stacey whispers in my ear that she was bluffing:

At least 2 of us would be willing to sign sworn affidavits of what we saw if needed. I had hoped on flushing out his resignation as he knows my story is true and so do many other people but publishing your assumption that I could not find screenshots kind of killed the impact that could have had. Have you never played poker Cory? [Lori Stacey, e-mail to CAH, 2012.07.08 00:10]

We aren't playing poker. We—bloggers, journalists, Senator Adelstein, the Attorney General—are investigating whether Secretary of State Jason Gant has acted unethically, illegally, or just incompetently in office.

Stacey seems to think she has liberty to make up her own facts for her own political purposes. Stacey has bluffed before, publicly threatening to sue me for libel, then backing down when she realized her bluff wouldn't work.

By changing her public story, Stacey undermines her credibility (not that her fantasies about global conspiracies, 9/11, and vaccines left her much credibility to start with). Her mutable public statements more than basically imply that anyone looking to prove malfeasance in the Secretary of State's office should steer clear of testimony from Lori Stacey.

Back off, Lori, and let the adults (or the Vulcans) handle this investigation.