Bob Mercer digs through the state campaign finance records and finds Secretary of State Jason Gant striking yet another blow against public trust in his office. This time, Gant is accepting big PAC donations from contractors with his office:
Gantâ€™s political action committee, Committed to Victory, received $7,500 from BPro, a Pierre-based technology services firm.
The committee also received $10,000 from an Omaha, Neb., company called Government Systems, Software and Services Inc.
Those payments were made for access to participate in a pheasant-hunting event which Gant hosted for other secretaries of state.
Gantâ€™s PAC appeared to have more than $12,500 left over after covering expenses for the hunt [Bob Mercer, "State Contractors Paying for Access," Aberdeen American News, October 16, 2012].
In addition to access to other secretaries of state at Gant's hunt, the contractors have made hundreds of thousands of dollars in deals with the Secretary of State's office:
BPro was paid more than $630,000 by South Dakotaâ€™s state government for services delivered under various contracts during the 2010 through 2012 budget years.
Much of that activity occurred under contracts with the secretary of state office under Gant or the previous secretary of state, Chris Nelson. Gant took office in January 2011.
Elections Systems and Software, a company with the same Omaha address as GSSS, received nearly $32,000 from state government during 2011 and 2012.
One of the companyâ€™s specialties is electronic voting, involving the use of computer-linked voter-registration books that allow for the use of voting centers that replace precinct halls [Mercer, 2012.10.16].
Hey, that knife needs a twist: Mercer's investigation of the last decade of campaign records finds that Gant's predecessor, Chris Nelson, never accepted campaign donations from vendors.
We need to give Jason the nickname "Arrow," not because he's straight, but because he ArroGantly disregards integrity and public trust for his own gain. From day one, Secretary Gant has treated his office not as a sacred public trust but as his personal plaything, a title and power to serve his own selfish, partisan interests.
South Dakota Republicans, Jason Gant is your biggest current embarrassment (and that's saying a lot, given the woman you have occasionally occupying our seat in Congress). The sooner you get him out of office, by impeachment or by twisted-arm resignation, the better, for both your party and for the state of South Dakota.