At least he won't go hungry... (Lee Schoenbeck and friends, from Schoenbeck Twitter feed, 2014.11.14)

At least he won't go hungry... (Lee Schoenbeck and friends, from Schoenbeck Twitter feed, 2014.11.14)

Not only did the 2014 election deprive us the pleasure of testing Lee Schoenbeck's commitment to disenfranchising District 3 and RV voters, but the legislative caucus has deprived us the pleasure of Lee Schoenbeck's leadership. Despite months of machinating by Watertown's imminently Rotunda-revisiting Representative-Elect, GOP House members and members-elect picked Rep. Steve Westra of Sioux Falls as their assistant majority leader.

Rep.-Elect Schoenbeck has graced these blog pages for years with numerous intelligent, kind, and/or provocative comments. Rep. Westra has yet to contribute any thoughts to our rollicking civic discussion. One can only conclude that Schoenbeck possesses an intellect far superior to Westra's and that the SDGOP has passed up an opportunity to boost its collective IQ and Blog-Q.

We can only hope Schoenbeck will emerge smiling from this defeat and use the extra time left in his hands by his colleagues to post more blog comments... and maybe call some more Republicans S.O.B.'s who have it coming.


Legislator-in-waiting Lee Schoenbeck gets to shout "Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!" in my ear all night.

On Sunday, the Aberdeen American News ran an article headlined, "Secretary of State: Elliott Residency Valid." Elisa Sand's article said that Secretary of State Jason Gant found no violation in Democrat Burt Elliott's use of an Aberdeen address for his voter registration and District 3 House nominating petition. Republicans hollered that that headline was misleading; I defended the headline.

Mr. Schoenbeck, who is keenly interested in keeping Elliott from taking a seat in his House, sends me a link to this correction from the Aberdeen American News:

Headline wrong: South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant said District 3 House candidate Burt Elliott’s election petition met all requirements for Elliott to run in the district. The headline suggested Gant could determine the validity of Elliott’s residency, when it should have referred to his petition.

We regret the error ["Setting It Straight," Aberdeen American News, 2014.10.29].

As I said in an e-mail to Mr. Schoenbeck, Arrgghh!

I think the Aberdeen paper caved too easily... but the Aberdeen paper has called it, and I cede the point. The headline should have read, "Secretary of State: Elliott Residency Valid for Nominating Petition."

My friend Elisa Sand should now follow up with an in-depth analysis of the Schoenbeck argument, the Heinemeyer precedent, and the implications for South Dakota's thousands of RV voters.


Burt Elliott is in trouble. The Brown County Democrat wants to return to the Legislature to serve District 3. Unfortunately, he lives in District 2. Elliott said at a Brown County forum on September 27 that while he has a house in District 2, he has rented an apartment in District 3. Elliott says he made the move for "family issues," but pretty much admits that he has cited this apartment address as his voting residence to get around the fact that Republicans gerrymandered his house address out of District 3, which he served from 2001 through 2008.

Soon-to-be District 5 Representative Lee Schoenbeck is already swinging his leadership bat. The likely Republican House leader has reached across district lines to warn Aberdeen voters that if they elect Democrat Burt Elliot as District 3 representative, he will work to refuse Elliott a seat:

Schoenbeck said that, if Elliott is elected, he could run into trouble with a clause of the state Constitution that reads, “Each house (of the Legislature) shall be the judge of the election returns and qualifications of its own members.”

He said the House might rule that Elliott doesn’t actually live in District 3 [Scott Waltman, "Republicans Question Elliott's Residency," Aberdeen American News, 2014.09.28].

We don't see a lot of candidates from one district telling folks in other districts whom to elect. And to threaten to disenfranchise another district's majority takes grit.

But Schoenbeck can back his grit with law. Back in 2006, my Madison neighbor Jeff Heinemeyer sold his house in Madison and moved out to Lake Madison. Yet he fought to keep the Madison seat he'd won on the Heartland Consumer Power District board by renting an apartment downtown and declaring that flat his voting residence. In November 2008, the South Dakota Supreme Court kicked him off the board, saying renting an apartment while maintaining a house as one's practical primary residence does not satisfy the statutory criteria for voting residence.

Schoenbeck also has the state constitution on his side. Article 9 Section 3 makes each chamber of the Legislature "the judge of the election returns and qualifications of its own members." Schoenbeck and a Republican majority can overturn the popular will of District 3, refuse to seat Elliott, and submit the resulting vacancy to the Governor for filling.

Heinemeyer v. Heartland gives Schoenbeck authority to invoke the Legislature's power to reject an elected representative. Schoenbeck further contends that Elliott may have committed perjury when he signed his voter registration application, which includes the statement, "I actually live at and have no present intention of leaving the above address."

I wonder if Schoenbeck will also declare perjurious South Dakota's numerous RV voters. The Lake County Auditor's office informs me that about 1,700 people have sworn to that same statement of residency 110 East Center in Madison, the physical address of As is the case at similar businesses in Hanson, Minnehaha, and Pennington counties, RVers can rent a mailbox at 110 East Center, register to vote in Lake County, and enjoy the legal benefits of voting residency. They don't "actually live" at 110 East Center, and "actually live" figures prominently in Heinemeyer v. Heartland.

Are the thousands of RVers making South Dakota their paper home all guilty of perjury? I know that Republicans have much more interest in thwarting a Democrat's campaign for Legislature than in disenfranchising thousands of wealthy retirees who enjoy dodging taxes. But the same logic and law that compel Schoenbeck to stand against Elliott's manipulation of his voting residence would seem to apply to the RVers who spend less time in their chosen voting residence than Heinemyer or Elliott.


All you nice out-state Republicans getting post cards from Base Connect, pay attention....

Pat Powers continues to dismiss my investigation and criticism of fake Senate candidate Annette Bosworth as hysterical sexism. He'll have a harder time dismissing prominent Republican Lee Schoenbeck, who dismisses Bosworth in language easily as harsh as mine.

Powers reports that Bosworth has responded to the revelation of a campaign worker who quit over legal and ethical concerns and who is still owed back wages (a claim backed up by Bosworth's last FEC filing, page 119, Debts and Obligations: Ethan Crisp, $2,000) with evasive meme-nuttiness:

This is the repeating story of America. Have you ever read the book Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand? I feel like Dagny Taggert [Annette Bosworth, quoted by Pat Powers, "The Experience of a Lifetime, or Lesson for a Lifetime: Crisp Unpaid, Atlas Shrugs," Dakota War College, 2014.03.09].

Lee Schoenbeck, Republican candidate for District 5 House and leading light within the South Dakota GOP, flunks Bosworth on literature and politics:

Well I have read Atlas Shrugged, and Dr Bosworth, you’re no Dagny Taggert. You are the kind of fraud that caused Atlas to Shrug [Lee Schoenbeck, comment, Dakota War College, 2014.03.09].

Ayn Rand was a fraud, too (see also here, here, and here), but that's not the point!

Like Lee, I've read Atlas Shrugged. Like Lee, I know Dagny Taggart was an honest, successful businesswoman who paid her employees. Like Lee, I know Annette Bosworth is none of those things.

And like Lee, I describe Annette Bosworth with the word fraud.


As the Republican spin machine celebrates spending tax dollars on legislators' dues to a private, pro-corporate lobbying organization, Rep. Stace Nelson (R-19/Fulton) establishes his crossover conservative-independent cred by agreeing with Dems like Rep. Bernie Hunhoff that sending your tax dollars to ALEC is a bad idea.

Rep. Nelson appears on Sourcewatch's list of ALEC-affiliated South Dakota politicians. Rep. Nelson did indeed join ALEC during his freshman term in 2011, as he says is expected by leadership of their rookie legislators. After his first year of Pierre rough-and-tumble opened his eyes to the crony-capitalist machinations of ALEC and the SDGOP, Nelson says he canceled his ALEC membership and did not re-up after his 2012 re-election. He says he has discouraged others from joining ALEC. Rep. Nelson says taxpayers should not pay for legislators' dues to ALEC or any other such organization.

Former Republican Senator Lee Schoenbeck from Watertown also tries to talk some sense into his ALEC-pocketed pals. In response to blogger Pat Powers's spin, he contends that legislators could learn as much about legislation in other states by simply hitting the Google bar instead of bellying up to the wet bar at ALEC's brainwashing conventions.

So while purportedly conservative Republicans advocate more government spending on biased organizations and legislator travel, real conservatives like Nelson and Schoenbeck propose saving you money.

If Dems should run Johnson for Senate and Herseth Sandlin for Governor, Republicans should run Nelson for Senate and Schoenbeck for Governor.


A couple days ago when I responded with disgust to the Legislature's announcement that it wants to cut funding for South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Rep. Stace Nelson tweeted back that SDPB was using our tax dollars dishonestly.

Whoa! What evil did SDPB wreak now?

The new bee in the big man from Fulton's bonnet is the February 21 broadcast of Statehouse Live, in which Lee Schoenbeck, representing the Republican Party, let Stace have it. After 18:00 on the video, Schoenbeck said that Rep. Nelson is a one-trick pony the leadership would do better to ignore unless and until Nelson learns to "be a part of the process." Paraphrasing Monsignor Francis Sampson, Schoenbeck said that if Rep. Nelson has faced grief, "sometimes the S.O.B. has it coming." (Do savor Stephanie Rissler's nervous giggle as she makes a mental note to include a five-second delay on the next broadcast.)

First, a quick distraction: where's Tony Post? Aren't South Dakota Republicans paying him a lot of money to be their executive director and represent them the way SD Dems exec Ben Nesselhuf does on such programs? Of course, given Tony's far from spectacular TV presence, I'd pick Lee over Tony as spokesman every time. But if the Republican party wants to call Stace Nelson and SOB, why not send their exec to do that?

But enough of Tony. Let's yield the floor to Rep. Nelson, who sends the following missive on his beef with SDPB and Mr. Schoenbeck:

Recently Tim Rave & Tony Post of the SD Republican Party had Lee. Schoenbeck answer some questions posed of the party during a Feb 21st SDPB show. Even though Mr. Schoenbeck is apparently not even a Vice Chair of a SD GOP county party they invited him to represent the whole SD GOP Party and allowed him to make some pretty despicable comments about me, even though Mr. Schoenbeck has NO first hand knowledge of anything that transpired in Pierre this last year.

SDPB refused to allow me any opportunity to provide the truth, and they refused to provide any clarification that Mr. Schoenbeck in fact DOES not represent the SD Republican party.

Taking Mr. Schoenbeck's criticism of my ineffectiveness on behalf of my constituents to heart, I decided to see what his standard was. I did a little research of Mr. Schoenbeck's first years in the Senate and offer this factual comparison:

Mr. Schoenbeck first year in SD Senate 1995:

  • 1 Senate Bill Primed: SB 167 -Tabled in Senate Committee
  • 1 Senate (only) Resolution Passed by Senate
  • 1 Senate Commemoration

(In fairness, primary sponsorship is not indicated on any House Bills. Number & any success therein is unknown.)

Stace Nelson first year in the House 2011:
10 House Bills Primed:

  • HB 1082 41st day in House Ag Committee
  • HB 1083 Passed Committee, Died on full vote of the House 29-40
  • HB 1084 41st Day in House Judiciary Committee
  • HB 1085 Passed into Law
  • HB 1086 41st Day House State Affairs Committee
  • HB 1162 Passed into Law
  • HB 1163 Passed Committee, Died on the full vote of the House 27-40
  • HB 1164 41st Day House Ag Committee
  • HB 1178 Passed Committee, Died on the full vote of the House 21-48 (Governor enacted in Oct11 by executive order)
  • HB 1183 41st Day House Judiciary Committee

1 House Bill entered AFTER cut off time through personally entering it via committee & priming in both House & Senate:

  • HB 1256 Passed into Law

2 Senate Bills Primed in House:

  • SB 54 42st Day Senate Judiciary
  • SB 139 Passed into Law

1 House Concurrent Resolution (passed both Senate & House)
15 House Commemorations

Mr. Schoenbeck second year in SD Senate 1996:
8 Senate Bills Primed:

  • SB 99 -passed Senate Died in House
  • SB 100 Passed into Law
  • SB 129 36st Day in House Committee
  • SB 166 Passed into Law
  • SB 167 Tabled in Senate Committee
  • SB 168 Tabled in Senate Committee
  • SB 246 Passed into Law
  • SB 247 Tabled in Senate Committee

(In fairness, primary sponsorship is not indicated on any House Bills. Number & any success therein is unknown.)

Stace Nelson second year in the House 2011:
8 House Bills Primed:

  • HB 1139 41st Day in House Committee
  • HB 1140 41st Day in House Committee
  • HB 1141 41st Day in House Committee
  • HB 1142 41st Day in House Committee
  • HB 1143 Died on the House floor 27-43
  • HB 1230 Passed both House & Senate Awaiting signing by Gov.
  • HB 1238 Tabled in House Committee
  • HB 1249 41st Day in House Committee

1 House Concurrent Resolution (passed both Senate & House)
19 House Commemorations

As most SD political junkies know, a senator's vote carries double over a representative. Even with that:
Schoenbeck first term:

  • 9 bills primed
  • 3 bills into law
  • 6 bills out of committee
  • 1 Senate (only) Resolution
  • 1 Commemoration

Nelson's first term:

  • 19 bills primed
  • 5 bills into law*
  • 11 bills out of committee
  • 2 House with Senate Concurrance Resolutions Passed
  • 34 Commemorations
  • 1 Senate bill primed in House passed into law

*Governor expected to sign 2012's HB 1230

If I was so ineffective, as claimed by Mr. Schoenbeck, what does that say about his first term? The facts are a pesky little thing. Too bad SDPB was not willing to actually do some investigative reporting on the contrived scandals about me this year, they would have found those facts to be different [Rep. Stace Nelson (R-25/Fulton), e-mail, 2012.02.28].

Stace, I don't think Lee's comments are worth defunding SDPB. And I'm not sure picking on Lee is the wisest idea.

But I do agree that when someone calls you an SOB on the public airwaves, you are entitled to respond.


Listen to Lee: there is no tenure!

There hasn't been a legal impediment to terminating an educator in South Dakota since 1995....

There may have been a management issue that continued since 1995 as to whether administrators are doing their job [Former state legislator Lee Schoenbeck, interview, Statehouse Live, 2012.01.31].

There's certainly no management issue at Wolsey-Wessington, where superintendent James Cutshaw found "tenure" (more accurately called continuing contract) no barrier at all to clearing out the teachers he felt weren't performing up to par. Good administrators can get rid of bad teachers.

Sections 37 through 43 of HB 1234, the continuing contract revisions, are an unnecessary attack on teacher rights. There is no tenure, only due process that protects good teachers from bad administrators.


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