Last updated on 2014.11.24
When blogger Pat Powers grabbed the golden patronage ring after the 2010 election, his new boss, Secretary of State Jason Gant, said Powers wouldn't have time for political shenanigans:
Secretary of State-elect Jason Gant says he didn't tell Pat Powers to impose the nuclear option on the South Dakota War College archives.
But Gant did tell his new director of operations that blogging and directing SOS operations wouldn't mix.
"He won't be blogging anymore," Gant said Monday. "There's no time. There's too much work to do. He's going to be working full time."
And I suppose it wouldn't look good for an SOS DOO to be ripping folks in public. Hence, the deleted War College archives.
It's up to Powers, the often-cantankerous Republican who fathered the South Dakota War College blog, to decide whether he lives in Brookings and works in Pierre or moves to Pierre, his home town.
"He'll be working 8 to 5 every day," Gant said. "It's up to him where he lives" [Kevin Woster, "From War College to SOS, in a Cloud of Nuked Archives," Mount Blogmore, 2010.12.13].
But after 5 p.m., Powers apparently still has time to make some money off the elections he helps his boss oversee. Mr. Ehrisman notes with concern that Powers still operates DakotaCampaignStore.com, a political advertising and consulting firm. Now it's one thing that Powers will switch on his printer and shoot out 5000 postcards or stickers for your campaign. It's a-whole-nother thing that a current employee of the South Dakota Secretary of State's office will sit down with you and advise you how to win an election:
We do more than print materials. We're available for more in-depth consultation depending on your experience, and your needs. We can design a strategy based on your resources to take you from the ground floor to being a serious competitor [Pat Powers, promotional text, DakotaCampaignStore.com, downloaded 2012.05.07].
I'm going to be submitting a whole whack of petitions to Secretary Gant's office in the coming weeks. Forgive me if I find it a little disconcerting that one of the Secretary's top lieutenants could make a lot of money from people who oppose what I'm trying to put on the ballot. Come November, we'll all be counting on Gant and company to count ballots fairly. How confident can we be in the fairness of that process when one of those counters has a direct financial interest in seeing some of those races tilt in favor of his paying customers?
I harbor no illusions about the political impartiality of Secretary Gant's hand-picked staff of hyperpartisans. But on top of that, Powers layers financial partiality. If we can draw an ethical line anywhere in South Dakota government, an employee of the state election chief freelancing as a campaign consultant would seem to be somewhere south of it.