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Adelstein Says the Magic Words: Secretary of State… Impeachment!

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 "," 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 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.


  1. mike 2012.06.18

    Marty won't do anything.

    Gant is clearly ruining his own political career by having such a political office. He has made bad decisions and needs to right the ship or he will lose in '14.

    Some of his former Senate colleagues need to take him aside and tell him which staff members need to go if he wants to stay.

  2. Bill Fleming 2012.06.18

    Hey, it wasn't a staff member who decided not to follow the law on notarizing petitions.

    And it wasn't a staff member who decided endorsing candidates is a good idea (even when you run the office in charge of counting the votes.)

    And it wasn't a staff member who allowed PP to continue with his campaign consulting business while on staff.

    It was Gant. Period.

    I hope this doesn't turn in to a lot of PP bashing, because that would be missing the point IMO. There's an argument that says PP is better contained (as far as his bashing of opposition is concerned) by keeping him in his job and keeping an eye on him than turning him loose on the general public.

    But hey, it would probably be good for the War College Blog. Say what you will about Pat's style, he ran a more interesting blog shop than the current crew is doing. ...just sayin'.

  3. Chris 2012.06.18

    Regardless of fault, Mike's pretty spot-on with what will inevitably happen. I strongly dislike Gant like most on this blog, but those grounds probably aren't enough to make the Republicans turn against him.

    That being said, the grill's obviously on. Hopefully something good comes from this.

  4. Steve Sibson 2012.06.18

    Perhaps this week's SDGOP convention will be a barn burner!

  5. mike 2012.06.18

    PP might be a clever blogger but he's not a good political consultant. He's arogant and always thinking about what's best for him instead of what's best for his boss or his current position. He's never going to be satisfied to be making $60 some thousand dollars in his current job he's only focused on how to get him and his boss into the next position. Someone might want to tell them the best way to move up is to do a good job in the SOS office they currently ocupy.

    How much press has Gant garnered in the past year? and 80% of it has been negative and overshadowed the good. WHO is giving Gant the advice? It might be PP but he doesn't deserve all the blame.

    Gant needs to call time out and get advice from his closest friends on how to handle this situation. It is out of control. When was the last time a state senator wanted to impeach a sitting statewide office holder of the same party?

    It's hit the fan and Gant needs to make changes or he will be a one term SOS. There are Republicans lining up to challenge him in '14. If a decent candidate emerges it won't even be close.

  6. Douglas Wiken 2012.06.18

    I think Gant made too much of minor petition errors and I think his decision to notarize another person's signature is within the law and irrelevant in any case. The whole idea of petitions with required valid signatures is to assure that the ballot is not filled with weirdos unable to get even their own spouse's vote. Gant got on the ballot and was elected. That sort of negates the reasoning behind impeaching him.

    Now, if Adelstein would support recall and impeachment for legislators, county commissioners, and school board members, we might take him a bit more seriously.

  7. Troy 2012.06.18

    I agree Doug. In the end, this is just a personal vendetta against Pat as we all know there is no love lost between Stan and Pat.

  8. Jane 2012.06.18

    Troy, I'm sure that the "Powers" that be want this to be dismissed as a personal issue between two feuding politicians. But that misses the entire point.

    There are clearly two sets of rules, ethics, and professionalism in the Office of the Secretary of State. One for the favorites and one for the rest. Gant, Powers, Gosch, et al are all caught in the same web of sloppy, partisan arrogance.

    One wonders if the AG and Judge Barnett might be caught in the partisan web as well.

    The State Board of Elections might have a different view of the level of hackery taking place at the SOS's office. That will be interesting to watch.

  9. Stan Adelstein 2012.06.18

    No Sibby - the LOVE that I do not want to loose is my love for this magnificent system of freedom WITH honor. Even in Chicago they have the former, not the latter.

    Yes, I do loathe the anti-semite Powers -- probably because my family started in Kadoka --- where just the opposite prevailed.

    Stan Adelstein

  10. Jana 2012.06.18

    Troy, I remember some of the scathing attacks that Pat inflicted on Stan. I'm wondering if Pat thought that those would just go away with the scrubbing of DWC or otherwise be forgotten?

    Out of curiosity, do you think Stan has a valid point? Did you think that Pat had a valid point? Was Stan a fair target? Is PP a fair target?

  11. grudznick 2012.06.18

    Mr. Jones, is it JUST a personal vendetta, or is there at least an appearance of impropriety?

    Mr. Sibby, how much did you pay Mr. PP for election advice?

  12. Donald Pay 2012.06.18

    It was interesting to read the Black Hills Pioneer article on the Valentine mine proposal. One thing that article shows is that it isn't just "environmental extremists" who are concerned with mining in that area.

    The initial opposition to the heap leach mines in the Hills in the late 80s came from Republicans. In fact the first contested case hearing on the Wharf permit was filed by Republicans with connections to Bill Janklow.

    Every now and then Stan gets it right.

  13. Testor15 2012.06.18 now is just a 'blank' page and not a "404 page not found" empty web address. The listing is now private. It appears PP may still be operating some kind of web work based out of the site or he would have shut it down completely.
    Powers and Gant believe they are smarter than the rest of us and can make their corruption disappear. The tubes of the internets don't work like they want. Some of us have long memories and big hard drives.
    PP has made his name by attempting to destroy anyone or anything he did not agree with in his small world view. I commend Stan, Cory and l3wis at for their sticking to this story. The arrogant ignorance of PP and Gant will definitely be their downfall.
    Stan, keep up the heat! In the 1970's pre-Janklow days of South Dakota politics there was a major push for sunshine laws to open up government. Mike Rounds, Denny Dugood, Gant, PP and the other lackeys running our state government must be made to atone for their transgressions.
    I see the RCJ has now posted the story, will the 'big' city paper in the east mention it? How about the Stormland weather and sports reporting service do a real story about it? Where is the PayWall Leader in this reporting? This really is a big story on many levels. It is a road map to the corruption known around here as South Dakota power politics.
    The lies, deceit, and profiteering from being in a trusted position, are just a tips of the iceberg. Maybe this is the iceberg to bring down the 34 year reign of corruption headed by power players of South Dakota at the expense of us?

  14. beenthere 2012.06.18

    Very Interesting story. I had no idea until now that Powers was still in the campaign/consulting business while a full-time employee of the SOS office. The fact that the webpage of his business is now gone gives the appearance that there is something fishy going on and that he had something to hide. Perhaps not illegal,but highly unethical for an employee of the SOS to be moonlighting like this on the side. How could Gant not have known? Maybe Powers was even working for those Gant endorsed ? Do campaign finance reports have to give WHERE exactly the advertising dollars were spent?

  15. Redistricted 11 Rep 2012.06.19

    There is a God...I didn't even have to DO anything to be vindicated

  16. Redistricted 11 Rep 2012.06.19

    However, a word of advice if one challenges Second floor SD State will be ostracized, marginalized, demonized, ridiculed and don't worry, we don't have a dictatorship in SD because we have "freedom" of ideas and speech (as long as it is exactly what the Executive branch wants to hear)

  17. Barry Smith 2012.06.19

    It is a sad statement on the failure of the Democratic party in South Dakota, that there are so few in power that the Republicans now must turn their political teeth on each other.The redistricting and shutting down of legislation and shenanigans at the SOS are political tools usually reserved for use against Democrats exclusively, but with one party rule , party unity comes at the expense of a purge. I have to admit though it is kinda fun to watch Republicans eat their own :-)

  18. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.06.19

    So Rep. Hubbel, if you're not up for re-election this November, what comes next? What do you do to stay involved and push against that dictatorship you see?

  19. Steve Sibson 2012.06.19

    "It is a road map to the corruption known around here as South Dakota power politics.
    The lies, deceit, and profiteering from being in a trusted position, are just a tips of the iceberg. Maybe this is the iceberg to bring down the 34 year reign of corruption headed by power players of South Dakota at the expense of us?"

    Right on, when will the rest of South Dakota catch on!!

    "It is a sad statement on the failure of the Democratic party in South Dakota, that there are so few in power that the Republicans now must turn their political teeth on each other."

    That is because they are in the Republican Party. We conservatives call them RINOs as they prove my point by supporting the same agenda the Obama Democrats do:

    1) Since 2008, the SDGOP has increased the state budget from $3 billion to $4 billion ala Obama's stimulus.
    2) They are implementing ObamaCare, which benefits the insurance and medical corporatists (Which former South Dakota governor is involved with the insurance industry and is working on a DC healthcare task for with Tom Daschle? How much influence does Sanford impose ala campaign finance and pubic/private partnerships?)
    3) Daugaard's education plan is also Obama's.
    4) Daugaard's economic plan includes Obama's green energy...wind.

    And the liberal RINOs are working with the Democrats and the mainstream media (see Argus Leader, Keloland, and Mercer's primary reporting) to re-label conservative Republicans as "The Tea Party" so that the are "ostracized, marginalized, demonized, ridiculed and..." I thought the Tea Party evolved out of those Republcians and Independents who were shocked by how fast to the left Obama was traveling when he entered the White House. So Romney will slow us down a what!! It is difficult to determine who uses the most deception today...Romney or Daugaard.

  20. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.06.19

    From Lengerich's report, linked by Bill above:

    "Rausch confirmed Monday that he bought mailers from Dakota Campaign Store in 2010 and for the June 5, 2012, primary election while Powers worked for Gant.

    "Rausch said all of his business dealings with Powers took place at Powers' home, not in Gant's office. He said it would be up to the attorney general to decide if there was a problem with Powers' business."
    Holy cow! The dots connect!

  21. Bill Fleming 2012.06.19

    One can only marvel at the hubris here. I truly believed PP's leaving the campaign store ad up on DWC's website was just an oversight.

    Or, that he had perhaps delegated the operation of it to someone else while he was working in the SOS office.

    This has the feel of those guys thumbing their nose at anyone in SD who thinks such activity might not be the best way for a supposedly impartial State office to be run.

    My advice to them now is, whatever you do, don't try to hide anything. Recall how often the 'coverup' can be worse than the initial offense.

    Time to come clean boys. What the heck have you guys been up to?

  22. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.06.19

    Hubris, indeed. The screen shots of Pat's snarky redirects that South Dacola got aren't going to look good in an Attorney General's investigation.

  23. Bill Fleming 2012.06.19

    No kidding! Did he (Scott) send them to Jackely?

  24. testor15 2012.06.19

    Why would anyone have to send the screengrabs when you can find them at

  25. Bill Fleming 2012.06.19

    testor15, in order to let Jackley know they are there? (...or do you think maybe Marty frequents Scott's blog?)

  26. Stan Adelstein 2012.06.19

    Now, was it the tooth fairy that suggested that two individuals that have private offices, about 190 feet (and a stairway) apart in the cozy capitol - leave that warmth and drive a little over mile in Pierre winter weather, to do business. Come now Mr. Speaker (and Mr. Secretary - who said the same thing) -- neither of you seem to fit into the tooth fairy's costume well --- unless all three of you are as fictitious as your words.

    Stan Adelstein

    By the way, does anyone on this blog know why Secretary Gant would drive all of the way to the Hills to ask to talk to an adversary yesterday?

  27. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.06.19

    The author of this blog certainly does not know, Senator. Perhaps you could enlighten us as to the motivation and content of that adversarial talk?

  28. testor15 2012.06.19

    If subprime Mike in Sioux Falls has someone assigned to read l3wis' blog and Dusty is a frequent reader, I'm thinking they are. Somehow the word is out. Whistleblowers are a wonderful thing!

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