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More Computer Hijinks from Secretary of State’s Office

Last updated on 2013.02.17

Senator Russell Olson and Secretary of State Jason Gant at SDGOP convention. Photo by Sen. Dan Lederman, June 2012
Russ to Jason: "I feel for you, bro. The Internet is nothing but trouble. Ya just gotta block all those troublemakers on Facer and Twitbook, and everything will be fine." (Photo by Dan Lederman, June 2012)

Now even Bob Mercer is finding whacky stuff in the Secretary of State's office. The dogged journalist finds what appears to be an attempt to rewrite the documentary timeline for Jason Gant's private consulting business, the Gant Group. First Mercer finds information listing the business's agent at the non-existent Pierre address of 666 Main. (Please, someone tell me the theocratic wing of the SDGOP will see the Mark of the Beast in Gant's devilry.) Then Mercer finds updated documents changing the agent to Gant himself at his real home address.

Gant says the weird address came from a "dummy document" that a local tech consultant used while working on the system. Reporter David Montgomery calls the dummy document a "minor embarrassment." The weirdest part to my eye is the chronology Mercer lays out:

Gant said the new documents were filed Wednesday and Thursday after the matter was brought to his attention Wednesday afternoon.

However, the chronology indicates that version of the story isn't accurate.

Time stamps on the two new documents filed Wednesday showed 2:09 p.m. That was before the first email was sent to Gant inquiring about the fictitious information. The email went at 3:38 p.m. [Bob Mercer, "Fictitious Data Linked to South Dakota Official," Aberdeen American News, 2012.06.26]

The passive voicw—was brought to his attention—leaves us to wonder who did the bringing, and what prompted them to do so. Could someone in the Secretary of State's office be sitting at the computer all day watching for certain users (journalists? bloggers? legislators? other troublemakers?) accessing certain documents? But if the Secretary of State's office were that attentive, why would they leave dummy documents online? It's almost as if they were leaving crumbs to chase our wild geese in different directions.

Meanwhile, Gant's Constitution Party challenger in the 2010 election, Lori Stacey, is jumping into the anti-Gant fracas. After she is finally going public with allegations of improper campaign contributions from Pat Powers to his patronizer Jason Gant. Stacey offers a lot of possiblies, mays, and passive voice, but incredibly, she and her supporters can't track down the substantiating screenshots they took on multiple computers.

Scott Ehrisman and commenters are scrambling to track the labyrinthine world of IP registration to figure out just where Pat Powers is hiding his continued management of the sputtering Dakota War College.

And just to top it off, Secretary Gant now suddenly has on file in the corporate database a slew of backfiled annual reports and an application for reinstatement from the Madison Community Foundation. I assume this means that the Secretary of State is recertifying a corporation that violated state law and its own by-laws.

Jason Gant's terribly, horrible, no-good, very bad summer continues....


  1. mike 2012.06.27

    Gant's days are numbered. I have to believe a primary challenge is afoot.

    How funny will it be when Gant has to start approving "Impeach Jason Gant" political action committees organized by Adelstein?

  2. mike 2012.06.27

    Are Russ and Gant close?

  3. grudznick 2012.06.27

    Probably 8 inches in elevation and 2 or 3 inches in girth. I've never met Mr. Olson but he looks like a nice young man.

  4. mike 2012.06.27

    Olson probably wouldn't mind getting his hands on Lederman and that dumb camera of his right about now.

  5. Rorschach 2012.06.27

    If there's any substance to this manipulation of filed documents, backdating of filed documents, disappearing of filed documents, or tracking of citizens who access documents on the SOS website, then impeachment is certainly in order. Now who in that office would have the capacity to determine before a request is made that someone had accessed a certain document, and who the person is who accessed a certain document? Could it be PP, who has admitted to tracking IP addresses of DWC users, and who now has access to the SOS website? It doesn't take a genius to connect those dots.

    Having a mind like an elephant, I still haven't forgotten that PP failed to timely register the fictitious name of his campaign business with the SOS office - even while he was working at the SOS office. That's a class 2 misdemeanor (crime). If Gant didn't have him prosecuted, then I have a problem with that. Having an employee who violates criminal laws related to the office he's working in just isn't kosher as Stan might say. There's just a whole lot of straws going onto the camel's back here, and though the camel is of great girth I question its stoutness.

  6. Bob Newland 2012.06.27

    I doubt that the transgressions so far proven or admitted to will lead to impeachment. I also have a less than glorious record of accuracy in doubts or prognostications.

    I do think the "dummy" documents were dummies, both in the persuasion of their creator and in the intent of their publication. It is intriguing, however, that Gant the Apostle would make a joke using "666" on a dummy document, something that under planned circumstance would only be visible to Gant. Jes a little private chuckle, I guess. If my scenario is right (I refer you to the last sentence of the preceding paragraph), then one might surmise there is a boil of cynicism waiting to be lanced in the chubby Mr. Gant.

  7. Jana 2012.06.27

    Those in charge in Pierre and the Republican Party have got to be thinking what next!

    Jason (and his sidekick) have to be thinking "how do we make a graceful exit?"

    The one thing that is obvious is that there can't be anyone saying they have full confidence in the integrity of the office.

    What I want to say is "Hey Republicans! Governing is not a freaking game! Quit screwing around with our state!"

    If anyone needed a reason to think why having one party as the politburo for the state is a bad idea, they need look no further.

  8. grudznick 2012.06.27

    Young Mr. Newland is right again, and has experience with why being surreptitious is sometimes important as he narks about the land eating tasty beverages and burning ass weed with a pipe. But PP has an explanation that will explain all of this and it will be made known when they are ready. We might all feel ashamed for thinking anything amiss.

  9. Mike Larson 2012.06.27

    Grudz... When they are ready? Ready for what? It is not like this court protected material here. It sounds like you are saying that give them enough time to cover their tracks and bury the dead bodies and everything will look just fine. Nothing to see here. Everyone move on.

  10. grudznick 2012.06.27

    Mr. Larson, I think we owe them time to formulate a reasonable response. They are standing in a manure storm and no body on their team has a parasol. Let us let them catch their breath and do their jobs and I know all will be clear in the end. Or that is my hope.

  11. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.06.27

    Time to formulate a reasonable response? If I say, "What are you doing?" and you can't just give me a straight answer right then and there, you're either planning my surprise birthday party or you're screwing around. Time to "catch their breath" is code for "shred the evidence."

  12. Testor15 2012.06.27

    Sounds like Grundz is party to the felony / conspiracy to commit in a cover-up of illegal actions. There are so many pieces coming together now and our friend may be part of the cover-up.

  13. Testor15 2012.06.27

    Cory, just like the moving webservers, hide the data, destroy the evidence and hide the servers.
    They need time to get it done.

  14. grudznick 2012.06.27

    Take off your tin foil hat Mr. TestorI5 where you have written "Sibby" on the front in a red sharpie crayon just for a little while. I wouldn't work for those jowled fellows if you paid my whole medical bills and then fed me gravy taters in bed every morning. You are insaner than most.

  15. Bob Newland 2012.06.27

    As usual, Grudznick adds valuable insight to the situation.

  16. grudznick 2012.06.27


  17. Taunia 2012.06.28

    I wonder what it's like for a not-so-anonymous, former self-proclaimed Master of the SD GOP Blog Universe to be swatted around like a mouse by a cat.

  18. Testor15 2012.06.28

    It appears their "time to formulate a reasonable response" includes using Grudz to create diversion while giving the Gant / PP team time to destroy the evidence. Like it was stated before, there are those with long memories and bigger hard drives. A reasonable response would be for them to come clean, resign and go quietly into the night.
    Recently there were commenters on this site who could not fathom the damage this team could do in the SOS office. We are now seeing some of the effects of having tricksters running the office. Back dating / updating documents? Overlooking notary oaths? Using SOS private / confidential data for person gain? What could they be doing with the corporate database? I'm just asking... The cover-up is often more damaging than the crime itself, just ask the ghost of Richard Nixon...

  19. Jim 2012.06.28

    I wonder if PP is going to Rick Roll the DCI. Probably not now quite as funny as he first thought.

  20. Rorschach 2012.06.28

    I just have to think that if we had elected Ben Nesselhuf as Secretary of State that we wouldn't have all of this nonsense going on. We wouldn't have spend money waging a ridiculous fight to keep Native Americans from having equal absentee voting periods as everyone else. We wouldn't have employees running political consulting businesses out of the SOS office. We wouldn't have SOS candidate endorsements. We wouldn't have disappearing and backdated documents.

    Maybe SD should have a recall provision like Wisconsin, California and other states.

  21. Dougal 2012.06.28

    Gant and his aide will keep playing cheap politics and flaunting the law because Marty Jackley won't do his job as Attorney General. They will continue to operate in plain view because Pierre is a corrupt town. It's a company town. State government is the company. And the State Republican Party totally runs the company with an iron fist.

  22. Stan Adelstein 2012.06.28

    Mike -- it almost be worthwhile to open a PAC like that - I'm thinking closer to the next session though.

    Dougal -- If you think we Republicans are running this State, you overestimate some publicists information. To run any vehicle, you must be going -------somewhere.

    Stan Adelstein

  23. Fred Jay 2012.06.28

    Gant still has a job?? He should be fired for incompetence and PeePee can go back to selling at the campaign store.

    The people of the state deserve better from the SOS office.

  24. larry kurtz 2012.06.29

    anyone else having a hard time opening David's RCJ link?

  25. David Newquist 2012.06.29

    I tested it again and it works on my computer. Otherwise, Kevin Woster provides a link at Mt . Blogmore today.

    Haven't heard any good comments about your favorite milfmaid of late.

  26. Jim 2012.06.29

    This should be PP's response to Gant about the investigation:

    Never gonna give you up,
    Never gonna let you down
    Never gonna run around and desert you
    Never gonna make you cry,
    Never gonna say goodbye
    Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

  27. Jana 2012.06.29


    This is going to leave a mark!

    "It’s more than a distraction; it’s a conflict of interest."

    "A review of Adelstein’s request is not enough. Jackley needs to thoroughly investigate what appears to be a breach of ethics that creates doubt about the integrity of the Secretary of State office."

    If only we had a Darrell Issa like guardian of ethics...

    Marty, are you back from Washington DC yet...? Oh that's right, you are a little pre-occupied's over now? Well, I would hope that you would view this as something to attend to...not that it helps you politically or anything...but it is your job...right?

    Maybe our Speaker of the interested in integrity? How about our Senate leader...oh he's not interested either?

    Surely the governor, or his staff, would weigh in on this and assure the citizens of the state that they had complete confidence in the office of Secretary of State and his staff.

    “Eewps” (ht to Mr. Fleming) if they were going to weigh in, it would have been done by now.

    So they must be thinking that any scrutiny is just...well...not consistent with having total power and any expectation of accountability. Of course...the absolute silence on a vote of confidence has to worry more than a few people. Jason and Pat do know where the bodies are buried.

    Back to you Marty. Should you get a break in your busy media schedule, let us know when you will at least give lip service to this.

    Oh well, the guardianship of ethics is going to take a back seat when there is absolute power...oh...wait...what's that saying again?

    Sometimes I think that Republicans have gamed the system to have so many red herrings and ethical breaches that no one can focus on just one thing.

    Hell of a plan and well played boys.

  28. Testor15 2012.06.30

    At L3wis has a comment about the hijinks. We had posters here recently asking why we should care about privacy in filings with SOS office. What if research was being done for an expose and the reporter was following a hunch. Pretend your name is Montgomery and PP as webmaster of SOS site catches your query. What possible hijinks could happen?
    Now think about you putting together a new marketing concept and need to register a corp name. With the ethics of this office, they could give all your hard work to someone else to profit. The ability to have confidential corp filings locks in a name without letting unethical or illegal hijinks destroying your opportunity. The office hijinks is of a criminal nature.
    The SOS office is an office of utmost trust. We have to trust our civil servants and elected officials to do our work for no personal gain. They cannot bend the rules or laws of their office for themselves or their friends.

  29. grudznick 2012.06.30

    Utmost trust. These offices, these S O S offices, have not been subject to your sort of scrutiny since the days of Ms. Joyce when she smited you questioners and I think said, on CBS, "I smite you questioners." I can't remember the details. Mr. Troy might.

    Has anybody called Mr. Gant to ask about all this nonesence or visiting Mr. PP in Brookings? I bet you dollars to minnows they are just busy doing their elected jobs.

    We are wasting taxpayer money by distracting PP and JG.

  30. Testor15 2012.06.30

    Grundz, we just want to have answers, not delays or excuses.

  31. grudznick 2012.06.30

    Soon, Mr. Tenstor. I thin soon, Mr. Tenstor.

  32. Stan Adelstein 2012.06.30

    What is this new discussion of the "Gant Group,?" What is meant by changing the address and rewriting the "documentary timeline for Jason Gant’s private consulting business, the Gant Group."

    Since when does the Secretary of State or for that matter any Constitutional Officer have a "PRIVATE" consulting business? Explain how a full time State employee could be shameless enough to discuss adjusting his own private business from a State Constitutional office!!

    I will have some interesting data and questions to submit to the Attorney General in connection with my requested investigation next week.

    State Senator Stanford Adelstein

  33. Testor15 2012.07.01

    Senator and Jana, instead of a Jackley - insider run investigation, shouldn't we the people be asking for a grand jury inquiry onto SOS operations?

  34. larry kurtz 2012.07.01

    Jacklow won't do anything about this but fret: it's time for NPR and/or the Feds to get on the Powers/Gant affair.

  35. larry kurtz 2012.07.01

    Sen. Adelstein: do you know someone at the FCC that might have some influence into this matter?

  36. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.07.01

    Senator, I do hope you'll share that information with us this week. The public is clearly interested in this story.

  37. Matt Groce 2012.07.06

    And Powers has now resigned. Gant next? OK not likely.

Comments are closed.