Press "Enter" to skip to content

Stacey Changes Story on Gant Screenshots; Serious Investigation No Place for Bluffing

The press should be focusing on building the case for the incompetence and/or corruption in Secretary of State Jason Gant's office. To make sure that case stays strong, I must take a moment to knock one wobbly leg out from under that case.

Lori Stacey, who placed a distant margin-of-error third in the 2010 Secretary of State election, claimed that Jason Gant used Pat Powers's campaign materials business as a source of funds for his own campaign that he never officially declared on his campaign finance reports:

Back in my run for office in 2010 against Jason Gant and Ben Nesselhuf, I wanted to order signs from a South Dakota business. The only one that I could find online just so happened to be Pat Powers' business. The reason I completely ruled it out was that Gant had basically taken over part of his website stating that using this business would be like contributing to his campaign for Secretary of State. He implied in writing that proceeds from Powers' sign business would help him to get elected [Lori Stacey, "The Gant/Powers Impropriety Goes Back Further Than Most People Think," Sioux Falls Conservative Examiner, 2012.06.24].

Basically... implied... does anyone else get queasy about the solidity of an argument when they hear those words?

Stacey claimed in her June 24 blog post that she could document her basic implication, but explains why she didn't produce such documentation during the 2010 campaign:

The decision was made to have a few people save screenshots of the evidence for possible exposure later in the course of my campaign. Exposing this information back then would have gone nowhere and most likely backfired on my campaign as if I was just being "petty" or ultimately a sore loser since a large majority of the small amount of press I received was filled with spin, smears and obvious bias [Stacey, 2012.06.24].

The next day, Stacey explained on this blog that technical difficulties kept her from producing said documentation now:

Cory, There are 3 of us at my request at the time that all saved screen shots of the bold message by Gant on that website. Problem is that all of us are no longer using those particular computers so we are trying to retrieve it off our old hard drives which is a chore right now. If you or anyone you know is good at finding old permalinks, I have the information to tell them exactly what page,etc it was on to hopefully find it. Please let me know. Regardless, if it is found or not, there is at least 4 witnesses that saw the same thing and 1 was in the former SOS office. Working on retrieving the hard evidence that we had but if not we still have credibility in knowing what we clearly saw [Lori Stacey, comment, Madville Times, 2012.06.25].

Three people, none using the same computer as a two years ago, none backing up data, none able to find what at the time they considered sufficiently bold and important to warrant a three-person effort. I smelled bluff...

...and I was right. In comments on this blog overnight, Stacey now speaks solely of eyewitness testimony and a willingness to provide a sworn affidavit. And in a late-night e-mail, Stacey whispers in my ear that she was bluffing:

At least 2 of us would be willing to sign sworn affidavits of what we saw if needed. I had hoped on flushing out his resignation as he knows my story is true and so do many other people but publishing your assumption that I could not find screenshots kind of killed the impact that could have had. Have you never played poker Cory? [Lori Stacey, e-mail to CAH, 2012.07.08 00:10]

We aren't playing poker. We—bloggers, journalists, Senator Adelstein, the Attorney General—are investigating whether Secretary of State Jason Gant has acted unethically, illegally, or just incompetently in office.

Stacey seems to think she has liberty to make up her own facts for her own political purposes. Stacey has bluffed before, publicly threatening to sue me for libel, then backing down when she realized her bluff wouldn't work.

By changing her public story, Stacey undermines her credibility (not that her fantasies about global conspiracies, 9/11, and vaccines left her much credibility to start with). Her mutable public statements more than basically imply that anyone looking to prove malfeasance in the Secretary of State's office should steer clear of testimony from Lori Stacey.

Back off, Lori, and let the adults (or the Vulcans) handle this investigation.


  1. Stan Adelstein 2012.07.08

    Thanks Sheriff - I guess I better leave the hard work to you professionals. Disappointing, but probably I know/understand "wes rivur" personalities better. Look forward to seeing you at the "ranch" in Pierre. (hope we have a chance for you to help improve my shooting again)


  2. Troy 2012.07.08

    People are susceptible to believe something true that they wish was true.

    People are also excessively critical to information they hope is not true.

    Alot of people want evidence Pat and Jason are scumbags because they hope it is true. And, some are willing to lie to give people "evidence."

    Thanks Cory for exposing this innuendo with only one purpose to throw gas on smoke hoping for a combustion.

    We have police officers who moonlight as security for bars, GF&P employees who moonlight at bait shops, agriculture employees who moonlight at harvest time for local farmers. We accept this for two reasons:

    1) We trust them to have the integrity to do their day job and night job without sacrificing either.

    2) We understand they like both jobs because it is their interest/nature. Once a cop, always a cop. GF&P employees love nature. And, farming is in some people's blood.

    In the end, I believe we will find out Pat just wanted to supplement his income (what does he have a dozen kids? :) ) in an area he has in his blood (politics) and gave insufficient attention to the appearance of impropriety. Same with Jason.

  3. larry kurtz 2012.07.08

    Troy: in your view where would their collusion have had to occur as to be illegal?

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.07.08

    Troy, since Dakota War College, is AWOL on this story, someone has to do it. (Can I now have the "South Dakota's #1 Political Website" motto, please?)

    The key problem with letting Stacey foul up the story is summed up in Troy's last three words: "Same with Jason." If we let unsubstantiated innuendo from a story-changing witness undermine one part of the story, then Gant's defenders can shout "Same with..." the rest of the story, without really addressing the specifics of the charges we can substantiate, like Gant's dereliction of duty in enforcing notary public rules and the disintegrity of using his official title in endorsing Rausch.

  5. Joe 2012.07.08

    OK, first of all I think I'm on my 3rd computer since 2010 and I didn't back up a damn thing. But yeah if you are going to make the claims you better have the evidence, take it to a computer shop, they will be able to figure it out.

    Troy, moonlighting isn't a problem, its the conflict of interest that is a problem. Politics is one thing, it happens, especially in a state like South Dakota, but this would be like if a supreme court justice moonlighted as an attorney for a case he/she might see one day.

    You can't be helping with political campaigns when you over see the elections.

  6. Taunia 2012.07.08

    We also have a Presidential candidate that doesn't trust the American economy enough to invest in American accounts, but does in offshore accounts.

    He doesn't seem to want to disclose them, either. Is this in GOP playbook?

    Gotta give Cory credit for publicly outing a source that was advantageous (for a time) to this (so far) blogger investigation.

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.07.08

    Just a technical note, Joe: I'm on laptop #5 since 1997. Each time I've bought a new laptop, job one has been to transfer all vital files (and numerous unimportant files) from old to new hard drive. Stacey's failure to properly preserve important data only weakens her credibility. We don't need questions about her incompetence or corruption muddying investigation of the same in the SOS's office.

  8. Anne 2012.07.08

    Powers' behavior cannot be dismissed as that of an overzealous partisan who is striving to earn a living for his family. His malicious intentions when he chose to libel people were unmistakeable. He sometimes realized he had ventured into treacherous territory and tried to hide and change those ventures. In the later stages of SDWC, he blocked any commands to select and copy his posts. He often changed posts to eliminate the evidence. Eventually, he took down the whole SDWC and its archives, so that people
    could not revisit the evidence.

    Powers is a vicious twit, the quintessential bully. His not an innocent caught up in circumstances created by a few detractors. He established a record of malice, and he earned the contempt some have for him all by himself.

  9. Testor15 2012.07.08

    There was a brief but fleeting moment where willing to assist in the hard drive search was considered, but the more Lori wrote, the less attractive it became. Research is not tied to prejudices but on inconsistencies. The best thing we have going here is the gleaning of factual inconsistencies into a consistent fact based case, able to be presented to a jury if necessary.
    If the AG doesn't perform his duties to build a proper case, we humble bloggers hopefully give the House of Reps, Senate and Governor the data needed to prosecute appropriately.
    This issue is only a small part of the cronyism so prevalent in Pierre and state government. The cronyism is so deep and so broadly dispensed, no one person can tackle it. If exposure is attempted, families get destroyed.
    Let's see how fast this issue is hidden from view. Since 1979 these types of issues have consistently been hidden from public view so the elites amongst us win at our expense. Many will come here and try to tell us it is now true. Look at who gets the roads, the interstate exchanges, the infrastructure, the hidden contracts, the handshake million dollar deals all at the expense of the taxpayer.
    So just remember, this is not a small deal to be swept under a nearby carpet. Thanks Cory for helping us with this!

  10. mike 2012.07.08

    Stan needs to slow this truck down a little bit. Everyone is waiting for a big explosion and I have a feeling we will all be disappointed when there is only a poof.

    This is starting to look like a movie that never delivers an adequate climax.

    Powers leaving is either the end or the ending better be bigger than the second act with Powers leaving.

    Gant will get the boot from the party if this doesn't turn into a big joke before '14.

  11. Dougal 2012.07.08

    Cory - Great catch on seeing through a bluff from someone who was trying to horn in on the Gant scandal. Gant has his hands full with his role in whitewashing the Gosch illegal self-notarization and other malfeasance issues. No doubt, the Attorney General’s office and the Governor’s crack staff of right-wing political appointees are panicking how they can make all this messiness disappear.

    Stan doesn't need to slow down, as advised on this string, but needs to sort out the distractions and blind alleys from the substantial violations of duty and/or law. And then he needs to refine his message to clearly state specifically why these allegations matter to all law-abiding South Dakotans.

    Cory, you have a strong sense of "true north," and I hope you'll pursue this issue and related issues of corrupt behavior in our Capital City like a honey badger! There is a long history. And lest some your readers forget how bad, they need to recall that the state legislature passed the “gag law” to permanently silence the State Treasurer from telling the truth how state government allowed big money interests to secretly horde millions in unclaimed property. Worse yet, the Senator who led that gag law effort later was elected Governor for two terms and handed state jobs and contracts to his family members. Worst, that Governor’s Lt. Governor got elected as Governor and handed key jobs … well you know the rest of that story.

    I don’t think South Dakotans tolerate crooks easily. The problem is the press in South Dakota has little passion to do its job well, and the net result is a public that is poorly informed.

  12. larry kurtz 2012.07.08

    There is little solace that this scandal is breaking in July and not in October, for sure: tying it all together is key to making it an event.

  13. grudznick 2012.07.08

    I'm sad.
    I voted for this young Ms. Stacey.
    I believe given the alternatives, I'd do so again tomorrow.
    But I'm sad she's even crazier than I feared.

  14. Lori Stacey 2012.07.09

    I never, ever changed my story. All along I was upfront about having a hard time retrieving the screenshots. The title to this entire story is a complete and total LIE. There is NOWHERE and no statement that shows anything different or ever changing my story.

    I had posted a comment on June 25th that I was having a hard time accessing the hard drives but Cory had no idea whether I had found them or not when he wrote his blog on June 27th (in those 2 days, I had already scoured 1 of the 4 hard drives so he had no idea whether what he published was accurate or not) The poker reference had nothing to do with Bluffing. That was his word, NOT MINE. It referred to his lack of judgment or honesty to publish an article that he did not know was true or not and would be dumb to "show your whole hand" at that time. That is completely different than bluffing. The added insinuation in that article referred to "possiblies and mays" was an outright fabrication as I and others know exactly what we saw with our own eyes which is not dependent upon ever finding any screenshots and that we were working on that anyway. NOTHING has changed any of that and it is quite frankly none of his business who the other people are that witnessed the same thing. That is their call on whether they want to be involved, to what extent or when they would like to go public.

    "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."

    This is 2 years AFTER the fact, there was no reason to take extra care in saving one screenshot that no one could predict years later would all of a sudden become relevant especially when at least one staff member of the old SOS office did not even at the time understand why it was so wrong at the time. If I ever retrieve it, that information will go straight to the AG's office as now you have turned the good Senator against me without him ever even talking to me or know anything truthful about me. It appears Cory is not capable of comprehending the importance of eyewitness testimony or affidavits. I will surely not share any further information with this blog as this site has no interest in presenting the truth.

    As usual, Cory has stooped to the gutter level just to get hits on his blog. I thought for once, he could take a serious matter seriously.

    I don't appreciate him taking this opportunity to lie and smear me yet again with his twisted and distorted accusations. This is a serious issue and I have told the truth.

    Cory has become infamous for smearing many Conservative writers in South Dakota throughout the years.

    The Christian in me was willing to forgive and forget all the smears he had done to me over the last few years. Thought he might be adult enough to not lie about the truth in this important matter in order to just gain him blog hits. God knows I am telling the truth and have never changed anything. His latest smear of me does not change the facts of anything.

    There are people that can attest to seeing the exact same information on the campaign store website. I have never lied about anything or EVER changed my story. The only one trying to make it appear as such is Cory that had to have given Stan the wrong website (DWC). No reference in my published article referred to that site. That was his error, not mine.

    I am still saying the exact same thing that I have been all along. But there was no sensational story for Cory in telling the truth.

    I have never changed anything. The truth is the truth.

    Nobody needs Cory's permission or blessing to tell the truth in this matter.

    For the record, I did not sue him for libel in the past because he was not worth spending the money to do so when many Conservative writers in South Dakota already know he has lied and smeared them in the past as well and has a long history of doing so. However, there would not be any blogger in South Dakota more legitimately worthy of being sued for libel.

    Again, he has jumped to lunatic assumptions for his own personal sense of twisted entertainment. I guess he may never change and do something good for people.

    Hope you got a lot of hits Cory. One day you will smear the wrong person and will reap what you rightly deserve for trying to smear good people and their reputations in exchange for some kind of despicable glory. End of your sensational story.

  15. Taunia 2012.07.09

    So maybe you should have had your evidence in hand before you posted you had the evidence?

    Have you found that same evidence yet?

    Btw, affidavits are still hearsay.

  16. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.07.09

    Exactly, Taunia. All Lori is saying she'll swear to is that she heard someone else say something. That statement doesn't move the ball an inch in court.

  17. mike 2012.07.10

    Stan needs more supporters to come out publicly against Gant. Even if Gant hasn't done anything illegal Gant has embarassed this office.

    I would like to see some more reps come out and show that they are backing Adelstien. It doesn't have to be for anything other than embarassing the state of SD.

  18. Stan Adelstein 2012.07.11


    I have had many contacts from fellow legislators. All supportive - phone and e-mails. Frankly, I would rather that no one else gets involved. They all have races to win in November - and this would only be a side issue. Education funding, taxation, excessive sequestration of tax revenues all being more important than an incompetent, and maybe dishonest Secy of State.

    For those that have been doubting my assurances of action by the Attorney General. Those that ignored my comments about his being a second generation of attorneys that value law and truth more that political advantage - I have some specific follow up.

    Monday afternoon the Director of the DCI spent an hour in my office reviewing what I know, and what I do not. (there is more of the latter than the former) This was the director, not a freshman investigator doing what is needed for show. We discussed the scope of the investigation, and it is thorough and REAL.

    Stan A

Comments are closed.