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Adelstein to Gant: Resign, You Lawbreaking, Deceitful Incompetent!

Senator Stanford Adelstein (R-32/Rapid City) really wants to give Secretary of State Jason Gant the heave-ho. Senator Adelstein called for the investigation and impeachment of our bumbling elections chief this summer. Attorney General Marty Jackley kept that investigation of his fellow Republican Capitol denizen narrow and made sure it went nowhere.

Now Senator Adelstein skips the middleman and calls on Secretary Gant to spare us all his further errors and resign. In his press release, the Senator says the Secretary has broken the law by publishing incomplete ballot question explanations. He also alleges that the Secretary has hired an expensive elections consultant without budgetary authority from the Legislature.

Senator Adelstein's press release is brutal:

Senator Stan Adelstein has called, once again, for the resignation of Secretary of State Jason Gant. The Secretary has violated SDCL 12-13-23 which requires that the public be notified of both the pros and cons of any proposed Constitutional Amendment. Perhaps seeking favors from the proponents, he has not listed any opponents' statements on any of the Constitutional Amendments appearing on this year's general election ballot.

The law is very clear: "The secretary of state shall compile the public information by printing a statement in support of the constitutional amendment, initiated, or referred measure written by its proponents, if any can be identified, and a statement against the constitutional amendment, initiated, or referred measure written by its opponents, if any can be identified."

In addition, Gant is paying a "consultant" $10,000 per month for assistance in the upcoming election. This is $1,585 more per month than South Dakota pays its Governor. Gant did not have this expenditure in the budget he presented to the Appropriation Committee, thus making this expense another example of his deceit.

The Senator stated, "Has he no shame?" Regardless of Gant's inability to earn a living elsewhere, South Dakota's citizens should not have to tolerate his incompetence for another two years [Senator Stanford Adelstein, press release, September 25, 2012].

The "pro" ballot question explanations all come from highly placed Republicans, with the exception of Democratic Rep. H. Paul Dennert (D-2/Aberdeen), whose support for Amendment O is bracketed by Republican Senator Corey Brown (R-23/Gettysburg) and the Governor's chief financial officer Jason Dilges. State Bar exec Tom Barnett writes the "pro" for Amendment M. Senator Todd Schlekeway (R-11/Sioux Falls) and Rep. Jim Bolin (R-16/Canton) advocate for Amendment N. Governor Dennis Daugaard himself tells us to vote for Amendment P.

We'll discuss the particulars of these Amendments later. But however worthy of consideration they may be, these four amendments must have a downside. Lawyers are trained to find the good arguments on any side of a case. Given all the lawyers working in Pierre, Secretary Gant should have been able to find four who could pen some quick "Yeah buts" to satisfy his statutory obligation. But Secretary Gant has demonstrated a marked inability to understand and execute South Dakota law.

And if Secretary Gant really is in over his head in running his first general election, I'm glad he at least has the sense to hire Sue Roust, someone who can handle the task. But he should at least have Legislative authorization to make such a backside-covering hire. Short of that, he should resign and let the Governor appoint Roust to run the show... assuming Roust wants to take a pay cut.


  1. mike 2012.09.25

    Gant has to go. It's plain and simple. He owns a home in Pierre now which makes it unlikely he's going to leave willingly. This is going to be a fight. The person running against him will need broad support and can't be a token tea party candidate. We need someone strong. We don't even need elections experience as long as we have someone competent.

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.09.25

    "can't be a token tea party candidate"? Jiminy crickets, Mike! How about a fire-breathing, law-reading Democrat?

  3. grudznick 2012.09.25

    I don't understand the outrage bout these things that nobody seems to care about. Look, I know Mr. Stan is a fine fellow and all but if he has heartburn over one of these unintelligible things that some H. Paul (a 40 year serving Democrat at least) is backing then maybe Mr. Stan should have written himself up a press release to post against it. Why should Mr. Gant have to appear more competent than Mr. Stan? I say he should not, and that you cannot lay this particular blame at the feet of any particular former employee of Mr. Gant's office.

  4. Justin 2012.09.26

    In what way does Gant appear competent, period?

    If you want to see incompetence, wait until you see the feigned indifference Jackley and Daugaard respond to this with.

    I can't wait until people start calling for Jackley's resignation and/or impeachment. Gant is but his puppet. This is going to get worse for this administration before it gets better if they keep pretending the losses on the Eastern and Western fronts aren't real. Have you ever seen Downfall?

  5. lorahubbel 2012.09.26

    [CAH: Note that I cannot yet confirm that this comment came from Rep. Lora Hubbel of Sioux Falls. I am seeking confirmation.]

    karma.....or preferably the Christian synonymic, "vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord, I WILL repay."

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.09.26

    Grudz, people should be outraged over the failure of any elected official to consistently and competently enforce the laws he is elected and paid to uphold. The Secretary of State has a unique obligation to know and scrupulously enforce the spirit and letter of the law to protect the sanctity of the ballot box, the notary seal, and corporate filings. If people aren't steamed, they need to be. Senator Adelstein is carrying out the obligation of a good politician to raise public awareness of important issues.

    And come on, Grudz: to how many other politicians do you give a pass for breaking the law?

  7. Les 2012.09.26

    Outside of the fact of a political store front in residence at the SOS's office, Mike and Pat were much more capable than Jason. That they are gone is simply pushing them under the bus for some cover.

  8. GOPer 2012.09.26

    I hate to say it but I have more faith in Cory running that office than Gant.

  9. Dave 2012.09.26

    I talked with our county auditor late last week -- she's held that office for at least 20 years -- and she can't believe the way things are as this election. The ballot information, she said, doesn't tell both sides of the story. So I checked myself, and boy, is she correct. The info on Gant's web page has only "pro" info on four of the seven measures we'll be voting on this November.
    He's got to go.

  10. G-Man 2012.09.26

    Well, impeachment proceedings don't begin by sitting around complaining about this, does it? If you guys feel that strongly, then, a campaign of calling your legislators and getting your neighbors to do the same is in order!

  11. Dougal 2012.09.26

    Interesting Gant got all that press as an alleged advocate for removing secrecy in government while he was a legislator. Of course, his role in that discussion was to slow down the movement to open state records to full and unfettered public access. It's only appropriate (and foreseeable) that his caginess and arrogance would get him in big trouble taking charge of such an important and highly visible office like Secretary of State.

    Hopefully he will have the good sense and join his partner in crime in the private sector. He'll breath easier making his living off private employment rather than living like Romney's 47 percent on the government largess.

  12. Les 2012.09.26

    Rep Klaudt was an advocate for social services. It only proves what we already know, they say what it takes to get elected or stay in office.

    I'd take Ted over Jason as a public servant.

  13. Bill Fleming 2012.09.26


  14. grudznick 2012.09.26

    Bill, you know I used to rant frequently over eggs and taters with sausage gravy that some people are only advocates for social services because it pays them thousands in payments and is a major source of money to them.

  15. larry kurtz 2012.09.26

    There isn't enough media coverage of Pierre. The Cap Journal is a joke, DM learned that (Lee Enterprises should buy the rag). If there was an effective media source based in Pierre more news would get reported.

    Montana is learning how important the beat is to democracy after the Lee paper based in her state capital adjusted to the market rather than to its charter.

  16. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.09.26

    I can tell you, my Republican friend, that you won't have the chance to vote for me in the 2014 primary.

  17. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.09.26

    Larry, if Pierre Riggs hires me someday to teach French, I'll step up the coverage. I'll probably also get unemployed within a year. ;-)

Comments are closed.