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Nelson, Schoenbeck Say No to Taxpayer Funding of ALEC Dues

As the Republican spin machine celebrates spending tax dollars on legislators' dues to a private, pro-corporate lobbying organization, Rep. Stace Nelson (R-19/Fulton) establishes his crossover conservative-independent cred by agreeing with Dems like Rep. Bernie Hunhoff that sending your tax dollars to ALEC is a bad idea.

Rep. Nelson appears on Sourcewatch's list of ALEC-affiliated South Dakota politicians. Rep. Nelson did indeed join ALEC during his freshman term in 2011, as he says is expected by leadership of their rookie legislators. After his first year of Pierre rough-and-tumble opened his eyes to the crony-capitalist machinations of ALEC and the SDGOP, Nelson says he canceled his ALEC membership and did not re-up after his 2012 re-election. He says he has discouraged others from joining ALEC. Rep. Nelson says taxpayers should not pay for legislators' dues to ALEC or any other such organization.

Former Republican Senator Lee Schoenbeck from Watertown also tries to talk some sense into his ALEC-pocketed pals. In response to blogger Pat Powers's spin, he contends that legislators could learn as much about legislation in other states by simply hitting the Google bar instead of bellying up to the wet bar at ALEC's brainwashing conventions.

So while purportedly conservative Republicans advocate more government spending on biased organizations and legislator travel, real conservatives like Nelson and Schoenbeck propose saving you money.

If Dems should run Johnson for Senate and Herseth Sandlin for Governor, Republicans should run Nelson for Senate and Schoenbeck for Governor.


  1. Owen Reitzel 2013.04.24

    Kudos to Stace Nelson and Lee Schoenbeck. I hope they speak up loud and often on this.
    I might disagree with them on the issues but at least they're not hypocrites,

  2. Ken Santema 2013.04.24

    I applaud Mr Nelson on his move as well. Even though I am a free-market advocate, there are a lot of things about ALEC I don't like.

    But no matter how I feel, taxpayer dollars shouldn't be spent to send reps to any of these groups, including ALEC.

  3. Dana P. 2013.04.24

    finally. something Mr. Nelson and I agree on.

  4. Rorschach 2013.04.24

    You're giving Lee Schoenbeck a bad Rep. He was a senator.

  5. joelie hicks 2013.04.24

    Stace needs to be our Governor, we need someone strong to clean up our State.

  6. Owen Reitzel 2013.04.24

    Actually Joelie I'd like to see SHS as our next Governor. She'd do a good job even if the Republicans block everything she'd try. Hmm sounds like what's going on in Washington now.

  7. larry kurtz 2013.04.24

    Stace: how much do you need to run for governor?

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.04.24

    Right you are, R! I have corrected the above reference to indicate Lee's erstwhile Senatordom. (And yes, if we are to be precise, he was a Senator from Webster, Day County, during 1995 and 1996, then a Senator from Watertown, Codington County, from 2003 to 2006.)

  9. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.04.24

    Larry, less than he'd need to run for Senate!

  10. lee schoenbeck 2013.04.24

    just to be clear - I said they shouldn't be paying dues to any of these three law generating groups. CSG NCSL and ALEC all cost average South Dakotans with the laws they advocate.

  11. jana 2013.04.24

    How the pendulum swings.

    Lee weren't you the on that wanted to have big government dictate the political beliefs of professors at our universities? Which is hysterical given that the most vocal are GOP voices...and tools. What tax payer funded occupations did Thune's bloggers hold when he defeated Daschle?

    Note to GOP...if you've lost've lost.

    Carry on.

  12. jana 2013.04.24

    Thanks Larry...but isn't it funny how the the good and faithful GOP can hold two diametrically opposed thoughts at the same time and not feel or recognize any conflict.

    For the GOP tools that need to pick up their ideological merit badges from least admit you are that shallow...Hal...sad that Lee is right and that you should be able to think for yourself.

    Too many in power in South Dakota have a Pavlovian response to whatever the talking point/issue of the day was like it was wrapped in bacon and they respond like a common cur and sit up and beg like a dog waiting for someone to tell you who to attack.

    Oops...I might have been expecting too much out of too many in the GOP to be able to sustain at least one critical thought.

    My bad.

  13. lee schoenbeck 2013.04.24

    jana with no last name, i think you are talking about the legislation that requied universities to provide a balance of perspectives. If you think that legislation required certain views to be held, then you must believe that there is not balance - and some had to fake it to make it look balanced. I have always been puzzled by those who fear providing an equal opportiunity for conservative thoughts to be expressed in public university settings. Of course, its hypocritical, and proof of the power of the opinions they repress, but still... you'd think, like Cory, they'd give the other side a fair chance.

  14. jana 2013.04.24

    Good one Lee with a last name. I find it funny that you think and thought that there should be a quota system on professors. Is that kind of like ideological affirmative action?

    Good grief, would you fight for the same thing today in a one party dominated state?

    Nah...we'll just all remember that you were for affirmative action before you were against it ;^)

    Thank god you were there for the unjustly oppressed thought of conservative should put that on your resume.

    Lee...justice fighter for the oppressed of rational thought.

    That has a good ring to ;^)

  15. jana 2013.04.24

    Lee, I've heard that reality has a liberal bias...

    Lee for Congress! I'd love to see you hang out with Stephen Colbert on his segment "Better know a District."

    You would totally own him!

  16. jana 2013.04.24

    OK...enough snarkiness.

    Thanks Lee for discouraging the sycophantic allegiance to ALEC and challenging our lawmakers to be independent thinkers...for South Dakotans!

    I do appreciate that.

    Now, can you get your buddy Troy to slap the sychophants around a little and shame them into thinking about South Dakota first and worrying a little less about their ALEC merit badges later?

  17. jana 2013.04.24

    Since we are waiting for Lee to respond...I'm wondering what perspectives Lee was thinking were not being taught to our college kids...and if he thought they were too stupid to think critically and challenge authority.

    Lee "with a last name"...what horrible perspectives were our children not learning?

    How did we finally purge our higher ed system of those that would indoctrinate the unformed mind to think rather than be told what to the current crop of Republican GOP legislators that bark when ALEC holds out a bone?

    Was it big government? The threat of Big Brother in Pierre jerking their pay check? Peer review? tell of the horrific injustice that was taking place.

  18. jana 2013.04.24




  19. jana 2013.04.24

    Lee might have made a difference.

    Dissenting opinions are now embraced in Pierre.

    Right Stace?

  20. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.04.24

    Remember, Jana, silence does not constitute concession.

    I would agree that the conservative-balance stuff (what bill was that?) is the same sort of agitprop ALEC uses to cow potential seats of opposition (often clustered in places where critical thinking happens). But the point on this post is that right here, right now, we have a couple of Republicans agreeing with us that the Legislature is doing something bad. That's the clear message we need to send to get Gosch, Olson, et al. to reverse their foolishness... or to motivate candidates who believe in clean government to rise up and challenge these Republican fakers next year.

  21. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.04.24

    Note also that Rep. Nelson tweets that paying ALEC dues for every legislator, regardless of whether that legislator wants to join or not, is "inappropriate and unacceptable." Stace Nelson is not only right, but also the most interesting SD legislator on Twitter.

  22. Charlie Johnson 2013.04.24

    Keep in mind that it was Sen. Olson who made the move in the last hours of the last day of the session to provide an extra$500,00 in the legislative budget. The same monies that should have gone to k-12 education instead.

  23. jana 2013.04.24

    Point well taken Cory.

    Lee "with a last name" sorry.

    But if we are going to pay for the ALEC junkets, can't we at least have enough transparency to know what, who and why our taxpayer dollars were spent and for what benefit? And for whose benefit?

    Legislators...if you are going to go to ALEC conferences...expose yourself!

    No. Not like that.

  24. Rorschach 2013.04.25

    I'm pretty sure I went to the same college as Lee. How'd he end up a Republican with all them democratic jedi mind tricks those professors were using? Man, they brainwashed the he!! out of me, but he resisted.

    All in fun, Lee. That quota bill was old news. They figured out a better way to attract more Republican professors - pay less. Ha!

  25. Steve O'Brien 2013.04.25

    The ALEC registration reminds me that as a right to work state, we cannot require people to be members of a union, even if that union represents them in a bargaining unit. Unions cannot force membership (or charge user fees), but the GOP can require ALEC membership for all in their unit?

  26. Kathy Tyler 2013.04.25

    Just as a note, the LRC has a list of each legislator's travel. For some reason, they (Sen. Peters) didn't want that printed even though all sorts of money related reports were requested.

  27. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.04.26

    Kathy, next time you're in Pierre, could you ask LRC to run you a copy of that list so you can post it for us?

  28. Rorschach 2013.04.26

    Legislators' trips and the cost to taxpayers for those trips is public information.

  29. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.04.26

    Steve! That's an interesting right-to-work point! But I assume the right-to-work statutes won't view ALEC as a union, will they?

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