That Sioux Falls paper blisters Secretary of State Jason Gant for destroying the public trust in his office with his incompetence, cheap partisanship, and refusal to take responsibility for his errors. On top of his most recent blunder—his sneaky, deceptive, and darn near racist withholding of federal Help America Vote Act funds from American Indian communities that seek perfectly justifiable satellite voting centers—the Sioux Falls editors offer this brief catalog of Gant's greatest misses:
- Hired noted political operator and ultra-conservative blogger Pat Powers, allowing him to continue to run his consulting business. Powers, finally, was forced to resign — but not because Gant acknowledged anything wrong with the practice.
- Endorsed Rep. Val Rausch in a primary election for a Senate seat and then claimed to see nothing wrong with such actions. Previous secretaries of state were widely known for bringing a neutral approach to that important constitutional office.
- Instituted a flawed process of campaign finance reporting that favored some candidates over others, slowed the system for public disclosure and hindered the public’s ability to examine the influence of special interests in local races.
- Applied election laws unequally to Democrats and Republicans, favoring the latter and even, in one case, allowing one GOP legislative candidate — Brian Gosch of Rapid City — to notarize his own petitions [editorial, "Gant Trashes Trust Placed by Voters," that Sioux Falls paper, 2013.08.11].
Given such a list of public malfeasance, how can we not demand Secretary Gant's immediate resignation? Incredibly, the editors peddle a flimsy excuse not to play boss:
Under the circumstances, it might be tempting to ask for his resignation. But the reality is, with little more than a year left on his term, the ramifications of pushing such an agenda would be nastier than our state can tolerate [tSFp, 2013.08.11].
Ah yes, aren't we South Dakotans special? We're just too darned nice to do anything nasty like firing someone who's not doing his job.
What rot! South Dakotans can be just as nasty as anyone else. Firing an incompetent isn't nasty; it's good management. If a newspaper reporter riddled her stories with mistakes, used her position for partisan purposes, and undermined public trust in the newspaper, the Sioux Falls editors wouldn't keep her on staff just to avoid seeming nasty. They wouldn't even wait for her resignation; they'd fire her and replace her with a competent journalist as soon as possible. We do the people of South Dakota a disservice by declining to call for the removal of a public servant who serves not the public but himself and his partisan interest.
Jason Gant's crimes against the public trust are clear and numerous. He should resign today. If he won't, the GOP leadership should convene a special session of the Legislature to remove this blight from the Capitol.