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Ten South Dakota Legislators Attend ALEC Events; Wick Skips Budget Address for ALEC

The American Legislative Exchange Council is holding a policy summit in Washington, D.C., this week, brainwashing more American legislators into exchanging their conscience for the counsel of corporate raiders. ALEC wants to protect energy company profits by doing things like penalizing homeowners for installing solar panels. ALEC is creating a sister organization called the Jeffersonian Project to shield its lobbying activities. Thanks to blowback from its support for stand-your-ground laws and other conservative jerkiness, ALEC is losing money and members.

But some South Dakota legislators are doing their part fill ALEC's coffers with our tax dollars. Here's a list of eight South Dakota Republicans who have claimed reimbursements for travel to ALEC's annual meeting in Chicago in August:

South Dakota Legislature ALEC Reimbursements, August 2013

According to this public document from the Legislative Research Council, Reps. Isaac Latterell, Jenna Haggar (did they visit any Windy City head shops together?), Jim Stalzer, Leslie Heinemann, and Manny Steele, and Senators Dan Lederman, Ryan Maher, and Larry Rhoden rang up $15,460.89 on the state's tab at ALEC's August shindig. Senator Rhoden racked up the biggest bill, $2,411.42, for the three-day event. That should prove who in the U.S. Senate race is the real conservative, right?

LRC won't have all the reimbursement requests for this week's ALEC meeting for several weeks. But a couple of Pierre observers have reported that Rep. Hal Wick skipped the Governor's budget address Tuesday in order to get out to D.C. early for the ALEC meeting. (Recall that Wick was ALEC's legislator of the year in 2006.) A sign-in sheet for Tuesday's Capitol gathering also shows a notation that Rep. Brock Greenfield checked in but also plans to claim reimbursement for his travel to this week's ALEC meeting.

So that's ten legislators selling South Dakota out to corporate fascism. Keep an eye on the bills Rhoden, Wick, and his fellow travelers float for ALEC in our Legislature this winter.


  1. Nick Nemec 2013.12.06

    This is nothing less than a South Dakota government subsidy to a special interest group.

    Move along here folks. Nothing to see.

  2. Nick Nemec 2013.12.06

    I'm sure ALEC would pay the entire bill for legislators to attend their special interest meetings. Instead they convinced enough SD Republican legislators to send the bill to SD taxpayers.

  3. Rick 2013.12.06

    South Dakota's greatest economic potential is in a robust national clean energy policy which encourages the expansion of wind industry across our state. ALEC is a puppeteer for the coal industry. Anti-clean energy legislation is an attack on South Dakota's economic future. Plain and simple.

  4. Rorschach 2013.12.06

    What, no Democrats? Isn't this ALEC supposed to be a bipartisan group?

    NCSL & CSG are bipartisan policy organizations with no agenda of their own. Their agendas are whatever their Republican and Democratic members say they should be.

  5. interested party 2013.12.06

    Red state collapse on parade.

    Current wind power technology is killing bats and birds at biblical proportions: the feds could take everyone in the state off the grid for what it costs to erect wind farms.

  6. Lanny V Stricherz 2013.12.06

    That is why as governor, Mike Rounds, himself and through his minions promoted the coal industry, through the Big Stone II and Selby Basin Electric coal burning power plants as well as the one that would have been connected to the Hyperion oil refinery. Folks forget that is the reason Kansas turned down the Hyperion refinery, because of the coal burning power plant that was to be attached.

    At the same time, even though our Republican US Senator Thune was promoting longer tax breaks for the wind industry, South Dakota was the last state in the Midwest to jump on the wind bandwagon, but it was long after the largest amount of investments had already been made elsewhere, and shorter life left on the tax breaks because South Dakota was too busy with incentives for the coal burners and the original Keystone tar sands pipeline.

  7. Lanny V Stricherz 2013.12.06

    Oh, and I forgot the Rounds administration spent a lot of their time and our money promoting the DM&E railroad expansion to haul thousands of car loads of coal to Big Stone II and to points east such as through Rochester Minnesota.

    One has to wonder whether all of the development that is happening in Brookings would have happened had the DM&E coal rail expansion have happened.

  8. Bob 2013.12.06

    Stalzer went. So did Campbell and Steele. Some of them also went to Mt. Vernon to a pep rally of sorts for another push to get South Dakota back on the books for applying for an Article V Constitutional Convention, which ALEC and other groups have been pushing. It's a terrible idea which has virtually zero chance of adequately addressing the concerns they have about what is going on in America, but Steele, Wick, and Stalzer seem to be the true believers. One has to wonder, though, if some of their reimbursements they request will include a certain trip to Mt. Vernon on Dec. 7th for said pep rally.

  9. Les 2013.12.06

    You're a little overboard Lanny. I'm not sure of Big Stone but Shelby was a new generation of clean coal, similar to the Basin plant in ND that captures CO2. What is wrong with clean coal?
    Who is going to provide the energy to keep us warm while we wait for the wind to blow and the sun to shine and the wonderful green technology we all wish for to get here?
    I have no doubt there can be collusion in the energy industry, but just wait until we get that first hiccup in fracking and the price of the new cheap nat gas goes through the roof. Obama's war on coal has converted and continues converting coal fired power generation to nat gas and we Are already feeling those pains with cheap nat gas.

  10. interested party 2013.12.06

    Lanny: you're right on.

  11. Les 2013.12.06

    There's the polls folks. Don't like it, vote em out.

  12. Mike Verchio 2013.12.06

    "True Conservatives" liberally spending our tax dollars ?

  13. interested party 2013.12.06

    Hey, Mike: Social Security still paying your property tax?

  14. Mike Verchio 2013.12.06

    I'm sure it does partially along with my other incomes .

  15. interested party 2013.12.06

    Which insurance company enjoys the rewards of your smoking three packs a day for 50+ years?

  16. Les 2013.12.06

    At some point in your world you will freeze or burn when opportunity for a lift from a mike verchio comes along Lar!
    By mid fifties most have generally learned to choose their battles and actually win a few.

  17. interested party 2013.12.06

    Les: Enya was in my tape player as I did bidness with Mike Verchio for three years. Don't be a dope.

  18. Bree S. 2013.12.06

    Could you repeat that in Klingon Larry.

  19. Les 2013.12.06

    LOL, no fair Lar, you know I enjoy Enya. I had to quit the handful of Cubans a year just because of the ACA. How about you Lar, just gonna pay ur due?

  20. Disgusted Dakotan 2013.12.06

    Why was Rhoden's travel claim so much more than the others?

  21. Les 2013.12.06

    Dig deeper DD. I see that all the time in biz travel. He bought the meals, paid the taxi, paid the tips, stayed an extra day in conference.....don't let the nickels hide the Lincolns.

  22. interested party 2013.12.06

    Flying out of Rapid City costs more for one thing. Lederman was probably already there raising money for AIPAC.

  23. grudznick 2013.12.06

    Yes, Mr. Rhoden probably paid a more expensive price for his ticket out of Rapid and then was looked to by the others, as the leader that he is, to guide them to reasonable cafes and bistros, probably picked up the tips for everybody and was the fellow who knew how to navigate the labyrinth of the transportation system and handled the finances for it.

  24. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.12.06

    Les, you know part of why I write is to inform people so they can find good reason to vote the bums out.

    Bob, get me some pictures from that Mount Vernon meeting tomorrow!

  25. Lanny V Stricherz 2013.12.07

    Les, Where are they finding that "clean" coal? When I was a kid and had to sweep out the coal bin in the Spring, I never saw anything to give any indication that there was such a thing as clean coal.

  26. tjv 2013.12.07

    No surprise Wick ditched the budget address to put the interests of ALEC ahead of those who elected him. According to a draft agreement prepared for ALEC's board of directs obtained by the Guardian, it was proposed that state chairs take an oath to "act with care and loyalty and put the interests of the organization first." Apparently Wick is more concerned about fulfilling ALEC's proposed oath and having a tax-funded good time than serving his constituency.

  27. Jana 2013.12.09

    When the gang comes home would someone please ask them why they support and organization that pro factory farming at the expense of family farms.

    Then ask why they are trying to outlaw country of origin labeling laws.

    Their support of ALEC is really just thumbing their noses at family farmers and producers.

  28. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.12.10

    Does ALEC have any rural cred? Given their corporate bent, they must hate real independent family farmers.

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