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Heidelberger Declares Candidacy, Now Immune from Prosecution

Last updated on 2014.05.08

David Montgomery says I'm wrong about Attorney General Marty Jackley's announcement yesterday that he won't prosecute any Senate candidates until after the election. AG Jackley isn't doing political favors; Montgomery reports that the AG is simply following a common and well-established precedent of not interfering with elections:

...Jackley's not making stuff up. It's standard practice—though not an ironclad rule—for indictments and other prosecutorial actions of political candidates to be delayed until after the election.

I've read multiple versions of this same principle over the years -- since politicians have a nasty habit of getting indicted, it comes up on a regular basis [David Montgomery, "Political Indictments Often Held Until After Elections," Political Smokeout, 2014.05.06].

Bill Janklow's speeding was standard practice, too, but that didn't make it right.

But suppose we accept this notion of de facto temporary immunity for political candidates. My commenters get me thinking: when does this immunity start? Does an individual win delay of any imminent prosecution the moment her nominating petition is certified? Does this immunity start when she files her petition? When she starts circulating it? When she announces her candidacy? When she announces her exploratory committee? When the press publishes speculation that she might run?

And when does this immunity end? When the winner makes her speech on election night? Suppose Mike Rounds survives the primary and wins the general. On November 4, 2014, he declares that he will seek a second term in 2020. Golly, prosecutors looking into EB-5 can't go influencing that election and disenfranchising those future voters with a prosecution, can they?

And then it hits me: I need to run for office again. In the past year, I've been accused of breaking and entering, theft, bribery, and cyberstalking/identity theft. I need some cover! I thus declare that my name will appear on another ballot. Someday. Somewhere. AG Jackley and the Lincoln County States Attorney can investigate me all they want, but to avoid disenfranchising future voters, they cannot prosecute me until that fateful future election.

Welcome to the perpetual campaign, the perfect cover for any crime, brought to you by Marty Jackley.


  1. Loren 2014.05.07

    Jackley is a joke, just a political animal. No doubt you will see him run for governor in the very near future.

  2. Student 2014.05.07


    What about justice for those that have lawsuits pending against the chanette machine. The outcome of the investigation would certainly have some bearing on that. So Jackley is actually denying justice for those individuals as well as the citizens of the state. What are protecting the safety and well being of South Dakotan's?

  3. WestRiver 2014.05.07

    Did you see that caheidelberger? Chanette is going to be a household word! But in all seriousness, you've accomplished a lot using your blog. Honestly take a look at what you've done here. You've outed a couple who have taken advantage of a lot of people for close to 20 years and this time you even helped in finding Chad's name attached to it so that he doesn't get away with it this time. You've put this couple on the front page of newspapers and TV headlines, even national news and the world has no excuse for not knowing what Chanette is made of. You've made the SDSOS, DCI, and AG's office investigate (you're the liberal media) who hates them. If I were in your shoes I would understand why you want swift justice because we don't want them escaping to Haiti and we don't want them to keep hurting other people. In this though I think you should be a little patient even if you're right. Don't push buttons too much. Remember in this instance he's on the right side of the law. Just do your job. Keep being the voice for those who need one, keep being understanding and being a confidante. Keep reporting the news and keep being the most moral atheist I ever met.

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.05.07

    Chanette? Oh my.

    Moral atheist? Oh my!

    I struggle with patience, but I'm getting better with age. Thank you.

  5. mike from iowa 2014.05.07

    Apparently Bosworth struggles with patients,too.

  6. mike from iowa 2014.05.07

    I've got your back,in iowa at least. Your name will magically appear as a candidate from somewhere as a write-in for potus. Unfortunately,since law prevents me from taking pictures of the ballot,you'll have to trust me that your name will be written in. To make it all legal like,there are no strings attached. No quid pro quo,no no bribes,no threats,in short you get nothing.

  7. Steve Sibson 2014.05.07

    Nice try Cory, but I have not yet seen a SOS who has made your candidacy official. Or did I miss something?

  8. Student 2014.05.07

    Steve, I think you just have to announce to be immune....

  9. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.05.07

    That's my point, Steve. What's the threshold for prosecutors to invoke electoral non-interference? Mike Rounds declared his candidacy 15 months before filing petitions. But he filed his candidacy with the FEC on December 3, 2012. He filed his exploration of candidacy on October 10, 2012. Under Jackley's thinking, at what point does the state run the risk of interfering with the electoral process by prosecuting a candidate?

  10. Steve Sibson 2014.05.07

    Cory, my answer (not that I am saying I agree with it) is when an SOS makes the candidacy official, then an AG may choose to defer prosecution. I am guessing that the premise is that allegations of wrong doing could be used to bring down a candidate. Justice does require innocence until proven guilty, but that is not applied in the game of politics. An indictment by itself will cost many votes, so for that reason an AG my delay issuing an indictment.

  11. Steve Sibson 2014.05.07

    Sorry, "may" delay an indictment.

    How many candidates are pressured by their party to end their campaign simply for being arrested for DUI in South Dakota? Despite the judicial premise that you are innocent until proven guilty.

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.05.07

    But since there's no written rule, Steve, how are we to know that Jackley will respect any such legal criterion of official SOS recognition of a candidacy? Why can I not demand the same accord for my not-yet-official candidacy? Haven't some liberals and conservatives been using allegations of wrong-doing in EB-5 to try to bring Rounds since well before his candidacy became SOS-official? (And hey, do those FEC declarations count for anything in the AG's thinking? Is it strictly a question of making the ballot?)

    And what about David Skoglund? He made the ballot in March. Moorhead police arrested him in April. Didn't those police interfere with a South Dakota election?

  13. Dave Baumeister 2014.05.07

    Steve pretty much says it all: "People are innocent until proven guilty." If an investigation proved that a person were not guilty of somethign, but just that investigation tainted the election, there are all sorts of legal ramifications. Jackley's statement referrs to investigations not affecting and election, and it mentions prosecution. He does not say that the investigations aren't happening. I do know for a fact that there are investigations happening. But I am sure they won't be acted upon so as not to cause someone possibly innocent to lose votes and come back and sue the state. Now, I am not saying that there is anyone innocent here and I know of atleast two people (with apparently one name) who should probably do some jail time, BUT when I put on my non-conspricay minded glasses, I can see why they would choose to hold off. Of course, by not chosing to prosecute, it makes us think of all sorts of nasty things when we take those glasses off! I am curious to see what happens the day after the primary (or possibly at 8:01 p.m. CDT the day of the primary).

  14. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.05.07

    Let me throw another egg into the omelette. What If Judge Barnett, had not had a previously scheduled baptism to go to, (I can't remember what his excuse was) and had heard Rev Rep Hickey's case against the good Doctor and determined that she in fact had broken the law. Then what happens?

  15. Steve Sibson 2014.05.07

    Cory, I join those who appreciate your efforts to hold the AG and others' feet to the fire. And given that I am often accused of believing all conspiracy theories, I have not come to believe our current AG would put politics above the duties of his office. But I do agree that we should be on the lookout encase he is. The question that were should be exploring is what confidence level should an AG reach, that he has enough evidence on a candidate that will result in a jury finding beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime was committed, to go forward with an indictment before election day? Should it be 100%?

  16. mike from iowa 2014.05.07

    Geez,as if pols didn't get enough breaks from accountability. It is getting to the point where the only accountability for any politician is if enough voters get fed up and kick his/her ass out of office. With partisan gerrymandering and the inherent advantages incumbents have,that is almost impossible to achieve. The electorate needs to reassert our power and control over these korporate whores.

  17. Student 2014.05.07

    Lanny, then his sister Sheryl who was in all of Chanette's commercials gets mad

  18. Steve Sibson 2014.05.07

    Mike, you are right. Until the people wake up and then take action, things will continue to go the way the have. I know I am having trouble getting this next point across on this website...the problem is in both political parties. There are those who are certain Bill Clinton got away with more than just a little womanizing.

  19. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.05.07

    Oh you mean like Bosnia and Serbia, MR Sibson? Or how about NAFTA, CAFTA and all the other trade agreements. Can you say repeal of Glass Steagall with the aid of our now senior Senator? I was a fan of Clinton's by the time he left office, but now that I see that those balanced budgets were on the back of social security, the way those trade agreements and the repeal of Glass Steagall has worked out, not so much. He is one of the top zionists in the US government and there are plenty of them. We need a US Senator who is an America firster and Mike Rounds has clearly shown with his trip to Israel last fall to kneel to Netanyahu, Shimon Peres and the Knesset, that he is not that person.

  20. mike from iowa 2014.05.07

    Using elections as an excuse not to prosecute wrongdoers ought to be a prosecutable offense. Either we stand for law and order or we don't. In Bosworth's case,this isn't a he said/she said dispute. There is clear and convincing evidence that she commited perjury with or without her personal attorney's knowledge. There is also nearly indisputable evidence her elevator doesn't reach the penthouse-and she has children? IMHO Jackley is doing his best impersonation of an incompetent doofus who is in way over his head and hopes no one will notice or care.

  21. Roger Cornelius 2014.05.07

    Exactly mike from iowa, when Jackley was sworn in as attorney general, which laws did he swear to uphold, the state of South Dakota's or the laws of Republican protectionism? It's quite obvious.
    Steve Sibson, keep Bill Clinton out of this conversation, we are not talking about who is possibly the most corrupt politician, we are discussing the very specific action or in-actions of SD's attorney general and the corrupt and criminal activities of several U.S. Senate candidates.
    I agree with Cory that there is apparently no threshold for criminal conduct by a candidate. Immunity has all the appearances here, although it maybe temporary.
    Given that Jackley is becoming notorious for giving Republicans legal passes on investigations and prosecution, does anyone here on Madville really believe there will be any action taken by Jackley after the primary or general elections? I sure the hell don't.

  22. mike from iowa 2014.05.07

    Do we need to revisit "high crimes and misdemeanors"? Do we allow wingnuts to convince themselves that a Dem lying about sex is so much worse than a wingnut lying us into wars and facillitating the outing of a covert CIA agent? My butt is still chafed from idiotic rethuglicans solemnly filing impeachment charges against Clinton for doing what any number of wingnuts themselves have done and are still doing.

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