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Take the Lowe Road, Wismer: Talk Culture of Corruption!

One of the talking points Democratic nominee Susan Wismer needs to adopt from her vanquished primary opponent Joe Lowe is his talk of the "culture of corruption" fostered by the Rounds-Daugaard administration. Why?

  1. It's true!
  2. Fighting a "Culture of Corruption" will synergize with the "Take It Back!" populist message of Sue's new best buddy on the prairie, Rick Weiland.
  3. South Dakota's higher-than-normal corruption has policy impacts, like an over-emphasis on economic development based on bribe-prone corporate handouts and less funding for education and health care:

...Economic development projects are ripe for corruption, the study published this spring in the Public Administration Review, found.

Using data from the Department of Justice that encompassed more than 25,000 public corruption-related convictions nationwide between 1976 and 2008 of elected officials, judges and local employees, the study concluded that higher instances of corruption correlate with more spending in certain areas. Among the most corrupt states were Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Illinois, South Dakota and Alaska.

The study found that high levels of corruption in a state can shape its budget allocation. More corrupt states tended to spend money on construction, highways, and police protection programs, which provide more opportunity for corrupt officials to use public money for their own gain. These states spend less on health, education, and welfare, which provide less opportunity for officials to collect bribes... [Liz Farmer and Kevin Tidmarsh, "What Corrupt States Spend Their Money On," Governing, 2014.06.06].

Wismer can also point out that the culture of corruption ends up hamstringing the economic development that Daugaard and pals say they are promoting:

The shakedown culture can also be a deterrent to economic development, with developers who are attempting to play fair getting disenchanted by pay-to-play politics, he added. After all, there's little incentive to spend time and money on a bid when the winning bidder has already bought political favor [Farmer and Tidmarsh, 2014.06.06].

Corruption could even have something to do with lower voter turnout:

Public confidence in government is also a hidden – and immeasurable – cost of corruption, added Sergio Acosta, a corporate attorney who was the former federal prosecutor for the Northern District of Illinois [Farmer and Tidmarsh, 2014.06.06].

The culture of corruption that Joe Lowe identifies hinders public welfare, economic development, and civic life in South Dakota. Sue, that's your message, in one sentence. Get on it!


  1. Hubba 2014.06.06

    Boy Cory, I don't know. I heard from a lot of people that they didn't like Stace Nelson's "negative campaigning" even though it was all true and was only negative because it was bad, and he got third behind a guy who "needed more facts" about EB-5 before he could decide whether it was bad.
    Same with this Lowe feller. I didn't follow the Democratic primary too closely, but it seems that his barking about corruption and trying to pull your hand off and whatnot didn't get him too far.
    It seems in South Dakota, you can do whatever you want as long as you seem nice.

  2. owen reitzel 2014.06.06

    She has to get tough and get in Daugaards face. Get in rattled
    But I don't know how you can get into someones face and remain nice.

  3. Jerry 2014.06.06

    More proof that Medicaid Expansion would do wonders for our states economic health and education. Of course, business people like John T. already knew this as well as most forward thinkers
    The problem is that the Daugaard regime is not known as forward thinkers or thinkers in general. Now if there is a corrupt way to make a buck for themselves while spending 10 and keeping it off the books, what the hell as long as it is tax payer money, all is good.

  4. Danno 2014.06.06

    I wonder what's going on in the grand juries re: EB-5. I hear nothing but crickets.... *chirp*

  5. testor15 2014.06.06

    All Sweetness in Life, BULL.
    I am so tired of hearing the statements made about negative campaigning turning people off. We hear from the media and the Rove media consultants too much how we should not criticize or discuss our elected politicians. So shoot the .messenger because the 'negatives' will shake the foundations of a belief system.
    This is crap.
    The problem in South Dakota is the laziness of most of the media and politicians. They build simple story lines and repeat them. If a candidate challenges these simple story lines, it is negative politics.
    The SD Democratic Party should be 24 / 7 / 365 educating the voters and candidates on how to build a coherent simple story but instead are playing Facebook games and cozening up to their own corrupt politicos. The voters want to be educated 24 / 7 / 365 on why we should change directions. don't wait for the convention and Labor Day to begin the process.
    Look at what happens after every campaign a Dem Constitutional candidate runs and loses. They pack up their stuff and go into hiding, never to turn up again. The Dems who ran and won 70, 60, 50, 40 years ago usually lost a few first. Are we such a winner take all mentality, we no longer know how to lose and try again?
    The state party does not represent me or many of the people I know. Wake up and let others into your little circle.

  6. Steve Sibson 2014.06.06

    I prefer the term "system of legal corruption". The best way is to fix that is to starve the beast. So the conservative message of reducing the size and scope of government will take votes away from Rounds. The question is, will they go to Democrats or libertarian/conservative Independents.

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.06.06

    Come on, Sibby! "Culture of corruption" alliterates! It's one less word than your phrase! Much better for speeches.

  8. Kal Lis 2014.06.06

    I'm a big fan of alliteration. Besides cultures are nothing but complex systems.

    I think Wismer should add the sentence "A woman is the only one who can clean up the mess the good ol' boys have made."

    Testor15 is right. If everyone hated so-called negative campaigns, no one would run them. Politicians go after their opponents because the attacks work more often than they fail.

  9. Roger Cornelius 2014.06.06

    Electing Wismer as governor will not end the culture of corruption, talking about the culture of corruption may get her elected, but it will not end it.
    What will end it is a platform that spells out exactly how to attack and prevent the culture of corruption and prosecute offenders.
    What legislation is needed for complete transparency?
    What legislation is needed to establish a code of ethics and punishment of our elected politicians in Pierre?
    What legislation is needed to require the legislature to thoroughly investigate and subpoena those involved in stealing or misdirecting state dollars. The pitiful excuse of a hearing the legislature held on EB-5 comes to mind.
    Madvillians could easily write this part of Wismer's platform.
    Republican leadership will hate this, but their constituents may not.

  10. lesliengland 2014.06.06

    mayor in nc and truth about Medicaid expansion

    wismer could badger dd, get him to expand Medicaid now, and claim credit for saving 30-70 lives IN SOUTH DAKOTA before 2015. maybe that could win a 2014 election.

  11. lesliengland 2014.06.06

    meant to say msnbc's LAST WORD, 6.5.14, mayor adam ocneil, Belhaven NC

  12. Jessie 2014.06.06

    Wismer hasn't a snowball's chance in hell of being the next governor. She doesn't know how to campaign,won the primary based on support from the Dem party structure, and hasn't the skill to run the executive branch of state government.

    Put your efforts and dollars behind Weiland.

  13. Tara Volesky 2014.06.06

    It's better to tell the truth and lose, than be part of the problem by not informing the voters. EB-5, cronyism, and corruption need to be in the spotlight in this gubernatorial debate. Stace Nelson did the right thing, by exposing Mike Rounds for what he truly is. People tend to be uncomfortable with the truth because they want to think the best of people. It happens to the best of us, when you are in control money and power, one becomes caught up into temptation, which causes one to become corrupt.

  14. Jerry 2014.06.06

    The South Dakota Democratic Party knows that there are some 1,600 veterans in our state that could get healthcare through the Medicaid Expansion, but cannot get it through the VA system, so they have none. Got that, today is the anniversary of the landings in Normandy France, that was the beginning of the end of Nazi Germany. Meanwhile, in South Dakota, Governor Daugaard and the republican legislature continue to spit on the veterans that helped to keep us free.

    When a nation turns its backs on the needy, the working poor and especially the veterans that have kept the promise they made, it is time to evaluate who leads us. In South Dakota there should never be a statement of a snowball's chance in hell to win this race, it should be what can we do to help rid ourselves of this corruption and evil in general. Get behind Susan and Rick and help push this beast aside for a better tomorrow.

  15. Jessie 2014.06.06

    Jerry, you said "In South Dakota there should never be a statement of a snowball's chance in hell to win this race, it should be what can we do to help rid ourselves of this corruption and evil in general. Get behind Susan and Rick and help push this beast aside for a better tomorrow."

    My point is that winning this race would be the best way to rid ourselves of the corruption and Wismer hasn't the wherewithal to do this. I also doubt she has the rhetoric, personality or stamina to dominate a conversation with DD.

  16. Jerry 2014.06.06

    Exactly Jessie, I understand your point perfectly. Do you understand mine?

  17. Jessie 2014.06.06

    Yes, I think I do. I don't share it but I understand it.

  18. Jerry 2014.06.06

    Good, then we can proceed.

  19. Anne Beal 2014.06.06

    Great idea, Cory! Wailing about corruption worked so well for Lowe and Hubbel that Wismer should do the same. You're a genius.
    On another note, I watched Bosworths press conference today. Its all your fault.

  20. larry kurtz 2014.06.06

    One of Governor Wismer's first executive actions should be to open all records on SDDSS and catholic clergy collusion in crimes against children.

  21. Kal Lis 2014.06.06

    In the Republican gubernatorial race, the fault may have been the medium, who had been reduced to caricature, not the message.

    In the Democratic United States Senate race those of us surprised by the outcome should have remembered that the party leaders surrounded Wismer who announced long after Lowe. Those people did not get to be party leaders by not delivering votes for their political allies. I'm not sure why they preferred Wismer to Lowe, but they did and they delivered for her.

    I don't know how anyone can argue that South Dakota government at all levels does not need a large dose of transparency and a concerted effort to follow the money.

    A message is only as good as the messenger and the willingness of people to listen. Wismer, for all her faults, is a far superior messenger to Lora Hubbel, and Democrats and moderates may be more willing to listen to her than they were Lowe. Those who vote for the R from temperament and tradition will be unlikely to listen to any facts about corruption.

    Finally scandals from Watergate to Iran Contra to fill in the recent scandal of your choice here, all take time to fully develop. EB 5 likely has a few more size 15 shoes to drop.

  22. Roger Cornelius 2014.06.06


    The message South Dakotans received on Tuesday is that the majority of Republicans endorsed corruption when the voted for Rounds and Daugaard

  23. mike from iowa 2014.06.06

    With Watergate and Iran-Contra there was plenty of wingnut there there. All the wingnut produced and orchestrated scandals againt the Clintons went nowhere for lack of there there. As for Obama,the jury is still out.

  24. larry kurtz 2014.06.06

    Anne Beal's venom and vitriolic hatred is on full display at the War Toilet: catholic elitism at its most ut.

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