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Krebs Expanding Government to Give GOP Partisan a Job?

Shantel Krebs opens 2015 with a splendid example of Republicans promoting big government and regulatory capture.

Our new Secretary of State, who takes her oath tomorrow morning at 8 a.m., a week and a day before any other new constitutional officer, announces that she is hiring young but veteran GOP campaigner Jason Williams as her Public Information Officer. Darn—and I was hoping Jason would step away from politics and make his fortune building straw bale houses.

But hold on: a public information officer for the Secretary of State? Does that position exist? I could be wrong, but I don't recall Secretary Gant having a designated spokesman or spinmeister. It's hard to check, because the currently grossly ego-centric Secretary of State website lists no one's name but the Secretary's. The contact page lists the various services but doesn't tell us with whom we'll be speaking. The contact page lists no PIO or media contact person. Secretary Gant's press releases seemed to come out under his own name, listing him and not a PIO as the contact person. Is this one more sign that Republican Krebs is really a big government liberal?

Whether Krebs is really expanding the SOS budget or will cover her press man's pay by cutting some other vital service, Krebs is letting a fox into the henhouse. Williams is a veteran campaigner, having worked for Mike Rounds, Kristi Noem, Steve Barnett, and the state GOP. The Secretary of State's office exists to regulate political campaign organizations. In hiring Williams, Krebs appears to be giving in to the partisan pressures that are pulling Secretaries of State across the country away from their duty to act as fair, non-partisan umpires of elections.

And hey, we were all looking forward to seeing Shantel's smiling face and hearing her dulcet tones on the airwaves! Now we're stuck listening to some PIO? Booo!


  1. Owen 2015.01.01

    It'll be interesting to here her explanation. Either she's like most Republicans and is a hypocrite or what position was cut to pay for this and did that position help people?

  2. South DaCola 2015.01.01

    No surprise, you think Gant was partisan, Krebs will put that to shame.

  3. JeniW 2015.01.01

    Is she trying to avoid making the same mistakes, and intentional screw-ups that Jason Gant made?

  4. Wayne Pauli 2015.01.01

    Shantel is an interesting study. she served with me for a number of years on the DSU Board of Trustees. some times she was open and friendly and other times it was like we were not in the same room or in the same meeting. On one occasion We had a family event at Jake's in Pierre and Shantel was there with three other legislators. she looked right at me and absolutely nothing registered with her as far as waving, or nodding, or smiling...nothing...I just think of her as an enigma.

  5. leslie 2015.01.01

    another aspect of the third leg of the 2014 GOP/SDGOP strategy to enlist more elected republican officials (like the 28 state republican attorneys general association headed nationally by Oklahoman/republican rising star Scott Pruitt-who adds a super law firm for republican Supreme Court controversies dear to the GOP) in a blatant political power grab to command all aspects of government to get at public pools of money-e.g. "another vast right-wing conspiracy".

  6. leslie 2015.01.01

    remember the florida secretary of state's important role in the 2000 election leading to bush v. gore.

  7. Dave Baumeister 2015.01.01

    As publisher of the Yankton County Observr, I remember many times talking to Chris Nelson and Jason Gant when I'd have business with that office. Quite often, they would be the one who answered the phone. Krebs isn't even in office and she adds more money to the states expense, and a level of needless obscurity to the office that should be the most open.

  8. scott 2015.01.01

    hey, south dakotans want government run like a business. and what is more business-like then hiring more management to do nothing but stare at the computer "managing" all day.

  9. Jana 2015.01.01

    Amazing how GOP campaign operatives end up being employed at taxpayer expense. I get the whole "to the victor go the spoils" but our state government is becoming more inbred than the stereotypical character in the movie Deliverance.

    And yes, that's a problem for taxpayers.

  10. grudznick 2015.01.01

    I wonder if these young GOP operators start out working for lower rung candidates like this fellow in question worked for the auditor and then the State Secretary. They learn about how elections work. They get paid little. Then if they work hard and their candidate is elected, when the candidate needs hard working trusted smart people to come work for them these young operators might have a shot. They are already known by the new secretaries of audit or state. They get a real job and learn more. Then next election they go to work for that same boss or maybe a bigger boss and they learn more maybe getting a chance to move up to bigger jobs.

    Seems to me like the way the world is. Work hard. Get ahead.
    Maybe the SDDP should try this thing with good young operators.
    Or not.

  11. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.01.01

    Right on, Scott! If she's going to pay a guy to do a job that, as Dave notes, Chris Nelson seemed perfectly capable of handling himself, that new PIO had better at least be out here PIO'ing all over the blogs with answers to our questions about elections!

    Maybe Gant could have used a PIO; it occurs to me I placed a handful of calls seeking comment that Gant never returned.

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.01.01

    Grudz, I agree: work hard, get ahead—good policy for everyone, GOP and Dem.

    By your statement and Krebs's example, the SDDP should clearly spend money on a Public Information Officer.

  13. grudznick 2015.01.01

    Maybe they should, Mr. H. Perhaps the SDDP has a Public Information Officer, but I don't know. So if they do this officer must be fairly ineffective.

    If Mr. Gant had been a little more public with his information perhaps he would not have had to skulk out in the dark of the nights.

  14. Charlie Hoffman 2015.01.01

    I'll be back but we are heading out to dinner with friends right now. Happy New Year!!!

  15. Owen 2015.01.01

    so its ok to expand government Mr. Hoffman if it's done by Republicans? Plus I guess if you're far to the right then any Democrat appointee is "extreme."
    What it comes down to "any" Obama appointee is extreme to the Obama-hating Republicans

  16. grudznick 2015.01.01

    Do we know this young Ms. Krebs is expanding government? Perhaps she axed a few of Mr. Gants lackies.

  17. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.01.01

    Charlie! You've recovered from New Year's Eve! Glad to have you.

    If I'm reading your comment correctly, you're comparing my discussion of "regulatory capture" in Krebs's appointment of a professional campaigner to a job in the office charged with regulating campaigns to a conservative blogregator's labeling President Obama's appointees extremist wackos. Your analogy is, of course, bogus... but dang! my supper is ready too! More later!

  18. Owen 2015.01.01

    You might be right Grud. We'll have to see.
    Or did she ax people that helped people?

  19. jerry 2015.01.01

    Just so he does not suddenly become the secretary of economic development, we are good to go, that one is a tough and dangerous job. I am sure the guy will be busy as hell working in the office of Secretary of State with that title and will need as assistant to help keeping up. Shantel will be doing a lot of needed reach out stuff to keep her winning smile ahead of the party bosses for her turn up the ladder or so she thinks. There is only room for one bubble head and NOem was there first. In the meantime, he and Shantel can go shopping together.

  20. Justus Goodhands 2015.01.01

    Congrats to Mr. Williams. He is sure to be joining the ever increasing "salaried exempt" portion of the state's work force. Excellent wage, good benefits, and only needs to work 1 hour for a full 8 hours pay. If he can land a city government gig he can add that pay and work those tasks while on state time with state dollars.

  21. grudznick 2015.01.01

    Owen, you are assuming that all the people who worked in Mr. Gant's office helped people and that this new information person will not help people. It seems like much of the criticism pointed at Mr. Gant's substantial mellon was about him not getting out enough information.

    I think Ms. Krebs has you here, Owen. Plus, did you know she is a beauty queen of some sort?

  22. mike from iowa 2015.01.01

    Be entertaining to see what "they" decide is public information and who gets access to it. Chances are he will be a heat deflector so Ms Krebs mournful,delusional decisions won't blowback and ruin her manicure.

  23. JeniW 2015.01.01

    Does each department head (for the lack of a better term,) receive a set amount of funding to use as wanted/needed?

    For example, Do the legislators review and approve funding provided the GF & P person who is in charge a budget amount to be used to hire officers, office staff, projects etc? Or how about the Department of Social Service, does that department receive a set amount?

  24. Owen 2015.01.01

    We'll see Grud and no I don't remember her being a beauty queen.

  25. Wayne Pauli 2015.01.01

    Miss South Dakota of 1997

  26. Owen 2015.01.01

    shows how much I follow that. Thanks Wayne

  27. mike from iowa 2015.01.01

    Come on,guys. Get real. Wingnuts suppress votes. They do whatever it takes to make sure Dems and their allies have trouble voting. Krebs will be no different. If she shows any independence she will be replaced immediately.

  28. grudznick 2015.01.01

    Ms. Jeni, I would not be surprised if people as high up as Ms. Krebs can spend whatever they want. But I think she will be a prudent and conservative spender.

  29. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.01.01

    I can think of all sorts of information that Officer Williams can make public:

    —place all petitions online
    —convert all the old campaign finance forms to searchable electronic format
    —post the names and direct contact info of all SOS staff
    —convert all past election data to consistent, searchable electronic format

    Work starts tomorrow, Jason! Get to it!

  30. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.01.01

    Oh, and Charlie (pardon me, still wiping clam chowder and dill dip from my whiskers... mmm, chowder...), would you care to clarify your comparison? I don't know if Williams is a radical extremist; I doubt he is, since radicals win elections here and there in the Legislature, but only good followers of the mainstream creed and good-old-boys' network get appointments... or at least that's my impression. I'm just saying he's another example of SDGOP political cronyism, bringing more partisan flavor to the SOS office. Are Williams's credentials for working in this auspicious office much better than Pat Powers's were when Gant patronized him four years ago? (Ew, and we all remember how well that worked out.) Could the appointment of this partisan insider be the latest sign that Krebs will be Gant all over again, but with a nicer smile?

    And now that Krebs is SOS, do we have to stop saying "good old boys"?

  31. leslie 2015.01.01

    REPUBLICAN VOTER PURGE LISTS-tonight on Thom Hartmann radio/tv hosted greg palastino, investigative reporter exposing a confidential VOTER PURGE LIST of millions of minority voters (AL JAZERRA has list of 2.1 million names) that Secretarys of State of 27 states have compiled for prosecution.

    Kansas' Secretary of State heads this deal. Oklahoma's AG heads the republican shark tank of 28 states' Attorney Generals Association to exponentially increase legal horspower in energy and other cases before SCOTUS.

    Get the connection? Kochs are very influential in these two states.

  32. Charlie Hoffman 2015.01.02

    Cory honestly your diss of Jason Williams is nuts. "Krebs is letting a fox into into the henhouse!" Really? Do you even know Jason Williams? Have you met him or ever read any of his articles concerning civic duty and community involvement ? He is your kind of guy Cory. Samantha Powers is anti -Israel and a believer that Palestine should extend into all of the West Bank. She is truly nuts. A real non-believer of reality. Wars mean things. Take on a country and lose and the consequences can stink for you.
    The context of this story is actually funny but elections mean things and the winners get to put their people into places they are needed to further their machinations of government. If that isn't true then what Obama has done can only be described as corruptible.
    Rhetoric only flys as far as the truth can't cover it.

  33. larry kurtz 2015.01.02

    I was going to stay out of this.

  34. Charlie Hoffman 2015.01.02

    Mike from Iowa ; If in fact any voter has been found to vote in two States in the same election is it still not a crime to do so even if that voter is a minority? Or are you saying we should not prosecute minorities who break the law? From reading Al Jeezera's story that is what I come out of it with. Sounds a lot like allowing everyone to get a free pass who broke the law entering this country illegally. But what do I know? I'm just a regular guy who thinks a civilized country is best served by a strong penal system and a populace who respects it.

  35. Josh Haeder 2015.01.02

    Happy New Year Madville Times. Jason according to the release is also going to manage projects conducted in the SOS Office along with adding PIO to his title. I'm not one to post here, just read what others have to so say. But Jason is a good friend and I'll defend him here as regardless of his political affiliation he is deserving of a job like this. He doesn't look at things simply from a political perspective, he's a creative guy and will work to make things more efficient and ensure the public is kept up to date at the same time. You'll be hard pressed to find anyone on either side of the aisle who doesn't respect Jason's for his work ethic and respect for people regardless of political affiliation.

  36. larry kurtz 2015.01.02

    Ooooo, Cory: you've drawn some blood. Earth haters defending earth haters only means one thing: Krebs is a duplicitous sleaze ball who hated Kristi Noem so completely she spilled her guts to a liberal blogger.

  37. mike from iowa 2015.01.02

    CH-al Jazeera story sounds more like racial profiling by wingnuts. If memory serves,most cases of voter fraud have been committed by your party and lame attempts to purge voter rolls runs afoul of federal election laws.

  38. mike from iowa 2015.01.02

    Oh,lest I forget,we took on two countries in wars under dumbass dubya and managed to lose both. How does that make your party smell?

  39. Jenny 2015.01.02

    If Krebs is working within the budget of her dept that's fine with me if she hires someone. If not, then that would be an issue, but we don't know the details.

  40. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.01.02

    Charlie, I totally agree that elections have consequences, including the opportunity for the winners to put their partisan friends in positions of influence.

    Please notice, Charlie and Josh (Happy New Year, Josh! Glad to have you!), that at no point have I really "dissed" Jason on a personal level. I have not questioned his work ethic. Note my straw bale link—he may well be my kind of guy. But his career appears to resolve around partisan activities for South Dakota's one-party regime. Is my criticism any more harsh than the freak-out you guys would be having if Angelia Schultz had won and she had appointed me as her Public Information Officer?

    PIO and "Special Projects"—what "Special Projects"? Is that a new position, too?

  41. advocate 2015.01.02

    eh...Samantha Power is a neoliberal hack Corey. Her current iteration of "insider" ideology would make her fit in with the George W. crowd.

    The securitization of global poverty isn't intellectually powerful, just a disingenuous way to ensure American preeminence, usually by stifling organic democratic development in the third world.

    Her appointment was actually the exact moment I lost faith in Obama being anything other than an establishment hack.

  42. larry kurtz 2015.01.02

    Secretary Powers' veto of Palestinian statehood and her support for Zionism is worrisome but her injection into this thread is a red herring.

  43. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.01.02

    Boy, Charlie and I do know how to get people off track, don't we?

  44. larry kurtz 2015.01.02

    Ambassador Powers, rather.

  45. Josh Haeder 2015.01.02


    I respect the will of the people. If they elect someone I don't support I still respect their decision. I think Jason is the same way. He does have a career working for Republicans and will quietly help improve the sos office. He has good rapport with Democrats and those he disagrees with. He's a great friend so I figure at the very least ill give him a good plug here!

  46. larry kurtz 2015.01.02

    Reading through Josh Haeder's twitter feed suggests that he's a hypocrite and a liar.

  47. mike from iowa 2015.01.02

    So now we get to debate how to define "improve." I'm pretty sure rw definition will be totally opposite of reality.

  48. Josh Haeder 2015.01.02

    Larry Nice to hear from you!!

  49. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.01.02

    Josh, I appreciate your advocacy for your fellow Republican. As a Democrat, am I allowed to raise the same alarm that you would raise if I were appointed to the Secretary of State's office by our next Democratic SOS?

Comments are closed.