PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Representative Jon Hansen of Dell Rapids and Senator Lee Schoenbeck of Watertown, the two Republican state legislators who led the effort to put Amendment C on South Dakota’s June 7 ballot, didn’t raise or spend a penny on its behalf.

Instead, their ballot-measure committee, South Dakotans Against Higher Taxes, let two national groups do much of the money work.

Americans For Prosperity provided $339,423.39 last year for polling, canvassing, doorhangers, digital ads, mailers and postage. The organization then spent another $497,064.75 this year. Opportunity Solutions Project, based in Tallahassee, Florida, pumped in $100,000.

A third group, South Dakota Coalition for Responsible Taxation, put in $19,500 for polling. Nathan Sanderson, executive director for the South Dakota Retailers Association, is president for the collection of 13 lobbyists well-known in the halls of the state Capitol.

A Republican former lawmaker, Scott Eccarius of Rapid City, donated $2.009.74 on June 1.

Altogether they spent nearly $858,000 — and lost badly. Amendment C failed by a 2-1 margin on June 7, with 33% support and 67% opposed. Initial results showed it received 59,125 yes votes and had 122,417 votes against, losing in 65 of 66 counties.

The proposal would have required a three-fifths vote of support, meaning at least 60%, for passage of any statewide ballot measure that imposed a tax or a fee or obligated spending $10 million or more.

When Republicans in the Legislature last year approved Amendment C for the June 2022 ballot, Hansen and Schoenbeck wanted the higher threshold in place before the November 2022 general-election, in case Amendment D or Initiated Measure 28 made the ballot. Both now have. Each would expand the eligibility for Medicaid to 133% of the federal poverty level.

The South Dakota Legislative Research Council has officially estimated that Medicaid expansion would affect 42,500 individuals the first year a total cost of $297 million, mostly from the federal government. State government’s share the first year was estimated at $32,566,000.

South Dakota is one of 12 states that haven’t expanded Medicaid. The others are Wyoming, Wisconsin, Kansas, Texas, Tennessee, North Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida.

The opposition’s main ballot-measure committee, South Dakotans for Fair Elections, formed February 8, 2022, to fight against Amendment C. Its chair, Ashley Kingdon, runs Independent Health Solutions, based in Huron, to serve disabled, elderly and chronically ill individuals.

The opponents’ main committee raised $1,505,960. That included $250,000 from Washington, D.C.-based The Fairness Project; $455,960 from the National Education Association; $250,000 apiece from Avera Health and Sanford Health, both based in Sioux Falls; $150,000 from Rapid City-based Monument Health; and $150,000 from Sioux Falls-based American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

Other money came in from two groups. The South Dakota Education Association kicked in $10,000 in late May for digital ads opposing C. The American Heart Association, based in Dallas, Texas, put in $27,456 for two rounds of get-out-the-vote text messages on May 31 and on June 6.

Medicaid expansion has two ballot-measure committees behind it.

The better-financed committee, South Dakotans Decide Healthcare, formed back in 2020 to push for what’s now called Amendment D. The committee received nothing and spent nothing the first year but received $21,639.58 in donated goods and services.

In 2021, South Dakotans Decide received $1,101,701 of income, including $250,000 apiece from Sanford, Avera, Farmers Union Insurance and SDAHO (South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations) Enterprises and $100,000 from Monument Health, while spending $937,624.07, including $834,928.99 on field consulting. The committee also got $139,334.24 of donated goods and services from AARP, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and The Fairness Project.

The cancer society network also spent $78,271.79 last year on hosting a telephone town hall and on social media and digital ads supporting the Medicaid expansion amendment.

This year, through mid-May, South Dakotans Decide took in $250,000 from Huron-based Farmers Union while so far spending $88,764.86. The cancer society network and The Fairness Project also donated $81,550.43 of goods and services.

The lesser-financed Medicaid-expansion committee, Dakotans for Health, was the first to form, in March 2020, and seeks passage of IM 28. Its chair is Rick Weiland of Sioux Falls. Its fundraising started to get off the ground in 2021, bringing in $153,875.50, mostly from a few labor organizations and a federal committee known as TakeItBack, while spending $154,113.52, mostly on salaries.

This year, through mid-May, Dakotans for Health brought in $72,137.44, mostly from the state committee that Weiland formed in February 2022 bearing a similar name, TakeItBack, and spent $72,186.48, again mostly on salaries.