PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — 75 political committees were late filing their campaign finance reports to the South Dakota Secretary of State office in 2018 and six never responded. Yet they still remain in the office’s active files, because state law doesn’t specifically address what to do with them.
Secretary of State Steve Barnett suggested HB 1055 so his office could deal with them for failing to file. But the South Dakota House of Representatives decided Thursday to see if there’s another way.
“Obviously some members of the body have some angst about this,” said Representative Herman Otten, a Lennox Republican, who earlier had called for its passage.
The bill was put off until Wednesday so lawmakers can talk with Barnett and his elections staff.
Representative Ryan Cwach, a Yankton Democrat, said he sympathized with the Secretary of State office. But Cwach said the legislation could allow a political action committee to be terminated without knowing it faced that possibility.
“We do not know the circumstances. We shouldn’t pre-judge it on the floor,” Cwach said. “If we’re going to be drafting laws, we should draft them well.”
Three Republican House members — David Anderson of Hudson, Nancy Rasmussen of Hurley and Nancy York of Watertown — urged caution too.
Anderson said there could have been a mismailing or some other problem that prevented the notice from being delivered. “Perhaps there is a chance to fix the problem, without creating another problem,” he said.
York had joined Cwach and Kelly Sullivan, a Sioux Falls Democrat, in voting against endorsing the bill in committee.
“Vote this one down, and let us meet with the Secretary of State, so it’s a good bill,” York said Thursday.