PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) -Some South Dakota voters are filing ethics complaints with the South Dakota Secretary of State’s office. The complaints have to do with a text message sent out last Wednesday, targeting a Republican lawmaker from Rapid City who is the sponsor of a bill that would require the governor to release the amount of money spent on security while she campaigned out of state for former President Trump.
On January 27th a message was sent to a list of voters in District 33, which includes Rapid City. It targets Republican Representative Taffy Howard. It says “Why is South Dakota Republican Taffy Howard working with liberal Democrats to attack conservative Governor Kristi Noem.”
It shows an image of Howard with Vice President Kamala Harris and Democratic leaders in the U.S. House and Senate.
It was sent from this number with a South Dakota area code, 605-210-9559.
We called the number and we got a message saying, “Welcome to Verizon Wireless, your call cannot be completed as dialed.”
One of the people who got the text and is filing an official complaint with the Secretary of State’s Office is Lisa Pustejovsky of Rapid City. We spoke with her by phone today, she says when she got the text her first thought was “that doesn’t sound like Taffy”.
Pustejovsky says she texted the number back asking “who is this?” She did not get a response.
Today she had her official complaint notarized and sent to the South Dakota Secretary of State’s Office. She feels if someone is going to make a serious accusation they should reveal who they are.
Also, whoever sent this message could be breaking state law, (SD law 12-27-1) which reads,
“Any printed material or communication made, purchased, paid for, or authorized by a candidate or political committee that disseminates information concerning a candidate, public office holder, ballot question, or political party shall prominently display or clearly speak the statement: “Paid for by (name of candidate or political committee).”
Those who sent out the mass text could face a class two misdemeanor, which includes 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Today Representative Howard told KELOLAND News she hopes they can find out who was behind the mass text, and she’s been told that at least one other person who got the text is filing a complaint with the Secretary of State. Today we asked the governor’s office via email if anyone knew who sent the text. We have yet to receive a response.