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Secretary of State Reviews Campaign Finance Law

SD Secretary of State

South Dakota’s Secretary of State Shantel Krebs says she wants a review of the state’s campaign finance law.

She says campaign finance in South Dakota can be difficult to understand.

Secretary of State Shantel Krebs says she’s convening a group of state legislators and state officials to clear up state law on campaign financing.

Krebs says she wants to make sure both citizens and candidates know where political money is coming from, who it’s coming from, how much is given, and when it’s most relevant.

“When it’s right before that election’s coming up, whether it be a primary or a general, citizens just want to have that transparency and I think that’s the challenge that we don’t have right now in current state law. I want to open up that we can see it’s more transparent so we know exactly who’s spending what and getting what and where that money is going and who it’s coming from. I also want to have that accountability so that we can say who did get that money and if there’s a concern with how it was given or by whom.”

Krebs hopes the group can clarify rules that deal with political action committees, also known as PACs…

“That’s one of the reasons why I want to look at that right now. A PAC is limited to $10,000 per PAC for a candidate. And what ends up happening some time is that maybe several PACs are formed to give one candidate more than $10,000, and so, we want to just say if there’s all this money coming in, we want to know who it’s coming from so we don’t have to track it down by different PACs being formed in order to siphon that money in different ways.”

Krebs says she wants to hear from South Dakotans about ways to reform campaign finance laws in the state. She says the public can call or email the secretary of state’s office with feedback or ideas.

She says a summer subcommittee examines the issue for the first time at a meeting around the end of August and then again in September. That group will propose changes at the October Board of Elections meeting.

Citizens get the chance to vote on a separate campaign finance reform proposal in November with Initiated Measure 22, which seeks to establish publicly funded campaigns and lowers contribution amounts.