A house committee has minimized the role of a proposed government accountability task force. Senate Bill 171 now establishes a panel to focus solely on campaign finance limits.
During the same meeting, legislators are also reverting a heavily amended campaign finance law back to its original language.
The original Government Accountability Task Force had three main objectives: review lobbyist restrictions, consider ethics reform, and evaluate campaign finance.
Some lawmakers say they’ve addressed those issues with other legislation, so they’re restricting the task force to examining political donation limits.
State Representative Don Haggar says it’s better for a task force to focus on one topic.
“If it’s too broad, as I suspect without the amendment, the task force would be overwhelmed by the scope," Haggar says. "So, by narrowing it I think we have a better shot at getting something that would be productive that we could act on during the next session.”
A bill backed by the Secretary of State’s office seeks to clean up language surrounding campaign finance limits. State Senators amended Senate Bill 54 several times, but the House committee reverted the bill to its original language.
South Dakota Secretary of State Shantel Krebs supports the change.
“Then your work this summer can be focused on the contribution limitations in which everyone is talking about in IM 22 so that you can do what you said you were going to do and get the limitations addressed," Krebs says. "That will be applicable in your summer study task force. Having already had this done, a part of 12-27 clean up, then you can go into your contribution limitations specifically.”
Krebs refers to state campaign finance requirements in state law.
The House State Affairs committee supports both Senate Bill 171 and Senate Bill 54. But lawmakers aren’t likely done discussing the merits of the bills. That’s because the last round of changes eliminated a restriction so campaign funds wouldn’t be for personal use.
According to the Associated Press, Senate GOP leaders suspect that aspect of the bill to come up when lawmakers from both the House and the Senate try to find a compromise on the bill.