The South Dakota Democratic Party says there’s been a lack of oversight in the financial management of the party.
That statement comes in response to a federal election commission audit that shows the party understated disbursements by nearly 2.5 million dollars from 2015 to 2016.
Party Chair Paula Hawks says FEC audits are common. She took the helm of the party in late March this year. A new executive director for the democratic party was announced earlier this month.
Hawks says the fact that an audit occurred is not concerning to her.
“It’s unfortunate that it’s coming out now and that we’ve had to take a look at this,” Hawks says. “Stacey and I are brand new in our positions and trying to reset and rebuild the party and build up our presence in South Dakota and help represent the progressives and democrats in South Dakota."
According to the draft audit, 99 percent of those understated disbursements were transfers to the Democratic National Committee. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the South Dakota Democratic Party was one of 38 state Democratic parties that participated in the Hillary Victory Fund. Wealthy donors could write checks to each state democratic party up to 10-thousand dollars.
At the time, Hawks was challenging then-Congresswoman Kristi Noem for U-S Representative.
The party states the current financial situation is unfortunate and unexpected to the new administration and executive director. Hawks says every step will get taken to rebuild the Democratic Party in South Dakota with transparency, accountability and integrity.