Super PAC Puts $1M Into SD Senate Race

Oct 7, 2014

A nationwide Super PAC plans to spend $1 million in the race for South Dakota’s open United States Senate Seat. A group named Mayday calls itself a citizen-funded Super PAC. Leaders say their money comes from everyday people through crowdfunding and they claim to support policy, not political parties. Mayday is putting its money into commercials, get-out-the-vote campaigns and mailers.

Mayday is dropping $1 million in South Dakota to support Rick Weiland. He’s the Democrat running for US Senate. Weiland is also the candidate who, earlier in the race, pushed for all candidates to pledge to keep outside money away from the South Dakota campaign. That didn’t happen. Now Mayday is running ads in favor of Weiland.
 
Co-founder Lawrence Lessig says Mayday is a Super PAC to end all Super PACs.

"And the Super PAC is the vehicle that we’re using and other people are using to put enormous amounts of money into local races. It’s a terrible system. And if you hate the system, you ought to be voting for people who want to change it," Lessig says.

Lessig says Mayday supports candidates, not parties. He says the group endorses Rick Weiland because he has drawn a line on keeping corruption out of politics.

Lessig says independent candidate Larry Pressler is also a strong candidate for reform, but Mayday thinks Weiland has a better chance at winning the election.

Lessig says the Super PAC is critical of Republican candidate Mike Rounds and opposes his election.

Gordon Howie is the fourth candidate in South Dakota’s US Senate race; he’s running as an Independent.
 
Super PACs are barred from communicating with campaigns, even to discover whether candidates want them involved in races.

A spokesperson for Rick Weiland’s campaign says he is against the influence of big money, regardless of whether Super PACs are for or against him. He says he wants to eliminate the ability of big money to influence political races across the country.

Republican candidate Mike Rounds says groups with unlimited amounts of money are responsible for misinformation in the South Dakota campaign, and he says they aren't held accountable for false advertising.