South Dakota Editorial RoundupJob of Herseth Sandlin’s husband no laughing matter It’s less than reassuring that U.S. Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin finds questions about her husband’s job to be “laughable.” Max Sandlin, a former Texas congressman who married the congresswoman in 2007, is a political lobbyist. Kristi Noem, who is challenging Herseth Sandlin for South Dakota’s only House seat, says the situation generates improper influence.
Job of Herseth Sandlin’s husband no laughing matter
It’s less than reassuring that U.S. Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin finds questions about her husband’s job to be “laughable.”
Max Sandlin, a former Texas congressman who married the congresswoman in 2007, is a political lobbyist.
Kristi Noem, who is challenging Herseth Sandlin for South Dakota’s only House seat, says the situation generates improper influence. She has no shocking examples to back that up, but she doesn’t need them. Herseth Sandlin should realize the situation creates an appearance of impropriety, even if it never were to occur. And that’s a problem that extends well beyond both candidates.
Many polls have found a high level of public mistrust in Congress. It would take widespread ethical reforms to remedy that.
Noem would be more credible if she broadened her view of needed reforms, rather than focusing on one specific to her campaign opponent.
Noem’s call for a new rule banning congressional lobbying by the spouses of members of Congress would be a good place to start minimizing the influence of special interests on members of Congress. But why stop there?
Why not ban former members of Congress from lobbying Congress altogether? Why not pass stricter laws forcing members of Congress to abstain from voting when any sign of a conflict of interest is present?
It’s not enough for Noem to hone in on one small aspect of the many ethical dilemmas that Congress regularly breaches. Furthermore, 50 members of Congress from both parties are related to registered lobbyists.
As part of her stance on conflicts of interest, Noem could take a look at her own personal situation, point out any potential conflicts of interest that might arise, and promise to avoid them whether or not it’s required.
Herseth Sandlin should do the same and do whatever it takes to remove any appearance of impropriety. To her credit, neither her husband, nor anyone at his firm, is allowed to lobby her or her staff. But she should refrain from voting on any proposed legislation that generates lobbying income for her husband.
Truth is, for voters to begin to trust their elected officials in Congress, it should adopt rules that prohibit spouses from taking lobbyist positions.
Herseth Sandlin’s claim that transparency and disclosure are adequate doesn’t cut it. She should not be laughing off this legitimate concern.
Rapid City Journal
Sioux Falls airport updates are meeting modern needs
The changes happening at the Sioux Falls Regional Airport continue to be noteworthy.
There’s a terminal expansion underway.
There have been improvements to the ticket counter and baggage-handling system.
And ongoing plans include the additions of amenities such as more restrooms, a more formal dining area and desk space for laptop users.
Now, the Sioux Falls Regional Airport Authority has approved a plan to reconstruct the parking lot. And the board also is discussing the possibility of building a multistory parking ramp in the future.
These kinds of projects help modernize the airport and update its features to match 21st-century needs and traveling habits.
The parking plan, in particular, would redesign the parking lot to make it friendlier for pedestrians and drivers, expand the drop-off zone capacity and maximize the parking stall count.
The board has been a good financial steward of its revenue through the years, enabling the group to make these kinds of improvements.
It’s laudable work indeed.
We applaud the consistent, good efforts the board is making to continually improve the city’s airport.
Sioux Falls Argus Leader