Legislator wants probe of Municipal League on ballot-issue advocacyHURON — State Rep. Peggy Gibson, D-Huron, filed a request Thursday to investigate whether the South Dakota Municipal League is in violation of state law by allegedly using taxpayer dollars to endorse Referred Law 14 in its October monthly magazine.
By: Staff reports, The Daily Republic
HURON — State Rep. Peggy Gibson, D-Huron, filed a request Thursday with Secretary of State Jason Gant to investigate whether the South Dakota Municipal League is in violation of state law by allegedly using taxpayer dollars to endorse Referred Law 14 in its October monthly magazine.
Specifically, Gibson is alleging that the SDML is using dues from its member cities to help fund advocacy for Referred Law 14.
The cover of the October SDML magazine bears a large “Vote for 14” logo and directs readers to a ballot-issues guide inside. A column in the magazine by the organization’s executive director, Yvonne Taylor, says the organization supports passage of the law.
Gibson cites state codified law 12-27-20, which says in part that, “The state, an agency of the state, and the governing body of a county, municipality, or other political subdivision of the state may not expend or permit the expenditure of public funds for the purpose of influencing the nomination or election of any candidate, or for the petitioning of a ballot question on the ballot or the adoption or defeat of any ballot question.”
According to the state Democratic Party, which issued a news release about the request, Gant has the power to determine whether the SDML is in compliance with South Dakota campaign finance law.
The release says Gibson requested Gant “immediately issue interrogatories” to SDML in order to clarify whether public funds are being used to influence the outcome of Referred Law 14.
Referred Law 14 would establish a state government-operated incentive grant program for certain large development projects exceeding $5 million in cost.
The referred law is on the Nov. 6 statewide general election ballot.