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Jackley: No evidence of crimes by Gant or Powers

PIERRE -- South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley said Tuesday he agrees with the state Division of Criminal Investigation that there exists no evidence of state criminal violations within the scope of DCI's probe of South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant and his office's former chief of operations, Pat Powers.

"The voluminous emails, internet usage and computer files provided no evidence that Secretary Gant, Mr. Powers or Dakota Campaign Store were in violation of state criminal statute," Jackley said in an official letter.

The letter was in response to the call for a state investigation of Gant and Powers by state Sen. Stan Adelstein, R-Rapid City, over Powers' operation of a political campaign business, advertised over the Internet, while Powers was employed by Gant during the past 18 months.

Powers resigned earlier this month. The secretary of state is South Dakota's top elections official.

Jackley said DCI conducted an investigation that included:

• Interviewing witnesses;

• A review and search of over 60,000 emails from the secretary of state's office;

• A review and search of more than 150,000 internet usage entries from the secretary of state's office, including 2.6 million files;

• Campaign finance reports and other expense documentation including design and computer service by Powers for Gant's 2010 campaign for the office;

• Corporate filings for the Gant Group, a business operated by Gant prior to his election;

• State Department of Revenue records for Pat Powers Dakota Campaign Store, also known as Dakota Campaign Store, and associated sales tax reporting from September 2010 through June 2012;

• And corporation filings for Dakota Campaign Store including its fictitious business name filing of March 21, 2012.

Jackley said the investigation found documentation that demonstrated Powers either openly or publicly associated himself with Dakota Campaign Store prior to the March 21 filing.

Jackley wrote, "Absent further information, said action would appear to be permissible under SDCL 37-11-1 (state law)."