Why is W Wrong?
- Amendment W creates an entirely new Article of the South Dakota Constitution and declares that the new article is superior to all others sections of the constitution and all other provisions of law.
- The Amendment bluntly states that “if there are any conflicts with any other provisions of the constitution and the new article, this article shall control”. Amendment W gives the new article control over the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the constitution. To further secure this power the amendment uses the phrase “notwithstanding any other provision of the constitution” 4 times including a specific reference to Article II – which states “The powers of the government of the state are divided into three distinct departments, the legislative, executive and judicial; and the powers and duties of each are prescribed by this Constitution.”
- Amendment W creates an inquisition style board called “The State Government Accountability Board” and gives it unprecedented powers including taking anonymous complaints about campaign violations and a long list of other powers including (but not limited to):
- (l) Investigate any allegation of bribery, theft, or embezzlement of public funds, or any violation of this Article, ethics rule, or state law related to government ethics, campaign finance, lobbying, government contracts, or corruption by any elected or appointed official, judge, or employee of any state or local government and to issue subpoenas related to the investigation;
- This inquisitional board will have authority over all “non-federal elected officials” starting with the Governor and ending with members of road districts and irrigation districts and political precinct chairmen and chairwomen. The reach of the new board includes every public employee working for state, county and local governments including townships.
- The members of the Board are required to disclose the conflicts of interest and are expected to recuse themselves from participating in any investigation that deals with those conflicts unless “the board member's vote is necessary to resolve the matter”. . . meaning that a member of the board with a conflict of interest will only vote when it matters most.
- The Amendment uses the constitution to appropriate and annual budget for the new board of $389,000 (increasing with inflation) which is in direct conflict with the other provisions of the Constitution that require that appropriations be in the annual budget or a separate spending bill and passed with a 2/3rds majority of both the Senate and House of Representatives. The new Board is also empowered to intervene in any civil lawsuit. “The board may intervene as a matter of right in any civil action involving any government entity, agency, or instrumentality alleged to be in violation of any mandate or prohibition under this Article and to and in any civil action relating to the board's powers or the sufficiency of resources provided for the board's implementation and Operation.”
Who Backs W?
Promoters of Amendment W claim to be a South Dakota group calling themselves “Represent South Dakota.” Financial reports from 2017 and from this year’s pre-primary report prove that the effort has been 100% funded from a Massachusetts’ organization known as “Represent US.
For calendar year 2017 the Amendment W campaign reported to have raised $369,588; and spent $362,348; – leaving a balance of $7,240
2017 notable contributions were:
- Represent US – Florence MA - $121,000
- End Citizens United Non-Federal - $15,000 (in-kind)
- Donated by Represent US - $47,238
Plus a supplemental report that is 191 pages of individual contributions –– many multiple $1; $3; $5 listings - total $233,588 and not one from SD. The last 8 donations were responsible for 50% of the total. This report sets the stage of a deceptive claim that there are thousands of supporters of Amendment W who gave small contributions.
Right before the primary election the Amend W campaign reported they had raised and additional $26,681; spent $33,084 – with a new Balance of $837.40.
These facts along with further analysis have brought the W is Wrong Coalition to the conclusion that that Amendment W – is completely - Wrong for South Dakota and should be defeated in November.