Letter Alleges South Dakota Republicans Legislative Misconduct
On Saturday, I became aware of a letter signed by six South Dakota legislators that alleges misconduct by the South Dakota Legislative Research Council (LRC).
For those unfamiliar with the structure of the SD legislative process, SD legislators do not have personal staff to perform research and to draft legislation. The SD Legislature is a citizen legislature, which is to say that they are citizens that have been elected to serve their districts and receive little remuneration for their service. The LRC is shared by all legislators to perform research and actually write legislation in the proper form and language necessary for submission as bills for legislative consideration.
As such, the LRC must be trusted to adhere to strict confidentiality in the research and preparation of bills for individual legislators. Advance knowledge or revelation of specific bills being prepared for a legislator to possible opposition would invite an unfair advantage to the opposition. The opposition will have full knowledge of the bill when it is introduced and our process of proposal, committee and floor debate provides the structure for proper consideration of a bill without prejudice.
Here is the first paragraph of the letter:
“It has been reported to legislators that during the 2011 SD Legislative Session instructions were given, and heeded, instructing LRC staff members to disclose confidential conversations and materials regarding legislation research between legislators and the LRC staff, to members of the House of Representatives leadership.”
The letter above mentioned alleges a serious breach of confidentiality by the LRC and, if true, should be dealt with quickly and decisively to preclude any further reoccurrence or any impropriety or illegality by the LRC. At minimum, a thorough professional investigation should be undertaken to determine the veracity of this allegation and take immediate action to set it aside as inaccurate or take swift and effective action to remove those involved to protect the integrity of our legislative process.
I would strongly urge Governor Daugaard to launch an immediate investigation into this allegation so that a swift determination may be made prior to the beginning of the new legislative session which begins on 1/10/2012.
The fact that six respected legislators (Representatives Lance Russell, Stace Nelson, Lora Hubbel, Betty Olson and Senators Tim Begalka and Ryan Maher) have signed this letter leads me to believe there is fire causing this smoke
The gravity of this allegation cries out for immediate and decisive action.
***Ed Randazzo, is a nationally syndicated author. He has been a conservative activist and consultant for over 30 years and is currently the Chief News Editor of Life and Liberty Media***