More South Dakota lawmakers found to have taken payments from state
An investigations by The Dakota Scout finds at least a half-dozen legislators or legislator-owned businesses listed as vendors in state finance documents
More public officials in South Dakota could be in violation of the same legislative finance rules that have a Black Hills lawmaker in hot water.
A review of state finance records by The Dakota Scout found more than a half dozen legislators as well as at least one member of Gov. Kristi Noem’s cabinet have done business directly with the state or its counties in the last decade — including Sen. Jessica Castleberry, whose business received hundreds of thousands in Covid funds passed through the South Dakota Legislature.
Late last month, Attorney General Marty Jackley demanded Castleberry return the funds in which she voted to appropriate as a state lawmaker, citing a recent South Dakota Supreme Court opinion that makes clear legislators can’t accept funds from — or enter into contracts with – the state.
That 2020 ruling he referenced leaned heavily on a provision in the South Dakota Constitution that specifically bars state lawmakers from having a contract with the state or counties during their terms in office, as well as one year after they leave office.
That hasn’t stopped some lawmakers, their spouses or their businesses from accepting payments from the state while in office and, in some cases, working directly for county and state governments.
The dollar amounts vary widely – from the $600,000 Castleberry’s daycare business received to a few hundred dollars paid out to lawmakers involved in state-sanctioned wildlife and habitat management programs.