PIERRE, S.D. – A campaign finance filing error by Democrat Jamie Smith’s campaign turned in a debacle for his team.
Monday, Smith submitted his campaign finance report to the South Dakota Secretary of State’s office with substantial errors, prompting his Republican opponent Kristi Noem to call for him to be investigated.
According to state law, donors that give over $100 to a campaign must disclose their addresses.
But the report filed by Smith’s team did not have the addresses of any of the individual donors. Further, it mixed in donations from entities, like county parties, with individual donors. Contributions from entities are filed differently than those from individuals.
The error prompted swift backlash from Noem’s campaign, who called for Smith to be investigated.
“If Jamie cannot even follow the most basic requirements of campaign finance law, than how can he be trusted to execute the most basic laws as governor?” asked Ian Fury, Communications Director for the Noem campaign.
Smith called it a clerical error that they were working to correct immediately after it was brought to their attention.
“We had an accounting error, a simple accounting error that has been taken care of already,” Smith explained. “So all the information is there and there is no malfesance whatsoever.”
It is not uncommon for errors to be made when submitting campaign finance reports. It is why state law allows for up to seven days for corrections to be filed before misdemeanor charges could be considered.
Just this election cycle, Noem’s campaign has re-filed reports several different times, with different corrections made.
But Fury points to the size and scope of the mistake, which he says is unprecedented.
Noem’s campaign also has the backing of South Dakota GOP Chair Dan Lederman, who sent a signed affidavit to the Secretary of State’s office calling for the Department of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to investigate Smith.
“I have never seen such a large, wide scale campaign finance mistake ever,” Fury said.
Smith accused the Governor of distracting with the issue, and said she is trying to draw attention away from what is a “tight” race.
“Lets talk about the real issues… But she doesn’t want to do that because she wouldn’t show up to the South Dakota Public Broadcasting (SDPB) debate, she wouldn’t show up to talk to Sioux Falls Rotary, and she doesn’t show up for South Dakotans. It is frustrating, we have two weeks left in this election and it is tight, it is all going to come down to who turns out to vote.
The Secretary of State confirmed receipt of the update campaign finance report Tuesday afternoon. But Noem’s team alleged that there are still holes in the newly filed report.
Copyright 2022 KSFY. All rights reserved.