One of the fiercest legislative races going on right now is the Kathy Miles-Angie Buhl race in District 15.
Between them the candidates have raised more than $45,000 for the election battle, plus more money from outside groups.
Where’s that money coming from? Are Democratic postcards accurate to refer to “Republicans backing Kathy Miles”? To the campaign finance reports!
I put Mile’s donations into a spreadsheet for easy viewing. (Side note: the “Export to CSV” function on Secretary of State Jason Gant’s website is so terrible as to be almost useless. It generates a spreadsheet file, alright, but one that’s oriented horizontally and stretches several hundred columns.) You can view that here.
A lot of that is from corporate and trade association political action committees. But there is $250 from state Sen. Dan Lederman’s Rushmore PAC, $500 from Sen. Russell Olson’s campaign, $1,000 from former state Sen. Lee Schoenbeck’s wife Donna, $500 from state Sen. Corey Brown, $250 from state Sen. Ryan Maher, $200 from former Lt. Gov. Steve Kirby and $110 from state House candidate Don Haggar. All are Republicans. (There’s also other donations from names I don’t recognize.)
What about the Sioux Falls Works PAC that’s been funding the attacks on Buhl?
Here’s its campaign finance report. It’s got a $600 donation from the Rushmore PAC, a $1,700 donation from the PAC chairman T.J. Nelson and $670 in small-money, unitemized donations.
Coincidentally or not, in my examination of the South Dakota Republican Party’s federal campaign finance report, I noticed they paid one T.J. Nelson $1,700 for “candidate research for state offices,” the exact same amount Nelson later donated to his anti-Buhl PAC.
So is Miles being backed by Republicans? She’s got plenty of support from nonpartisan sources, but she also does have plenty of support from prominent Republicans.
Now, Buhl. Click here to view the following in spreadsheet format.
According to her campaign finance report, she has $2,850 in unitemized donations. Three individuals gave her enough money to be itemized: Jon Hoadley of Kalamazoo, Michigan; Tim Gill of Denver; and William Smith of Washington, D.C.
Hoadley is the former director of the pro-gay-rights Stonewall Democrats. Gill founded software giant Quark and has since spent his millions lobbying to support gay rights around the country. I don’t know who Smith is.
From PACs, Buhl has received some corporate contributions (Altria, AT&T), got $8,000 from the DakotaWomen PAC (mission: “to support feminist candidates and causes in South Dakota”), $2,000 from Equality South Dakota (“to further the interests of LGBT individuals and groups within South Dakota”), $2,200 from the South Dakota Education Association PAC, $1,000 from the local Minnehaha Democratic Forum and $1,000 from the pro-abortion rights federal PAC EMILY’s List.
Buhl also got $16,308.53 from ActBlue South Dakota, which is an online tool designed to help raise money online for Democratic candidates. How does it work? From a CBS News report:
the cost of processing… micro-donations is often prohibitive for smaller-scale campaigns, given the high processing fees for credit card payments. ActBlue gets around this obstacle by bundling small donations made through the site and writing one check to the campaign. People can donate to virtually any Democratic candidate, no matter if they’re running for president, Senate, House, or governor or state legislature in one of the 25 states without state restrictions on campaign finance.
Here’s ActBlue South Dakota’s campaign finance page, where you can see all the donors to the group and all the donations it’s made. Unfortunately, you can’t see which donors were giving to which candidates. (You’ll need to click through to the reports; the summary page hasn’t been updated since the pre-primary report.)
How does this all add up? Buhl’s raised $35,583.10. Miles has raised $10,280.