So what’s Rushmore PAC? — Updated

It’s intriguing when someone hand-delivers the organization documents for a new political action committee to the offices of the Federal Elections Commission. That’s what happened on May 13, when the paperwork was turned in for something called Rushmore PAC. The treasurer is Rena Ballard, the street address is Suite 2111 at 3700 S. Westport at Sioux Falls, and the deposit bank is Liberty National Bank in Dakota Dunes. The PAC’s mid-year report shows $20, 250 was raised between Jan. 1 and June 30, and $4,581 was disbursed, with $481 for operating expenses and $4,000 being distributed to candidates.

Who gave money to it? Stan Adelstein of Rapid City made two contributions totaling $2,500. Les Pederson of Dakota Dunes donated $2,500. But otherwise a lot of the money came from outside South Dakota. For instance Cheryl Burns of Cortland, Ohio, gave $5,000. Jarrod Koch of El Segundo, California, put in $1,000. Joe Krage of Sioux City, Iowa, contributed $1,000. The majority of contributors show addresses from other than South Dakota.

Who’s getting money from the PAC? Florida U.S. Senate candidate Adam Hasner, Florida U.S. Rep. Allen West, Ohio state treasurer Josh Mandel, Minnesota U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack, Minnesota U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen, Colorado U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, South Dakota U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem and Arizona U.S. Rep. David Schweikert each received $500. All are Republicans.

UPDATE: After this post, state Sen. Dan Lederman, R-Dakota Dunes, stepped forward and issued a news release announcing he had formed the PAC. He describes Rushmore PAC as “devoted to supporting candidates who adhere to the conservative ideals of: Peace Through Strength, a Balanced Budget Amendment and Energy Independence.” He said Doug Gold is the PAC’s executive director.

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About Bob Mercer

I am a newspaper reporter in Pierre where I cover state government, issues and politics for the Aberdeen American News, the Black Hills Pioneer, the Mitchell Daily Republic, the Pierre Capital Journal, the Rapid City Journal, the Watertown Public Opinion and the Yankton Press & Dakotan. I began covering the Legislature in 1985 and have lived in Pierre since December 1986. I grew up in Wisconsin, worked my way through college, took my first full-time newspapers jobs in Wyoming, and have lived in South Dakota since the summer of 1984 when I moved to Aberdeen to join the American News. I worked for the Rapid City Journal as its state government reporter in Pierre from late 1992 through late 1998. I spent four years as press secretary and a senior aide to Gov. Bill Janklow during his fourth and final term from late 1998 through 2002. I returned to journalism in January 2003 as a self-employed reporter, providing state government coverage to the Mitchell, Watertown, Spearfish, Pierre and, depending on the year, Aberdeen newspapers. In 2008, the Aberdeen American News offered to hire me as full-time member of the AAN staff, with my reports continuing to be available to the Mitchell, Watertown, Spearfish, Pierre, Yankton and Rapid City papers. The new arrangement has been in effect since January 2009 as the seven papers continue their remarkable dedication to their readers and the general public, as the only South Dakota news outlets with a full-time reporter covering state government in Pierre throughout the year. In addition to focusing on the Legislature during the annual winter session and its various activities during the interim periods between sessions, I spend many days throughout the year -- traveling as often necessary -- to cover state government boards and commissions which oversee the state universities, technical institutes, outdoors, water, environment, business, public schools, banking, agriculture, utilities, health care and various other areas of public interest. I purposely don't register to vote because of my profession; the last time I recall voting in a presidential election was the first time, 1976, when I had just turned 18. I think I voted for Jimmy Carter over Gerald Ford. Make of that what you want, just don't make much of it.

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