PIERRE, S.D. — A large donation found in a Mitchell lawmaker’s campaign finance report would have been in violation of state law, but is merely a documentation error his campaign says.
The error can be found on the 2018 campaign finance report of state Rep. Paul Miskimins, R-Mitchell, which shows a donation from Thomas Dice in the amount of $3,000.
According to Rory Menneger, elections and federal project coordinator with the South Dakota Secretary of State’s Office, state law in October 2018 stated that no legislative candidate may accept a contribution that exceeds $1,000 during any calendar year unless the contribution is made by the candidate or the candidate's immediate family.
When asked if the $3,000 from Dice to Miskimins was in violation of state law, Menneger merely cited South Dakota Codified Law 12-27-8.
The seemingly illegal contribution was of surprise to Dice, who first heard of the report noting his generous donation to Miskimins when reached on Thursday, May 21.
Dice said the report shown on the state’s website must be inaccurate.
Miskimin’s campaign treasurer, Richard Platt, said the error had never been brought to his attention before and explained that it happened when he had been updating the campaign finance report document initially sent to the secretary of state’s office.
The document first submitted needed to be tweaked before the state could accept the report, Platt said.
The donation of $3,000 was from Miskimins himself, which is allowable under state law.
Somehow, Platt surmised the information of Dice’s contribution was somehow duplicated into the text boxes.
Dice contributed $150 to Miskimins’ campaign, which is the amount reported directly above the $3,000 donation in the report, but that is attributed to a Mount Vernon man. The report then lists Miskimins' amount and then a $100 donation attributed to Dice.
Platt said the error serves as a reminder to candidates to double check the reports online to ensure their accuracy, as no one from the state had notified him of any potential violation within the report.
Violation of the state law that regulates campaign contribution amounts, as noted in SDCL 12-27-8 is a class two misdemeanor. “A subsequent offense within a calendar year is a Class 1 misdemeanor,” the law states.
Miskimins represents District 20 and is running against four other candidates for three seats in the Republican House primary. Incumbent state Reps. Lance Koth and Paul Miskimins are being challenged by Barry Volk.