The Argus Leader is covering yet another governmental reform that IM10 addressed:
When officials at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology wanted more money to support projects on campus, they looked east - to Washington.
Like other public entities here and across the nation, the school decided to hire a lobbyist to look for opportunities in the nation's capital, where billions of taxpayer dollars are up for grabs. Officials concluded a lobbyist could help direct some of that to the Rapid City school.
Late last year, an Idaho-based consultant for the school registered herself as a federal lobbyist.
School of Mines is one of several public entities in South Dakota to hire federal lobbyists Some have retained help for several years, while others are newer players to the game. But critics say it's a troubling sign.
As the nation's financial health is deteriorating, public entities are using taxpayer money to lobby for more taxpayer money.
And we now understand why the National Education Association spend money to defeat IM10:
The lobbyist for the School of Mines, for example, secured $380,000 in federal transportation dollars last fall to improve access to the school and for a business incubator on campus.
"They just have a much better finger on the pulse of where there's funding opportunities," said Julie Smoragiewicz, the school's vice president of university relations. "If it weren't for her, there was no chance we would have received that funding."
Federal records show South Dakota State University hired the Bockorny Group in fall 2007. Since then, those records show the university has paid the firm $160,000.
Bockorny's mission is to be on the lookout for money and policy issues that could affect the university, said Kevin Kephart, SDSUs vice president for research and dean of the graduate school.
It's been a good relationship, Kevin Kephart said. Bockorny helped win federal authorization for the Sun Grant Initiative in the latest farm bill. SDSU is one of five universities involved in the initiative, which is researching bioenergy alternatives. SDSU is scheduled to receive $3.8 million for Sun Grant in the latest federal appropriations bill.
"I think it's been really good," Kevin Kephart said. "They can inform us as they walk the halls of Congress, or with agencies, whenever opportunities or problems could be arising down the road."
The University of South Dakota hired Van Scoyoc Associates in November 2007, federal records show. Since then, USD has paid the firm $120,000. The firm's Web site boasts that it's the "largest independent government affairs firm in Washington."
"Our comprehensive resources, skill and savvy in government relations mean winning strategies and successful solutions for our clients," the site says.
Officials with USD did not respond to interview requests.
The main influence on America’s dramatic increases in government has been the Educrats. And their tactics tend to be stealth as they rely on propaganda to move America to the radical left.
Sam Kephart was included in the coverage:
"As long as the tap is open it's great. What happens when Uncle Sugar runs out of money?" said Sam Kephart, a Spearfish businessman and former candidate for U.S. Senate.
Kephart, who has campaigned in South Dakota for government transparency, worries that the state is too reliant on government money, both with federal funding and its state contracting system with private businesses.
"How long can South Dakota make supplicant behavior a business model?" he asked.
Although state and local budgets across the country are straining from the national economic downturn, they haven't slowed their use of taxpayer money to lobby at the federal level. In fact, the contrary is true, thanks in part to promises of federal stimulus spending.
The Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks political contributions and lobbying, found that states and cities were on track last year to spend $81.5 million on federal lobbying. They spent $76 million in 2007 and $72 million in 2006.
Lobbying by the education industry, which includes public universities and colleges, topped $102 million last year, up $10 million from 2007.
Many of the state's big businesses and associations have employed federal lobbyists for years. Some public entities have followed suit. While some private organizations spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, the fees paid by public entities tend to be smaller.
And remember the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and the National Education Association partnership that stood in opposition to IM10. The Chamber is a GOP political ally, while the NEA is a Democrat political ally. Together, they work to make big government a bipartisan agenda. The only fight is over who controls most of the money. At the National level, currently the Democrats have control. But when the pork enters South Dakota, it is the RINOs of the South Dakota GOP, and not the Democrats, who have control over how the money is spent. It is only true conservatives who oppose big government, and that is why the leadership of the SD GOP only wants conservative votes, not our principles.