FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 31, 2018
PRESS RELEASE: Ravnsborg continues to court out-of-state donors
FORT PIERRE, SD – In the days since Pre-General election campaign finance disclosures were filed with the Secretary of State on October 22, Jason Ravnsborg has hauled in tens of thousands of dollars from out-of-state political groups. With a total of $100,000 donated by the D.C. based Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) and more than $50,000 from other outside groups, Ravnsborg’s campaign is now almost 70 percent funded by out-of-state dollars. By contrast, more than 95 percent of Randy Seiler’s contributions have come from within South Dakota.
Ravnsborg’s reliance on out-of-state special interest dollars could raise ethics concerns if he is able to spend his way to victory next Tuesday. Last June, a CBS investigation revealed that groups like RAGA often host lavish retreats where large corporations and interest groups are granted one-on-one access to state attorneys general. The report found that many of RAGA’s donations come from companies with matters currently under consideration by state attorneys general. While there are no reports of Ravnsborg attending such a retreat, his willingness to accept large donations from outside groups like RAGA raises questions about who he intends to represent if elected next Tuesday.
Seiler, who has accepted no money from the Democratic Attorneys General Association and is almost entirely funded by in-state donors commented on his opponent’s fundraising strategy: “South Dakotans needs an Attorney General who will represent them and no one else. Our state’s top law enforcement official must be committed to keeping us safe and not be focused on pleasing national political groups. The campaign finance disclosures issued in this race draw a clear distinction between the two candidates: one is an experienced prosecutor with support from everyday, hardworking people in this state, and the other is a lawyer with no criminal jury trial experience attempting to use outside dollars to spend his way around his limited resume. South Dakotans will make the right choice next Tuesday.”
Randy Seiler’s clear momentum in the race is likely a motivating factor behind RAGA’s decision to pour money into the state. In the past several weeks, Seiler has been endorsed by the Argus Leader Editorial Board, the Rapid City Journal, two Republican former South Dakota Attorneys General, and 20 past presidents of the South Dakota State Bar. He has campaigned on the need for a more transparent, ethical, and trustworthy state government. Seiler has committed to tackling the state’s drug epidemic through expanded community-based treatment and protecting victims of violent crime by holding offenders accountable. Randy Seiler, a former U.S. Attorney for South Dakota, has been lead counsel on over 600 Federal felony cases and 75 jury trials, while Ravnsborg is a volunteer deputy state’s attorney who has never prosecuted a criminal case before a jury.