GOP continues to press Herseth Sandlin about her GF&P list request

Just received this from the Blake Curd campaign:

U.S. House Candidate Blake Curd To Hold Press Conference

PIERRE – U.S. House Candidate, doctor and U.S. Air Force veteran Blake Curd will hold a press conference tomorrow at 10:15AM at the State GOP Headquarters in Pierre. Curd will discuss Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin’s recent unsolicited, campaign-style mailers, her office’s attempt to obtain Game, Fish & Parks mailing lists as well as his own plans for fiscal discipline starting within his own office if elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

What: Press Conference with U.S. House Candidate Blake Curd

Where: State GOP Headquarters (110 West Missouri Ave, Pierre, SD)

When: 10:15 AM CST Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Since this story broke last week, I’ve offered Herseth Sandlin’s staff three chances to comment. They’ve declined each time.

6 thoughts on “GOP continues to press Herseth Sandlin about her GF&P list request

  1. I wonder if the SDGOP will create a website call showing Blake Curd’s mansion like it did with Tom Daschle’s home. Remember when the SDGOP claimed Daschle was out of touch with South Dakota partially because of his big home? Curd’s castlesque home is way bigger than Daschle’s. Does that mean he is more out of touch?

  2. Curd’s news release following the press conference:

    Blake Curd Highlights Need for Fiscal Discipline and Transparency In Washington

    PIERRE – U.S. House Candidate, doctor and U.S. Air Force veteran Blake Curd today held a press conference pledging he would not send unsolicited, campaign-style mail pieces to South Dakotans at taxpayer expense if elected to Congress. Curd also took to task Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin’s recent unsolicited mailings and her office’s attempts to obtain Game, Fish & Parks mailing lists at a greatly reduced cost.

    “With budget deficits as far as the eye can see in Washington DC, and as we struggle to get a handle on the budget here in Pierre, we are in desperate need of fiscal discipline. But if fiscal discipline is more than just a talking point then that means elected officials need to walk the walk instead of just talk the talk. That is why, if elected to the US House, I promise the taxpayers of South Dakota I will not send unsolicited campaign-style mail pieces such as this to South Dakota constituents,” said Curd, who is a State Representative from Sioux Falls.

    “Representative Herseth Sandlin has spent $111,230 on such mailers. This is nothing more than a waste of taxpayer dollars. In the age of email, Facebook, Twitter, tele-townhalls and even old fashioned face-to-face townhalls, there are plenty of ways to keep in touch with constituents. As your representative I will use these forms of lower cost communication, and save our tax dollars for much more important things like building roads or connecting our rural clinics via telemedicine,” said Curd.

    “It seems to be standard operating procedure in Washington DC to try and get something for nothing. Rep. Herseth Sandlin attempted to obtain the Game, Fish and Parks mailing list for essentially free. If you or I were to buy the mailing list we would have to pay full price. I hope Rep. Herseth Sandlin will shed some more light on exactly what her office was planning to do with the list and why they attempted to get the list for essentially free,” said Curd.

    Curd concluded by saying, “Ending unsolicited campaign-style mailings in one congressional office obviously won’t solve our deficit problem, it won’t even come close. But I think it’s a step in the right direction – the direction neither party has taken us in recent years. That is why I am going to take it.”

  3. Early Associated Press story on the press conference and Herseth Sandlin’s reaction:

    GOP candidate criticizes Demo Rep. mailing

    PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A Republican state lawmaker running for Congress says he will not mail campaign-style material to South Dakotans at taxpayer expense if he’s elected to the state’s lone seat in the U.S. House.
    Rep. Blake Curd of Sioux Falls criticized Democratic Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin for recent mail on veterans’ issues sent from her office at taxpayer expense. He also questioned why Herseth Sandlin’s congressional office sought to get a list of those who hold state fishing and hunting licenses for free.
    Herseth Sandlin’s office says mailings are used to inform constituents about issues and meetings. A spokeswoman says state Game, Fish and Parks officials suggested the congressional office seek a reduced fee for the list of license holders.

  4. Herseth Sandlin’s spokeswoman, Betsy Hart, sent me some info today that included this on-the-record statement:

    “This is a baseless political attack designed to mislead voters. South Dakotans deserve better from their elected representatives and political candidates than invented controversies based on false information.

    “We asked for access to the list to improve our ability to connect with South Dakotans interested in outdoors issues. At no time did we suggest to anyone that we should get the lists for free. GF&P officials specifically walked us through the process for requesting the lists by paying a fee. The board voted, and denied our request. It’s as simple as that.

    “Communicating with constituents is an important part of representing the state. We reach out to South Dakotans to inform them about issues that affect their everyday lives, to update them on legislation working its way through the House, and to invite them to meetings they might be interested in. It’s especially important on priorities like outdoors issues – critical to our state’s quality of life and our economy.”

  5. News release today from the National Republican Congressional Committee:


    It seems that Stephanie Herseth Sandlin’s “List-Gate” controversy just won’t go away.

    Yesterday, Herseth Sandlin’s Press Secretary Betsy Hart issued a strong denial to published reports, and criticism from one of her opponents, that their office requested free access to the state’s hunting and fishing license holders:

    “But Hart said Herseth Sandlin never requested the list for free.”

    (Chet Brokaw, “U.S. House Race: GOP Candidate Criticizes Dem Mailing,” Associated Press, Jan. 14, 2009))

    “’At no time did we suggest to anyone that we should get the lists for free,’ Hart said”

    (Jonathan Ellis, “Curd knocks Herseth Sandlin over mailer,” Sioux Falls Argus Leader, Jan. 14, 2010)

    However, the minutes of the December 3-4 Game, Fish and Parks Commission meeting tell a different tale, a tale in which Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin’s office, not state officials, made the request for “the fee to be waived:”

    Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin requested the 2009 resident hunting and fishing license holders list for official use only, non-political, to invite license holder to pertinent meetings, and legislative updates and the fee to be waived. Discussion included the one time use, broad purpose, has this been done before, and will it need to be provided to other politicians.

    Motion by McMahon with second by Olson TO TABLE THE REQUEST FROM CONGRESSWOMAN HERSETH SANDLIN. Motion carried unanimously.

    (, “Minutes of the Game, Fish, and Parks Commission,” South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks website, December 3-4, 2009, pages 2-3)

    Team Herseth Sandlin can refute it all they want but there it is, in black and white: her office sought preferential treatment in the form of free access to a list of South Dakota sportsmen.

    As they say, the cover up is always worse than the crime.

    Comment from the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC):

    “The facts here speak for them self: Stephanie Herseth Sandlin is trying to pull a fast one on the people of South Dakota. The only thing worse than Herseth Sandlin trying to use her office to get special perks is her constant attempts to deprive South Dakotans of the truth. Herseth Sandlin needs to realize that Congresswoman or not, the rules apply to her just as they do to everyone else.” — Tom Erickson, NRCC spokesman

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