Lawmakers restricting leftover campaign cash

On the Campaign Trail

The South Dakota legislature is eyeing a restriction on left-over campaign cash that is long overdue.

It’s no secret running for office is expensive. The first time I ran for office I didn’t have to ask what to do with leftover campaign donations because I didn’t have any.  I spent more than people donated, meaning I paid for part of the campaign out of my pocket.

But that changed with my second campaign.  I funded everything I needed to and had money left over.  I didn’t know what regulations were in place, so I called the Secretary of State. What I was told surprised me.  In essence, I was told South Dakota has no regulations.  Candidates can do whatever they want with leftover campaign contributions.

This needs to change – and I hope it changes this year.

If a candidate plans to run again, it’s fully appropriate to hold leftover money for the next campaign. But if not, the candidate needs to give the money away to a charity or political group/candidate.  It’s not appropriate to spent the money for personal expenses.

When the campaign is over, the money should be too.




  1. Hank Roso

    March 7, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    What was once a loophole would now provide an opportunity for greater integrity and transparency in today’s political environment. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Paul Tobin

    March 10, 2017 at 9:36 am

    My assumption has been that the campaign monies are a shared expense between the Party the candidate represents and the candidate him or herself.

    “…If a candidate plans to run again, it’s fully appropriate to hold leftover money for the next campaign. But if not, the candidate needs to give the money away to a charity or political group/candidate…” If the candidate chooses not to run again, the money should revert back to a “general campaign fund” from which the next candidate can utilize to secure the seat for which he or she desires to fill through election. The people of that district made a ‘good faith’ donation to secure representation for them in the Legislature. Their money should work to that end.


    • Fred Deutsch

      March 24, 2017 at 2:16 pm

      Paul, any money that’s left over can be used to any expenditure. Since I wrote this article the legislature put restrictions on left-over money. It can no lnger be used for personal expenses.

      • Paul Tobin

        April 29, 2017 at 8:21 am

        As it should be. THank you.

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