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Lawsuit challenges South Dakota's new ban on out-of-state political spending


By Carrie Bradon | May 6, 2019


PIERRE, S.D. (Legal Newsline) - Journalism, business and free speech groups are suing the South Dakota attorney general and secretary of state, alleging that their free speech was violated.

South Dakota Newspaper Association, South Dakota Retailers Association, South Dakota Broadcasters Association, South Dakota Chamber Ballot Action Committee, Thomas Barnett Jr., and Americans for Prosperity filed a complaint on April 17 in the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota against Steve Barnett and Jason Ravnsborg alleging violation of constitutional rights, 

Barnett resides out of state in Florida and is seeking to make contributions to the South Dakota plaintiffs to further their political interest on South Dakota ballot questions. A ban, however, was in place that prevents the plaintiffs from engaging in the activity that they desire, which is a violation of free speech and political association rights.

The ban was enacted through Initiated Measure 24 in the 2018 election. It prohibits out-of-state political spending on statewide political ballot measures.

The plaintiff is seeking injunctive relief, attorneys' fees and court costs and other relief deemed fit. The plaintiff is represented by Marty J. Jackley, David E. Lust and Sara Frankenstein in Gunderson, Palmer, Nelson, Ashmore LLP in Pierre.

United States District Court for the District of South Dakota Case number 3:19-CV-03010

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Organizations in this Story

South Dakota Office of the Attorney GeneralSouth Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry

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