On the eve of Tuesday’s election, news has broken that Vote Yes for Life, the group trying to pass a sweeping abortion ban in South Dakota, may have received an illegal donation of $750,000 — the largest single amount received by either side of the South Dakota abortion ban debate. The disputed money came from Promising Futures, Inc., a company set up by the ban’s author and sponsor, State Representative Roger Hunt, to collect donations for Vote Yes. Promising Futures disclosed the $750,000 donation three days after the October 31 deadline and failed to include the original donor’s name. Both late filing and anonymous donations over $100 violate state law, South Dakota’s Secretary of State told the Argus Leader Saturday.
The Argus Leader has demanded that Hunt reveal the original donor’s name, blasting the representative for “hiding behind what he admits is a sham corporation.” The South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families, the primary organization mobilizing voters against the ban, has called for an expedited investigation by the attorney general and has formally asked Vote Yes for Life to return the money.
“This is yet another example of the continued campaign of dishonesty coming out of the Vote Yes camp,” said Healthy Families Co-Chair Jan Nicolay in an official statement. “They lied about the lack of exceptions for rape and incest victims… for the woman’s health and for fetal anomalies… It’s no surprise that the Vote Yes for Life Campaign would fudge their numbers, too.”
The financing scandal is not the first problem for Vote Yes for Life. This summer, watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint with the IRS over Vote Yes’s alleged use of federal funds to lobby for the ban.