Media Keys on Herseth-Sandlin's Lobbyist Ties
For Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin, the timing could be perfect for an attempted revival of her political career. No sooner had U.S. Senator Tim Johnson announced his pending retirement, but a new poll by Public Policy Polling shows 68% of South Dakota Democrats want her to be the nominee, to run for Tim Johnson's U.S. Senate seat.
But with definitive race-favorite status comes increased scrutiny and media attention, and some of that directed at Herseth-Sandlin this week deals with her other job: that of a highly-paid Washington D.C., lobbyist.
"I've been a lawyer, a politician and now possibly, a lobbyist"
The caught-on-tape moment was repeated in a series of political ads in Herseth-Sandlin’s losing 2010 reelection contest against Republican challenger and current Congresswoman, Kristi Noem. This week, an article by the Washington Examiner focuses on Herseth-Sandlin’s lobbying career and a series of anecdotal events that would seem to spell a quid pro quo relationship with some of the most powerful of Herseth-Sandlin’s backers.
In 2006. back when she was Stephanie Herseth, she registered as a lobbyist, and met and married fellow lobbyist, Max Sandlin, setting up what the Examiner calls an ethically awkward arrangement, “especially when Herseth-Sandlin voted for legislation her husband was paid to champion." In 2010, Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin lost reelection to kristi noem, and immediately took a new job that she'd been arranging for even before the election was over, going to work for one of the most highly touted lobbying firms in Washington D.C.
"I've been a lawyer, a politician, and now, possibly, a lobbyist."
In her first month back on the lobbying circuit, Herseth-Sandlin was hired by a trade group representing Dupont, Monsanto and Dow Chemical, all bio-fuels giants. Those hirings came just a year after she sponsored the advanced bio-fuel investment act to expand stimulus grants to include bio-fuel subsidies.
And it's a pattern she's used before. Also in Congress, Herseth-Sandlin secured six earmarks for South Dakota State University totaling $11-million dollars. In 2012, S.D.S.U. hired Herseth-Sandlin as their lobbyist.
Of course, it should be noted, Herseth-Sandlin is not the first to play a similar Washington game.
Former U.S. Senator, Tom Dashcle, now one of the top healthcare lobbyists in the nation’s capital, and purported author of many of the tenets that eventually found their way into The Affordable Care Act, better known as ObamaCare, is married to a lobbyist, too
Combined with U.S. Senator John Thune’s previous employment as chief lobbyist for Dakota Minnesota and Eastern Railroad, the South Dakota pattern of lobbyist-to-legislator and back again has been seen before. The question is, whether voters are ready again to take another spin on “K-Street's” revolving door.