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The fast and loose facts in J.A.I.L.land

Thanks to the attentive reader who noticed the backers of the South Dakota Judicial Accountability Initiative Law (J.A.I.L.) have modified the version of the initiative on their new website to restore the language I pointed out they omitted from what is actually on file with the Secretary of State.

But the J.A.I.L.ers still like to play fast and loose with the language of the initiative. The version on their website now precedes the restored language with “South Dakota Judicial Accountability – Amendment E. (Equality for all).” That language is not in what they filed (PDF file). Of course, the facts have never stood in the way of J.A.I.L. before so we shouldn’t be surprised its supporters continue to make things up as they go along.

This new language is just part of the spin that started since they brought Bonnie Russell on board and backed away from the national J.A.I.L. organization like it was the avian flu. For example, the Secretary of State could and would not assign a ballot letter to the initiative until the petitions were returned and the signatures verified. As a result, there is no way the J.A.I.L.ers could have known it would be Amendment E when JAILer-in-chief Bill Stegmeier first filed the proposal with the Secretary of State. Yet evidently the same prescience that enabled him to know the ballot letter six months before the signed petitions were filed also allows J.A.I.L. to push the fallacy that the letter assigned stands for “equality.” That spin appeared for the first time last week when the new J.A.I.L. website launched.

What’s really kind of ironic about all this is it wasn’t that long ago J.A.I.L. claimed the entire Legislature violated a state law by adopting a resolution urging voters to reject the measure. That law says it is a crime for any person to “knowingly” print, publish, or deliver to any voter in the state a document containing a ballot measure where the measure “is misstated, erroneously printed, or by which false or misleading information is given to the voters.” Seems the J.A.I.L.ers new website has violated that law twice in less than a week and is in continuing violation.

Let’s just hope Stegmeier and Russell keep it up. Their continuing misrepresentations to the public not only show the true colors behind this effort, it makes this more fun than I could have imagined.


The ordinary employment of artifice is the mark of a petty mind; and it almost always happens that he who uses it to cover himself in one place uncovers himself in another.

Francois Duc de la Rochefoucauld

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1 comment to The fast and loose facts in J.A.I.L.land

  • NL

    Hmm when I was approached about this for a signature they totally misrepresented it from what the bill is. They also didn’t have the bill itself visible at the top. They didn’t offer any brochure, website or other info when I asked them. They just kept telling me it was to assure “judicial accountability” – they purposely didn’t want people to have any more info. Is there any way to get this damn thing yanked since they were misleading people to get them to sign the petition?