The South Dakota Democratic Party (SDDP) is closing its last two offices in the state amid a stunning financial collapse.
The party will now have no physical presence in the entire state, and operatives will be forced to work remotely.
“The state party is closing its offices in Sioux Falls and Rapid City at the end of September, and party staff will begin working remotely due to the party’s dwindling finances, according to SDDP Chair Paula Hawks,” the Argus Leader reports.
“The party is also canceling a Black Hills fundraising event scheduled for next month. No layoffs related to the party’s financial situation have taken place, Hawks said.”
The party’s cash supply reportedly dwindled to just $3,181 by the end of July, down from $31,267 at the beginning of the month and a meager $88,127 at the start of the year.
Hawks blamed “extreme mismanagement and lack of oversight” for the party’s lack of funds, distancing herself from shouldering blame for the shocking debacle.
“Chairwoman Hawks is doing her best to try to shift the blame for her party’s finances and misreporting to the Federal Elections Commission, but maybe should have spoken to her own leadership team first,” said South Dakota Republican Party Chair Dan Lederman.
The SDDP was found to have grossly misreported its financials to the Federal Elections Commission, indicating that the party “likely violated fundraising regulations,” according to the Argus Leader.
“The office closure announcement comes on the heels of a draft audit by the Federal Elections Commission revealing the party understated disbursements by $2.5 million, receive impermissible contributions totaling nearly $24,000 and failed to disclose debts and obligations to vendors totaling nearly $47,000 during the 2015-16 election cycle.”
Hawks claims she is dedicated to rejuvenating the SDDP and correcting its trajectory moving forward.
“Our current financial situation is really unfortunate and truly very unexpected to me and to Stacey Burnette, our new executive director,” Hawks said. “We both kind of stumbled into this and discovered some things that we didn’t realize were going on so now we’re cleaning it up.”
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Cornelius Rupert T.
Cornelius Rupert T.