by Steven Ertelt
December 11, 2006
Pierre, SD (LifeNews.com) — A South Dakota lawmaker is under fire for the donations he made from a business he set up to the campaign of the group that promoted the abortion ban during last November’s elections. State Rep. Roger Hunt set up a company through which an anonymous donor gave the organization $750,000.
During the campaign, Hunt set up a corporation called Promising Future Inc., which made three donations of $250,000 to Vote Yes for Life, the pro-life group promoting the abortion ban.
Hunt has said the money for the donations came from an anonymous donor who he has not identified. He says the donor is worried about possible backlash given the inordinate amount of vandalism that occurred when abortion advocates trashed hundreds of signs from the pro-life campaign.
Attorney General Larry Long said on Monday that Hunt violated state campaign finance laws by not disclosing information about the donor and that he is looking into the matter further.
Long told the Argus Leader that he’s weighing his options but would not say what he would do next about the donation.
"That disagreement is going to have to be resolved," Long told the Sioux Falls newspaper.
According to an AP report, Long could work with Hunt to resolve the matter, file charges against him for violating the campaign finance law, or turn the matter over the courts to settle.
If convicted, Hunt could face 30 days in jail and a $200 fine.
Hunt told the Associated Press he hasn’t broken any laws and plans not to turn over information about the donor.
State voters rejected the abortion ban, which would prohibit all abortions except those necessary to save the life of the mother, on a 56-44 percentage margin. Polls showed that state voters oppose abortion but also wanted rape and incest exceptions added to the ban.
Hunt, who sponsored the ban in the state legislature, has already said he may come back in the next legislative session and craft a new ban containing those exceptions as well.
Though pro-life groups don’t support abortion for those cases, they may rally around such an abortion ban because more than 98 percent of all abortions in the state would still be prohibited.
Either way, Leslee Unruh, leader of the Vote Yes for Life group that promoted the abortion ban, doesn’t plan to give up.