FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, February 2, 2017
CONTACT: Sara Rabern (605) 773-3215
PIERRE, S.D. – Under current South Dakota law, it is only a misdemeanor to engage in self dealings of taxpayer money for personal benefit or gain. See SDCL 5-18A-17.4.
“Public officials that illegally take taxpayer money that has been entrusted to them, violate the public trust and should be held responsible and treated as any other criminal thief. This legislation further removes the presumption for probation that limits the sentencing discretion for both the prosecutors and the courts in EB-5 and GEAR UP type financial cases. It also provides whistleblower protections for employees that report any inappropriate self dealings and conflicts of interest. I appreciate how the Senate has improved and strengthened this bill,” said Attorney General Jackley.
SB 27 passed the Senate on a vote of 33 to 0 and 2 excused. It previously passed the Senate Judiciary on a vote of 7 to 0.
A public official who commits a criminal conflict of interest would be guilty of theft as set forth under existing law. Under current theft law, when the value of the theft is $1,000 or less, it’s a misdemeanor. If the value is greater than $1,000, it is a felony that further increases based up on the amount.