Friday, May 16, 2014

South Dakota: Campaign Commutation Controversy

With a Republican primary weeks away, a "negative attack ad" has been released in a U.S. Senate race by Annette Bosworth. The ad takes former Governor Mike Rounds to task for commuting the life sentence of one Joaquin Ramos to 150 years. Ramos killed his girlfriend and an unborn child (see Bosworth's ad here)

“Bosworth’s ad is lie,” responds the Rounds for Senate Campaign which notes 1) Rounds did not actually meet the victim’s family until after the commutation - which was unanimously recommended by the State's Parole Board and 2) After meeting with the family, Rounds wrote the following to the Board: “Based on the additional information that has been shared with me, my recommendation to the Board is parole not be granted to Mr. Ramos.”

But, it is reported, "Bosworth is standing by her ad"
“Mike Rounds is an irresponsible liar. Mike Rounds is the only person responsible for Ramos ever coming up for parole.” 
Which strikes us as a kind of witless - and perhaps indicative - response to very specific, substantive, powerful criticism. Indeed, we say, shame on Ms. Bosworth for misrepresenting the clemency process simply to make cheap political points. Disagreeing with the substance of a clemency decision is fine by us. But misleading voters in order to drag them into an arena where the potential for fabricated controversy is already way too high is a poor excuse for campaigning.

The commutation was unanimously recommended by the Board. That is no small thing. It - reportedly - makes Ramos eligible for parole, from the same Board, at some point in the future. If Bosworth has a problem with the State's process for clemency and parole, so be it. Sound off. Produce the proposals.

Otherwise, a better projection of honesty and integrity in public communications are preferable for voters interested in assessing a candidate's future behavior, in office! See more details on this story here and here

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