SD GOP Senate hopeful who decried 'hateful' rhetoric charged with violating campaign laws
The South Dakota Attorney General's office filed charges Wednesday accusing defeated U.S. Senate candidate Annette Bosworth of six counts of perjury and six counts of filing false documents related to election campaign laws, Attorney General Marty Jackley said.
"The election complaints received by the Secretary of State involve conduct that is serious, deliberate, and must be addressed in order to preserve the integrity of our elections," Jackley said in a statement. "Because this is a federal elected office, I have and will continue to discuss the investigation with federal authorities."
The arrest warrant was issued a day after Bosworth lost the Republican primary with just 6 percent of the vote. The 42-year-old Bosworth turned herself in to the Minnehaha County Jail and was released.
She scheduled a 3 p.m. news conference to respond to the charges.
Former Gov. Mike Rounds captured the GOP nomination for the seat being vacated by retiring Democrat Tim Johnson with more than 55 percent of the vote.
Jackley in May announced that he would investigate several nominating petitions submitted by U.S. Senate candidates, including that of Bosworth, after a liberal blogger and a conservative state lawmaker raised some concerns about the legitimacy of some petitions.
A complaint was also filed against Clayton Walker, an independent who did not make the November ballot, accusing him of perjury and filing false documents.
Bosworth is accused of attesting to have circulated petitions while her Facebook page indicated she was on a mission trip in the Philippines with her husband.
Bosworth founded the mission-based health care nonprofit Preventive Health Strategies in 2011 and opened a private practice medical clinic in Sioux Falls called Meaningful Medicine.
The political newcomer raised $1.7 million dollars during her campaign but spent most of what she raised on out-of-state fundraising efforts, according to her Federal Election Commission reports. The campaign has been using Base Connect, a direct mail fundraising company that helps conservative candidates, organizations and political action committees.
Her campaign fund was in the red as of her last filing on May 14, reporting $99,000 in cash offset by debts of more than $150,000.
Bosworth has also faced accusations from several former employees, who said she has failed to pay promised wages.
One week before the primary, Bosworth staged an "adults only" press conference to highlight the hateful and hurtful phrases hurled at her by random Internet commenters during the campaign. Bosworth gave volunteers spray paint cans and had them produce a graffiti-laden backdrop of profane words and insults to make her point.
A day later she announced that she was sponsoring a last-minute Senate candidate forum to be posted on YouTube. The forum, which was also attended by two other candidates, was not open to the public.
Bosworth said she learned of her election night loss while doing a live television shot on Fox News Tuesday night with anchor Megyn Kelly.