South Dakota Democratic Party offices closing

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - The South Dakota Democratic Party is closing offices in Rapid City and Sioux Falls, amidst reports of financial problems.

This garage in Downtown Rapid City served as the office for the South Dakota Democratic Party.

According to the Federal Election Commission, the South Dakota Democratic Party started the most recent reporting period in July with $31,267 but ended the month with just $3,181; which is a trend the party has seen during the past year.

Additionally, the SDDP receives at least $10,000 per month from the Democratic National Party, according to FEC reports.

South Dakota Democrat Chair Paula Hawks said that the decreased funds are caused by "extreme mismanagement and lack of oversight."

However, she also added, "We are feeling very optimistic that we will be moving forward with strength and financial stability."

Though there is no longer a physical presence in South Dakota, Pennington County Democrat Chair Karen Hall is not worried for the party's future.

"I have to say that there have been a lot of people saying gloom and doom kinds of things about the Democratic Party because these offices are closed. And, what I would say to you, is that the Democratic Party is living within its means right now, and when they get these issues resolved, things will be fine again," said Hall.

In response to the news about the state Democrats, South Dakota Republican Party Chairman Dan Lederman said, "I'm not sure why these issues come as a shock to the Democratic Party, as current state Democrat treasurer Bill Nibbelink has been in charge of signing the reports on their financial condition as he has since the year 2000."

"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 she should have spoken to her own leadership team first," said Lederman.

The offices in both Sioux Falls and Rapid City will officially close at the end of September.