Meet the Candidates: State Auditor

Three candidates are running to become the South Dakota State Auditor; Republican incumbent Rich Sattgast, Democrat Stephanie Marty, and Libertarian Rene Meyer.
The entrance to the South Dakota State Auditor's office in the State Capitol.
The entrance to the South Dakota State Auditor's office in the State Capitol.(Austin Goss DNN/KOTA)
Published: Nov. 1, 2022 at 6:34 PM MDT
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PIERRE, S.D. - The State Auditor is responsible for maintaining payroll in the state, handling the state’s checkbook, and conducting a “pre-audit” of all expenses.

It is a job that incumbent Rich Sattgast has done for four consecutive years, and it is his second stint doing so.

The Spearfish native served in the Army for 12 years, before becoming the State Auditor in 2003. From there, he would serve eight years, then eight years as the State Treasurer, before returning back to the Auditor’s office in 2019.

But Sattgast says its continuity that is important in a job like this.

“The number one thing is understanding all the ins and outs of all the state agencies,” Sattgast explained. “There are over 26 state agencies, and we have to interact will all of them because we have to handle their payment systems... Plus, understanding the state’s accounting system is a huge benefit for this job.”

He is being challenged this year by two opponents; Democrat Stephanie Marty and Libertarian Rene Meyer.

Meyer did not respond to a request for comment on her Facebook page.

Marty, also a veteran of the Air Force, has worked in the financial sector, and with auditing specifically in the private sector.

Marty says the state constitution is vague around the Auditor’s duties, which could provide for an opportunity to expand the office’s role.

“I think we need to establish those responsibilities in the constitution and honestly pull that audit process back towards the Auditor’s office,” Marty said. “The office should not be subject to the whims of the state legislature, and then we could make it better at finding fraud.”

Sattgast points out that a new accounting system is being implemented in the office, and it’ll take someone with his experience to master it.

“We have already been working with the Governor’s office trying to figure out what direction they are going in, and what they are going to propose to the legislature,” Sattgast said of the new system. “That is my number one goal right there if re-elected, not only to maintain the level of oversight the Auditor has, but to also increase that level of oversight as well.”

“The legislature should not have a role in any of these things with the office,” Marty suggested. “Our responsibility should be to the people rather than to the whims of the legislature, that seems like a pretty important piece in the broader picture.”

Election Day is on November 8th.