SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The South Dakota Attorney General's office Wednesday charged defeated U.S. Senate candidate Annette Bosworth with 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 served a day after Bosworth lost the Republican primary with just six percent of the vote. Jackley said the 42-year-old Bosworth was given notice of the warrant Wednesday morning and turned herself in to the Minnehaha County Jail.
She was released and 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. A telephone message left at Walker's home was not immediately returned.
State Division of Criminal Investigation agent Bryan Gortmaker said in an arrest affidavit that Bosworth attested to personally gathering signatures in January when she was serving on a publicized medical mission trip in the Philippines. She also attested to gathering signatures on some Hutterite colonies, but residents interviewed said the documents were not signed in front of Bosworth, Gortmaker said.
"The Colony had been contacted by phone by Dr. Bosworth and one nominating petition came to them by mail, asking that the petition be signed and she would take care of the rest," Gortmaker wrote, referring to a petition sent to the Millerdale Colony in Miller.
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.
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