Project Vote Smart has issued the following public statement condemning Noem's misuse of its name and service:
Kristi Noem, a candidate for the South Dakota U.S. House seat, has used Project Vote Smart’s name and programs in a negative attack against Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, who is running for the same office. This kind of negative campaign activity is precisely the sort of tactic that Vote Smart attempts to counter with its factual database. By using Vote Smart’s name to give credibility to these attacks, Noem is cheating the public out of their need for trusted, abundant, accurate information.
Project Vote Smart prohibits the use of its name and programs, including the Political Courage Test in partisan political advertising. All candidates in South Dakota have been notified of this policy in writing. Additionally, this policy is posted prominently on the Project Vote Smart website (www.votesmart.org).
This kind of behavior occurs in less that 00.05 percent of all races nationally. It is our policy to condemn this misuse of Project Vote Smart’s name and reputation and to alert the public to any misuse of our name or programs for negative political activities [Project Vote Smart, public statement, 2010.10.18].
Now notice that Project Vote Smart isn't a partisan outfit telling you for whom to vote. Their whole website (including their new VoteEasy app for evaluating where all the candidates stand relative to some of your own positions) is dedicated to helping voters get the facts about all of the candidates, without spin or weasel words. They are liberals and conservatives working together (novel concept!) to give all of us voters an alternative to "the issueless rhetoric and often misleading attacks that define contemporary American politics."
This assessment of the Noem mailer isn't a negative attack from some big-money otuside group. This assessment simply points out a fact: Kristi Noem's guns flyer violates the policy and spirit of Project Vote Smart.