- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 7, 2014

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Another former employee of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Annette Bosworth is accusing the Sioux Falls physician of not paying fully for past work, adding to the allegations that have plagued Bosworth’s campaign and prompted the state attorney general to investigate.

Leann Batiz, who worked as a certified nurse practitioner at Bosworth’s Sioux Falls clinic, said she moved from Pierre to Sioux Falls last June to take a job at the clinic as a certified nurse practitioner with a promised annual salary of $80,000.

“After a few weeks of receiving $10 less an hour than I was paid as an RN, I started to have to beg for my paycheck every two weeks and she always ‘negotiated’ a lesser amount than I was owed,” Batiz wrote in a letter to state Rep. Steve Hickey, a Sioux Falls pastor, who asked South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley to look into the accusations from her and other employees. Batiz declined to comment beyond the letter, which was provided to The Associated Press by Hickey.

Jackley on Tuesday announced he would investigate several nominating petitions submitted by U.S. Senate candidates, including that of Bosworth. She is one of five Republicans seeking the GOP nomination in the June 3 primary for the seat being vacated by retiring Democratic U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson.

Bosworth told The Associated Press she received calls from two supporters Wednesday saying they were interviewed by Department of Criminal Investigation officers asking questions about their signatures.

“The intimidation this is causing is real,” she said.

Bosworth said she could not comment on Batiz’s allegation.

Batiz is the latest of several former employees who accused Bosworth of shortchanging them on compensation.

Ethan Crisp, who worked as a staffer for Bosworth’s campaign from September through January, said he is owed $2,000 in back wages for his work, a debt reflected in Bosworth’s quarterly campaign report to the Federal Election Commission.

Bosworth said Crisp’s claim is being contested.

Two former employees of Bosworth’s Christian mission-based health care nonprofit Preventive Health Strategies - executive director Mathia Rall and project manager Tonya Montgomery - sued Bosworth in late 2012 for thousands of dollars in back wages, according to court records. Bosworth and chief financial officer Peggy Craig, the candidate’s sister, responded by accusing Rall and Montgomery in sworn affidavits of stealing office records related to raffles benefiting the clinic.

The suit is pending, and Bosworth said Wednesday she wouldn’t comment beyond the affidavit.

A fifth former Bosworth employee, Dave Baumeister, the former communications coordinator of Preventive Health Strategies, said he was paid everything he was owed. But Baumeister said he left the nonprofit in July 2013 out of concerns that employees were expected to perform work for her campaign. U.S. tax code prohibits nonprofit organizations from participating in political campaigns either for or against a candidate.

Bosworth, 42, 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.

Bosworth reported income of less than $18,000 from three contracts for the two years 2012 and 2013, and she reported no income for her husband, Chad Haber, in a filing with the Senate Ethics Committee. Rules require candidates to report any candidate or spousal income of more than $1,000. She also listed a debt of a business line of credit of between $500,000 and $1 million, according to the filing.

She has said most of those financial problems stemmed from a drawn-out battle with the South Dakota Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners, which had reprimanded her in 2012 for employing a physician assistant who was not licensed. Bosworth has said that she stood up to the board and paid a price.

Her campaign also has fallen into debt even though Bosworth raised $772,000 in the first three months of 2014, more than front-runner former Gov. Mike Rounds and the other candidates. But she spent $674,000, mostly on direct mail fundraising, according to her latest Federal Election Commission report. The campaign has been using Base Connect, a direct mail fundraising company that helps conservative candidates, organizations and political action committees.

Her campaign ended the quarter about $193,000 in the red.

Bosworth said campaign funds are meant to be spent, not accumulated.

“If we have 1 cent left on Election Day, we messed up,” she said. “These supporters don’t give me their money for me to store away and use it as a future trust fund.”

Most of the contributions came from unlisted donors giving less than $200 each, and more than 98 percent of the itemized contributions were from out-of-state donors.

Bosworth said the FEC report doesn’t show “thousands of donors” from South Dakota who gave small amounts to the campaign.

“The most contribution I’ve ever given to a campaign is 50 dollars, and those are the people who are attracted to the story, the people who can afford to give 10 and 20 dollars,” she said. “And they don’t show up on that report.”

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Follow Dirk Lammers on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ddlammers .

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