Gant’s political action committee, Committed to Victory, received $7,500 from BPro, a Pierre-based technology services firm.
The committee also received $10,000 from an Omaha, Neb., company called Government Systems, Software and Services Inc.
Those payments were made for access to participate in a pheasant-hunting event which Gant hosted for other secretaries of state.
Gant’s PAC appeared to have more than $12,500 left over after covering expenses for the hunt.
BPro president Brandon Campea said he participated after receiving an invitation. He said helping underwrite the event allowed him to interact with the visiting officials.
Campea said he probably would have spent as much or more if he had made individual trips to their states.
“It was a good opportunity for me, businesswise. I’d probably do it again,” Campea said.
BPro provides election technology services to six states -- Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and Vermont -- as well as 10 counties in Minnesota and Sacramento County in California.
Campea took over the company in 2009.
BPro was paid more than $630,000 by South Dakota’s state government for services delivered under various contracts during the 2010 through 2012 budget years.
Much of that activity occurred under contracts with the secretary of state office under Gant or the previous secretary of state, Chris Nelson. Gant took office in January 2011.
Elections Systems and Software, a company with the same Omaha address as GSSS, received nearly $32,000 from state government during 2011 and 2012.
One of the company’s specialties is electronic voting, involving the use of computer-linked voter-registration books that allow for the use of voting centers that replace precinct halls.
The approach has been a priority for Gant since his time as a state senator.
Mike Hoversten, a regional sales manager for the company, lobbied during the 2012 legislative session on a measure Gant sought for expansion of the electronic poll books and voting-centers approach.
Gant’s acceptance of the contributions from the two companies was criticized Monday by Ben Nesselhuf, chairman for the South Dakota Democratic Party.
Nesselhuf lost to Gant in the 2010 election for secretary of state.
“There were only two contributions to his PAC last year, and they were both the companies that have the largest contracts with the secretary of state office,” Nesselhuf said.
Gant hadn’t responded to a request for comment as of the time this story was written.