Governor Kristi Noem may have ‘mistaken’, says ethics committee

SIOUX FALLS, SD (AP) — A South Dakota ethics committee said Monday it had found enough information that Gov. Kristi Noem may have “mistaken” when she intervened in the request. of his daughter for a real estate appraiser’s license, and he referred an investigation into her use of the state plane to the state attorney general.

The three retired Government Accountability Board judges determined that “appropriate action” could be taken against Noem for his role in securing his daughter’s appraiser license, although they did not specify the action.

The decisions of the board of directors potentially worsen the ramifications of the investigations into Noem. The Republican governor faces re-election this year and has also positioned herself as a White House contender in 2024. She is under scrutiny from the board after Jason Ravnsborg, the former Republican state attorney general , filed complaints stemming from media reports of Noem’s actions. in the office. She denied any wrongdoing.

After meeting behind closed doors for an hour on Monday, the board voted unanimously to invoke procedures calling for a disputed case hearing that would give Noem, who has denied wrongdoing, a chance to publicly defend against allegations related to “conflicts of interest” or “embezzlement”. The board also dismissed Ravnsborg’s claims that Noem misused public funds in the episode.

However, the retired judges did not specify how they will proceed. Lori Wilbur, the chair of the board, said the complaint was “partially dismissed and partially closed”, but added that the complaint could be reopened. She declined to discuss what would cause the council to reopen the complaint.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem speaks in Orlando, Florida on February 25, 2022.

The retired judges also referred a complaint that Noem flew in state-owned aircraft for political events to the state attorney general’s office for further investigation. This puts the investigation under the watch of the acting attorney general, Mark Vargo, who was appointed by Noem.

The council handled the complaints only by file number and did not refer directly to Noem in either case. Ravnsborg provided the case numbers to The Associated Press.

“Knowing what I know as a plaintiff, Governor Noem should be fully investigated for her abuse of power by obtaining her daughter’s license as an appraiser, and Governor Noem should be prosecuted for her use. criminal use of state resources for personal gain,” he said. in a report.

Noem and Ravnsborg have become political enemies since he fatally hit a pedestrian in 2020. Noem lobbied for his removal from office, and the state senate sentenced him for impeachment and dismissed him as Attorney General. He had continued to file a complaint as a private citizen.

Noem did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.


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