South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem hit by ethics board over her daughter’s real estate license strand

Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem may have ‘mistaken’ when she stepped in to help her daughter obtain a real estate appraiser’s license, a state ethics committee said Monday. – although it is not immediately clear what action, if any, would be taken against the convinced conservative.

The Government Accountability Board also referred a separate complaint about Noem’s use of a state aircraft to the acting attorney general of South Dakota for investigation.

The council’s action stems from two complaints filed last year by former state attorney general Jason Ravnsborg – who was impeached and removed from office after fatally hitting a pedestrian while driving in 2020.

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

Complaints against South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem have been filed after suspicions were raised that she helped her daughter obtain a real estate appraiser’s license.
AP/John Raoux

The Associated Press reported last year that Noem called a meeting with his daughter, the Secretary of Labor and then director of the state’s 2020 Appraiser Certification Program after the agency decided to refuse Noem’s daughter’s license application. At this meeting, a plan was discussed to give the governor’s daughter, Kassidy Peters, another chance to show that she could meet federal standards in her job.

Noem’s office said the plan was already in the works before the meeting, but agency director Sherry Bren told a legislative committee last year that she felt “intimidated” during the meeting. the meeting at the Governor’s Mansion where Peters’ unsuccessful candidacy was discussed in detail. A Republican-controlled panel that probed the episode concluded that Peters received special treatment.

Peters finally achieved certification four months later, in November 2020.

After meeting for an hour in a closed session on Monday, the four board members voted unanimously to proceed with a contested hearing that would allow Noem to publicly defend himself in the valuation controversy. — but dismissed Ravnsborg’s claims that Noem misused public funds in the episode.

Lori Wilbur, the chair of the board, said the complaint was “partially dismissed and partially closed”, but added that the complaint could be reopened.

In this September 28, 2016 file photo, Pennington County State's Attorney Mark Vargo speaks out against Marsy's Law in Sioux Falls, SD
The board referred that complaint to the state attorney general’s office, which is headed on an interim basis by Noem-appointed Mark Vargo.
AP/James North

Ravnsborg’s other complaint came after online news site Raw Story discovered that Noem in 2019 had used a state plane to travel to events organized by political organizations such as the National Rifle Association. and the Republican Jewish Coalition, although South Dakota law prohibits state aircraft from being used for anything other than state business.

Noem said she travels to the events as the South Dakota ambassador.

The board referred that complaint to the state attorney general’s office, which is headed on an interim basis by Noem-appointed Mark Vargo.

Noem has been mooted as part of a potential Republican ticket in 2024 and he is expected to easily win re-election as governor in November.

The governor’s office did not immediately respond to the Post’s request for comment.

With post wires

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