On Monday (August 22), the South Dakota ethics board revealed it had found sufficient evidence to suggest misconduct in Governor Kristi Noem intervening in her daughter’s application for a real estate appraiser license. The ethics board also referred a separate complaint to South Dakota’s Attorney General regarding Noem’s state airplane use.
In their findings, the three retired judges on the Government Accountability Board recommended that “appropriate action” be taken against Noem in her intervention in her daughter’s appraisal licensure but didn’t elaborate on what the action should be.
This move points to investigations into Noem’s conduct potentially escalating.
The news also comes as Noem mounts a reelection bid for her role as Governor while flirting with the idea of a 2024 Presidential bid.
But South Dakota’s Republican Governor has been under intense scrutiny from the GAB since former state Attorney General Jason Ravnborg filed complaints stemming from media reports about Noem’s alleged unsuitable actions during her time in the Governor’s mansion.
Noem has denied any wrongdoing.
On Monday, the board also unanimously voted, after a one-hour closed-door session, to invoke a procedure that would allow Noem to defend herself publicly against the allegations, which include “malfeasance,” “misconduct,” and “conflicts of interest.”
The board also dismissed allegations made by Ravnborg that Noem misused government funds.
As part of the board’s scope, it can issue a public or private reprimand or order a public official to complete community service but wasn’t clear how it would proceed in Noem’s case.
Lori Wilbur, the board’s chair, added that the complaint regarding allegations of Noem’s misuse of government funds was “partially dismissed and partially closed.”