Kristi Noem ramps up pressure to impeach South Dakota GOP official involved in pedestrian death

Gov. Kristi Noem this week intensified strain on the South Dakota Legislature to question a fellow Republican — state Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg — over his dealing with of a 2020 automotive crash that killed a pedestrian.

“Jason Ravnsborg killed a man, lied to investigators about the events of that night, and attempted to cover it up,” Noem wrote in a press release on Twitter Monday evening, including that the household of sufferer Joseph Boever “deserves justice.”

Her remarks got here on the heels of a GOP-controlled House committee voting alongside celebration traces to subject a 22-page report that discovered Ravnsborg’s actions didn’t warrant impeachment, citing the the state structure which declares most state officers “liable to impeachment for drunkenness, crimes, corrupt conduct, or malfeasance or misdemeanor in office.”

Noem, who is taken into account a possible 2024 presidential candidate, disagreed with that discovering and urged the House to question Ravnsborg when it convenes in April.

“The question before this committee was, should the Attorney General should continue to be the top law enforcement officer in the state of South Dakota. It is clear that he should not be. My hope is that the House of Representatives as a whole will do the right thing,” she tweeted.

The House might nonetheless transfer ahead with impeachment proceedings, regardless of the panel’s vote this week.

The sharp phrases from Noem mark an escalation in what’s change into a really public struggle between GOP officers and lawmakers following the deadly crash on a rural South Dakota freeway in September 2020.

Ravnsborg pleaded no contest to the visitors misdemeanors linked to the incident that killed Boever, which the legal professional normal first reported as a collision with an animal. He mentioned he didn’t notice he had hit an individual till the next day when he discovered Boever’s physique.

Prosecutors mentioned they have been unable to substantiate Ravnsborg’s declare that he didn’t notice he had hit a person together with his automotive till a day after the incident. Ravnsborg, who has maintained that he ought to stay in workplace, confronted fines however evaded jail time.

Noem beforehand pressed the state Legislature to launch an impeachment inquiry into Ravnsborg after he vowed he wouldn’t resign.

“I have seen the entire investigative file, and the public deserves to see it so that they can learn the truth of what happened. The House has the sole constitutional power of impeachment, and they have the responsibility to see this process through in a timely manner,” she said in a January statement.

Noem’s pressure campaign has coincided with Ravnsborg advancing two ethics complaints against her to the state’s Government Accountability Board, with an April deadline for the governor to respond.

She came under fire in September after her daughter received unusual treatment to obtain a real estate license after falling short of federal requirements, according to an Associated Press report.

Ravnsborg at the time signaled that he would be reviewing the claims. “I am actively reviewing their concerns and I will be following the steps prescribed in codified law in relation to those questions,” he mentioned in a press release.

NBC News has reached out to both Noem and Ravnsborg for comment.

Noem renewed her impeachment attacks on Ravnsborg this month by firing off questions on Twitter about why he had a closed-door hearing with members of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Appropriations.

“REMINDER: the House continues to be in the course of impeachment proceedings,” she wrote. “They don’t have time to conclude their impeachment process, but they have time for secret closed-door meetings to give Ravnsborg $1.5 million with no accountability?”

The governor went a step further on Monday when she accused the South Dakota House of attempting to cover for Ravnsborg after the investigating committee decided against recommending impeachment, delivering a major blow to Noem, Boever’s family and others who had rallied in favor of removing the attorney general from office.

State Rep. Jamie Smith, one of two Democrats who voted for Ravnsborg’s impeachment, said he was “upset” by the committee’s findings. “I voted to proceed with impeachment,” he wrote on Twitter. “The AG lied.”

The panel also rebuked Noem, accusing her of “making an attempt to strain” House lawmakers. “Governor Noem has continued to improperly affect the impeachment course of,” they wrote.

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