This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: A majority of House members — 36 — is needed for impeachment.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — One member of South Dakota’s House of Representatives will not be voting during next week’s impeachment vote.
Scott Odenbach (R-Spearfish) announced Wednesday he’ll be recusing himself from the vote. In a letter to Speaker of the House Spencer Gosch (R-Glenham), Odenbach said “to avoid even the appearance of impropriety I am writing to let you know that I will be recusing myself from the House vote and will not be attending the proceedings in Pierre on April 12th, 2022.”
The House will return to the state Capitol April 12 to decide whether to impeach South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg for his actions regarding the death of Joe Boever in September 2020. The House Select Committee on Investigation voted 6-2 not to recommend impeachment.
Odenbach’s interactions with Ravnsborg after the crash were made public in investigation materials that were released after the committee finished its work. A report by the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation special agent Joe Arenz states Odenbach went to law school with Ravnsborg and the two knew each other for a long time.
Arenz contacted Odenbach on the phone in December 2020 to see if Odenbach had helped write part of Ravnsborg’s news release. Odenbach said he spoke to Ravnsborg in the capacity of his attorney.
“I did give him some counsel on the best way forward on that,” Odenbach said.
Odenbach told Arenz Ravnsborg’s criminal attorney would be the lead on the investigation.
Odenbach told Arenz he would characterize Ravnsborg in two words “boy scout.”
Odenbach was one of the five lawmakers named on billboard advertisements regarding impeachment even though he wasn’t a member of the investigation committee.
Even with Odenbach not attending the special session, a majority of all House members (36 votes) is needed for impeachment.