PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota lawmakers spent $368,399.40 on impeaching the state attorney general and removing him from office.
That’s according to a report delivered today to the Legislature’s Executive Board.
The House of Representatives spent $276,948.17 in its pursuit of Jason Ravnsborg. That included $132,611.35 for outside legal services.
The Senate spent $91,451.23, including $3,271.18 for legal services, as well as $3,863.50 for court reporter services.
It marked the first time that the Legislature used the impeachment power in the South Dakota Constitution against an elected state official.
A car that Ravnsborg was driving struck and killed a pedestrian, Joe Boever, at the west edge of Highmore on the night of September 12, 2020. He was impeached by the House on April 12, 2022, on a 36-31 vote. He was suspended from all official duties.
The Senate on June 21 voted 24-9 to convict Ravnsborg on one impeachment count and 31-2 on the second count to sustain both articles, followed by a 33-0 vote to bar him from any future state office. Pennington County State’s Attorney Mark Vargo and Clay County State’s Attorney Alexis Tracy prosecuted him.
Ravnborg’s annual salary at the time was $128,736.49.
The denouement came quickly.
Ravnsborg’s director of criminal investigation, David Natvig, challenged former Attorney General Marty Jackley for the Republican nomination for AG and nearly won that Saturday. Governor Kristi Noem appointed Vargo the following Tuesday to replace Ravnsborg. Vargo then fired Natvig and Ravnsborg’s chief of staff, Tim Bormann.
Natvig now is one of five candidates for a judgeship vacancy that opened in the state’s Fourth Circuit.