PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Her communications director wouldn’t say Tuesday whether South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem provided more information to a panel of four retired state circuit judges and Supreme Court justices who are looking into two complaints filed against her.
The Republican governor faced an April 15 deadline to respond to the state Government Accountability Board. KELOLAND News asked her spokesman, Ian Fury, whether she did so.
Fury in an email answered, “It would be a violation of state law to comment on your question. See SDCL 3-24-4.”
That specific section of state law says:
“Any person acting in good faith may:
(1) Furnish information to the board relating to suspected, anticipated, or completed violations of a corrupt act relating to any subdivision in § 3-24-3;
(2) File a report with the board; or
(3) File a complaint with the board alleging a violation of any subdivision of § 3-24-3.
The information, reports, or complaints and the investigative records and files of the board are confidential and not a public record according to chapter 1-27 until the board votes in favor of conducting a contested case hearing.”
That section of law appears to refer only to the person making the allegation. It doesn’t appear to specifically address whether the person under scrutiny or that person’s spokesman, can release any information. Nor does it say the person under scrutiny, or that person’s spokesman, can’t answer whether the person has responded to the board.
The Government Accountability Board has scheduled a meeting for the morning of Monday, May 2, at the Minnehaha County administration building.
Retired Chief Justice David Gilbertson has recused himself from the matters, which state Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg forwarded to the board. There has been speculation that the complaints could be a motivation for Noem’s repeated pressure to remove the Republican attorney general from office.
Ravnsborg currently is suspended from duties after the state House of Representatives voted to impeach him last week. The Senate has scheduled an impeachment trial for June 21-22. The South Dakota Republican Party’s statewide convention starts June 23 in Watertown.
The Legislature and then-Gov. Dennis Daugaard established the Government Accountability Board in 2017, after Republican lawmakers and Daugaard had repealed a long list of reforms that voters had passed when they approved IM 22 with 52% support during the November 2016 election.