SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Governor Kristi Noem faces two ethics complaints, and the deadline to respond to them is one week away.
Once the Government Accountability Board makes its decision, the complaints could possibly end up back in the hands of the Attorney General.
In February of 2021, some state lawmakers requested the Attorney General investigate whether Governor Noem violated state law by flying a state airplane to events hosted by political organizations.
The other issue before the state Accountability board involves allegations that the governor interfered when the Department of Labor and Regulation originally denied her daughter’s appraiser license application in 2020. The longtime head of the program, Sherry Bren, later told lawmakers she was forced to resign after a meeting at the governor’s mansion involving Bren, Noem, Noem’s daughter and others.
“Once I got there, I was very nervous and quite frankly intimidated as you can imagine,” Bren said last year.
The Attorney General referred both cases to the state accountability board, which was formed in 2017. The board is made up of two former state Supreme Court justices and two former Circuit Court judges.
Under state law, the board is allowed to issue subpoenas, administer oaths and take sworn testimony. If the board finds violations, it can take a wide range of actions from issuing a private reprimand to requesting a criminal investigation by the DCI, which is under the jurisdiction of the Attorney Generals’ office.
The board wanted information from the governor in December, but Noem requested a delay.
It is unclear how deeply the board has investigated the two issues to this point, but it is now waiting for more information from the Governor with a deadline of April 15.
Only three members of the board are looking into the Noem complaints. Former Supreme Court Chief Justice David Gilbertson recused himself because he was appointed to the board by the Governor.