Government Accountability Board refers a Gov. Noem related complaint to SD Attorney General

The Government Accountability Board (GAB) referred one Noem related complaint to the South Dakota Attorney General’s office for further investigation, and voted to potentially take action on another complaint.
FILE - South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 25, 2022.
FILE - South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 25, 2022.(AP Photo/John Raoux, File)
Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 11:43 AM MDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - A complaint against Governor Kristi Noem is being referred back to the South Dakota Attorney General’s office, after a unanimous decision by the Government Accountability Board (GAB) and another was seemingly referred to a “contested case hearing.”

Monday morning, the Board opted to refer complaint 2021-04 to the South Dakota Attorney General’s office for further investigation.

Former Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, who originally filed the complaints, confirmed that the one that was referred back to his former office has to do with Noem’s use of the state airplane. Concerns regarding that arose after a Raw Story article was published in February 2021, alleging that Noem used the state airplane for campaign and personal reasons. Noem has denied such allegations on several occasions.

The other complaint, 2021-03, had to do with Noem’s conduct around the state appraisal program and her possible abuse of office. Noem came under fire last year following a report by the Associated Press alleging that she abused her office to get her daughter an appraisal license. The Board seemingly took action to dismiss the complaint, but cited South Dakota Codified Law 3-24-7 when doing so, which states that “if a majority of the members of the board vote that there is sufficient information to believe that a statewide office holder or executive branch employee has engaged in misconduct related to any subdivision of 3-24-3, the board shall conduct a contested case hearing according to chapter 1-26 to afford the accused person the opportunity to respond to the allegation.”

Board members said that the appraisal related complaint was “partly dismissed and partly closed,” but also suggested that it could be reopened at a later date.

Assistant Attorney General Katie Mallery, tasked with helping the Board with the procedural matter, did not immediately respond to a request for clarification on the matter.

The action comes after the Board suggested just a few weeks ago that they would likely need months to reach a decision on both complaints.

Governor Kristi Noem’s office has declined to comment on the matter.

“We will be diligent in our duty and thoroughly investigate the complaint that the Government Accountability Board has presented to the Attorney General’s Office,” Attorney General Mark Vargo said in a statement. “The investigation, as with all other investigations, will remain confidential as does the complaint that has been presented to us. We have no other comment at this time.”

There is not a future date currently set for the next GAB meeting.