Investigation into Noem’s use of state airplane ends

Conclusion: No facts and allegation regarding flight records was ‘frivolous’
DCI found ‘no criminal activity’ in Noem’s use of state plane.
DCI found ‘no criminal activity’ in Noem’s use of state plane.(Dakota News Now)
Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 4:45 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - A state’s attorney and the Division of Criminal Investigation, tasked with looking into Gov. Kristi Noem’s use of the state airplane, conclude that there were no facts she misused the plane and that the plane’s records were tampered with.

“There is no basis to pursue these matters further,” Hughes County State’s Attorney Jessica LaMie said in a release.

LaMie and the DCI “concluded that there were no facts to support a criminal prosecution under current law for the use of the airplane and that the allegation regarding flight records was frivolous.”

The complaint alleges that Noem improperly used the state airplane for personal reasons, including to build her profile across the country. The governor repeatedly has denied those allegations.

The complaint was first filed with the Government Accountability Board. It was then referred to Attorney General Mark Vargo, requesting an investigation. Vargo recused himself and LaMie agreed to oversee the inquiry and make any charging decisions.

LaMie referred the matter back to the Government Accountability Board.

Noem’s gubernatorial opponent, Democrat Jamie Smith, did react to the timing of the release.

“Isn’t it interesting that two weeks before an election, and on a day where I point out Kristi Noem’s scandals on the news and on social media, a State’s Attorney of the Governor’s party makes this announcement? It doesn’t take an investigation to see the blatant misuse of our plane,” Smith said.