Gov. Kristi Noem this week intensified stress on the South Dakota Legislature to question a fellow Republican — state Lawyer Common Jason Ravnsborg — over his dealing with of a 2020 automobile crash that killed a pedestrian.
“Jason Ravnsborg killed a man, lied to investigators about the events of that night, and attempted to cover it up,” Noem wrote Monday night time in an announcement on Twitter, including that the household of the sufferer, Joseph Boever, “deserves justice.”
A GOP-controlled Home committee voted alongside celebration strains to subject a 22-page report that discovered that Ravnsborg’s actions didn’t warrant impeachment, citing the state structure, which declares most state officers “liable to impeachment for drunkenness, crimes, corrupt conduct, or malfeasance or misdemeanor in office.”
Noem, who is taken into account a possible 2024 presidential candidate, disagreed with the discovering and urged the Home to question Ravnsborg when it convenes in April.
“The question before this committee was, should the Attorney General should continue to be the top law enforcement officer in the state of South Dakota. It is clear that he should not be. My hope is that the House of Representatives as a whole will do the right thing,” she tweeted.
The Home can nonetheless transfer ahead with impeachment proceedings regardless of the panel’s vote this week.
Noem’s sharp phrases escalated what has turn into a really public combat between GOP officers and lawmakers after the deadly crash on a rural South Dakota freeway in September 2020.
Ravnsborg pleaded no contest to the site visitors misdemeanors linked to the incident, which he first reported as a collision with an animal. He mentioned he didn’t understand he had hit an individual till the subsequent day, when he discovered Boever’s physique.
Prosecutors mentioned they have been unable to substantiate Ravnsborg’s declare that he didn’t understand he had hit a person till a day after the incident. Ravnsborg, who has maintained that he ought to stay in workplace, confronted fines however evaded jail time.
Noem had pressed the Legislature to launch an impeachment inquiry after Ravnsborg vowed he wouldn’t resign.
“I have seen the entire investigative file, and the public deserves to see it so that they can learn the truth of what happened. The House has the sole constitutional power of impeachment, and they have the responsibility to see this process through in a timely manner,” she mentioned in a assertion in January.
Noem’s stress marketing campaign has coincided with Ravnsborg’s advancing two ethics complaints towards her to the state’s Authorities Accountability Board, with an April deadline for her to reply.
She got here underneath fireplace in September after her daughter obtained uncommon therapy to acquire an actual property license after having fallen in need of federal necessities, in line with an Related Press report.
Ravnsborg signaled on the time that he would evaluation the claims. “I am actively reviewing their concerns and I will be following the steps prescribed in codified law in relation to those questions,” he mentioned in an announcement.
NBC Information has reached out to Noem and Ravnsborg for remark.
Noem renewed her impeachment assaults this month by firing off questions on Twitter about why Ravnsborg had a closed-door listening to with members of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Appropriations.
“REMINDER: the House is still in the middle of impeachment proceedings,” she wrote. “They don’t have time to conclude their impeachment process, but they have time for secret closed-door meetings to give Ravnsborg $1.5 million with no accountability?”
Noem went a step additional Monday when she accused the Home of attempting to cowl for Ravnsborg after the investigating committee determined towards recommending impeachment, a serious blow for Noem, Boever’s household and others who had rallied to take away him from workplace.
Rep. Jamie Smith, one in all two Democrats who voted for Ravnsborg’s impeachment, mentioned he was “disappointed” by the committee’s findings. “I voted to proceed with impeachment,” he wrote on Twitter. “The AG lied.”
The panel additionally rebuked Noem, accusing her of “attempting to pressure” Home members. “Governor Noem has continued to improperly influence the impeachment process,” they wrote.