Kristi Noem Put Under Investigation By State Attorney General

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South Dakota state Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg says that he is “actively reviewing” issues related to a meeting that South Dakota Republican Governor Kristi Noem called involving, among other individuals, her own daughter and the then-head of the state agency that had apparently denied that daughter’s application to become a certified real estate appraiser. Eventually, the governor’s daughter received that certification, and although connections between the two events are unclear, the meeting has led concerned observers to accuse Noem of abusing her power.

Now, Ravnsborg has commented as follows, regarding the meeting in question:

‘I have been contacted by concerned citizens and legislators. I am actively reviewing their concerns and I will be following the steps prescribed in codified law in relation to those questions.’

The controversial meeting that Governor Noem set up was for the purpose of going over “appraiser certification procedures,” although The Washington Post reported this week that “[exactly] what transpired at the July 27, 2020, meeting in the governor’s office isn’t clear.” The then-leader of the state agency in question was Sherry Bren, and after the governor’s daughter obtained the certification that she sought in the following months, Bren was pressured to retire by South Dakota state Labor Secretary Marcia Hultman. Bren subsequently claimed to have been the victim of age discrimination, but she eventually settled with state officials earlier this year for $200,000, withdrawing the complaint that she’d filed outlining the alleged discrimination.

As summarized by the Post, Bren has ‘told the AP that she was presented during the meeting with a letter from Noem’s daughter’s supervisor complaining about a lack of “timeliness and professionalism” in the certification process,’ although “state records reportedly show an official denial [of Noem’s daughter’s application] was never issued.” True to form, Noem has claimed in response to criticism of what unfolded that members of the media are merely “trying to destroy” her “children.” The governor’s daughter connected to this fiasco was 26 at the time that the controversial meeting took place, meaning that she was not a “child.” Asking questions of a chief executive who appeared to potentially use their sway to help obtain tangible benefits for a family member is not somehow out of line merely because it’s inconvenient for Kristi Noem.