Kristi Noem Under Investigation For Private Plane Via State Funds


Governor Kristi Noem (R-SD) is now under investigation for using the state plane as a taxi service for herself and her family members. The Donald Trump following governor decided to jaunt home to see her son off to his high school prom instead of saving South Dakota’s taxpayers $3,700 in plane costs. Bad call.

Noem had legally used the state’s plane to attend a Rapid City event in 2019. The following day, she had another event. The northern plains leader could have just found lodging, but the governor decided against the more prudent action, according to the Associated Press (AP).

The state Ethics Board referred the issue to South Dakota’s Division of Criminal Investigation. The prosecutor in charge of the investigation will determine whether Governor Noem broke a 2006 law regarding misusing the state’s plane. As of yet, that law has never been tested.

On April 5, 2019, the governor had been in Watertown, near her home. Then the plane returned to the state Capitol in Pierre. The next day it had to return to Watertown to pick Noem up and carry her on to Las Vegas to attend a Republican Jewish Coalition activity.

Fury defended the trips because her travel started in Watertown, near where she had spoken at an event for her son’s school district the day before, according to ABC News:

‘Part of official travel is returning from official travel.’

But this was not the first time the governor has run afoul of the Ethics Board previously. She also used her office to obtain a real estate appraiser’s license for her daughter.

In 2019 Noem used the state’s plane inappropriately:

‘Noem used the state plane six times to fly to out-of-state events hosted by political organizations including the Republican Governors Association, Republican Jewish Coalition, Turning Point USA and the National Rifle Association.’

Apparently, Noem understood misusing the state’s plane, because she came up with an excuse. She called herself South Dakota’s “ambassador,” and as such she was propping up her state’s” economy and intergovernmental relationships.”

State Senator Reynold Nesiba (D) proposed the law. He said:

‘When it’s been used for family members, this seems like a clear violation of not only the letter but the spirit of the law that was passed overwhelmingly.’

The law was passed after former Governor Mike Rounds used the state plane to go to his son’s “away basketball games.” After becoming a U.S. senator, Rounds tapped his political funds to reimburse South Dakota.

The governor’s  campaign spokesperson Ian Fury said her travel was justified:

‘[The] ‘evel of nitpickiness is ridiculous because she is doing this sort of thing less than Dennis Daugaard (former governor).’

Noem also went to Custer to be involved with her daughter’s  wedding. At the time, she had two youth leadership speaking engagements. The governor’s son, nephew, and their friend were in Aberdeen. The young men and the governor hopped on the plane, and they all went back to continue preparations for her daughter’s wedding.

A professor at Columbia Law School specializing in government ethics, Richard Briffault, said the governor’s travel fell into a legal gray area.

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Hughes County State’s Attorney Jessica LaMie has been investigating whether the governor broke the law. LaMie promised a “thorough” investigation:

‘If you take the title and all of that out of it, it’s no different than any other investigation.’

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The sentence for the Class 2 misdemeanor is a $1,000 fine and 30 days in jail maximum.

When Trump attended a questionable fireworks display under the four president’s head chiseled into a mountain in 2021, Noem likened him to the next President Theodore Roosevelt, according to The New York Times.

Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.

Gloria Christie Reports & Three White Lions Substack newsletters. Written in her own unique style with a twist of humor. Christie is a political journalist for the liberal online newspaper The Bipartisan Report. Christie’s Mueller Report Adventures In Bite-Sizes a real-life compelling spy mystery (in progress). Find her here on Facebook. Or at Three White Lions her book on Amazon Kindle Vella.