South Dakota lawmakers question Noem’s meeting with daughter – KIRO 7 News Seattle


SIOUX FALLS, SD – (AP) – South Dakota Republican and Democratic lawmakers said Wednesday they would want more details from Governor Kristi Noem’s administration at a meeting last year that saw the governor, her daughter and Government employees who supervised an agency who refused after their daughter’s application for approval as a real estate appraiser took part.

In response to The Associated Press report earlier this week, the Legislative Government and Audit Committee will consider the matter at its meeting in late October, said the committee chairman Senator Kyle Schoenfish. The Republican governor dismissed the report as an attack on her family, but MPs from her party said they wanted her government to respond to the incidents.

Schoenfish, a Republican, said the committee was still working on the details of how it would address the issue. Republicans, who have a super majority in the legislature, will ultimately decide how far-reaching the investigation is.

The AP reported Monday that Noem called a government official into her office last year who was overseeing her daughter’s appraisal license just days after the agency refused her license. After the meeting, Noem’s daughter Kassidy Peters was not denied a license, according to the Ministry of Labor and Regulation. Peters finally received her certification four months later, on November 25, 2020.

A week after Peters received her license, the state official who ran the agency was allegedly pressured by Noem’s cabinet secretary to retire. State employee Sherry Bren eventually received a payment of $ 200,000 from the state to withdraw an age discrimination complaint and quit her job.

The governor’s office declined to answer questions from the AP about the discussions. On Wednesday, her spokesman, Ian Fury, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on lawmakers dealing with the episode. He had previously dismissed the first report as a political attack on the governor.

“I want to know specifically at this meeting, what were the discussions?” Said Democratic MP Linda Duba, adding that the meeting would have been “extremely intimidating” for the government official overseeing Peters’ application.

Republican MP Randy Gross, vice chairman of the committee, said he was avoiding speculation about what happened but wanted to hear from Noem’s administration in order to get “a reliable sequence of activities or events.”

“I want to be informed exactly,” he said.

Noem, 49, has sparked speculation about a possible White House bid in 2024 by forming a federal political action committee, assisting with campaigns across the country, and attending many of the same events as other potential GOP hopefuls. Although Noem has said she’s focused on re-election in 2022 and has not publicly announced any plans to run for president, she has visited key early presidential states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina and shown her willingness to encounter potential rivals .

In her first term as governor after nearly a decade in Congress, her star rose as she refined a message of more freedom and less government – especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

Bren had curtailed her comments on the episode as the settlement of her age discrimination complaint included a clause prohibiting her from demeaning civil servants.

The committee has the power to subpoena documents from the state government, Democratic Senator Reynold Nesiba said, but added that the legislature’s decision to wield that power depends on the support of Republicans. He said he will also investigate how the state government paid Bren the $ 200,000 to resolve its age discrimination complaint.

Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, a Republican, has announced that he will be reviewing the episode. However, he has become political enemies of the governor after she called for his resignation after a car accident in which he hit and killed a man on a highway.

Democrats said the government and audit committee and budget committee are the right place to open an investigation, but admitted they would need Republicans to look into the issue.

“I think it takes a lot of courage,” said Duba. “There are many concerns about failing the odor test at all.”


This story has been updated to correct Senator Kyle Schoenfish’s first name.

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