Following Bombshell AP Investigation Exposing Kristi Noem Corruption, DGA Files Public Records Requests
In response to a scathing report from the Associated Press showing South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem abused her taxpayer-funded office for the benefit of family members, the Democratic Governors Association sent public records requests to the Office of the Governor for all records concerning her intervention to help one family member win her certified real estate appraiser license, among other examples of cronyism.
The DGA also filed requests with the South Dakota Appraiser Certification Program for communications with Noem’s office concerning the daughter’s appraiser license, and any other emails mentioning the daughter.
As the AP investigation detailed, after a state agency moved to deny Noem’s daughter’s application to become a certified real estate appraiser, Gov. Noem summoned her daughter, the state employee who ran the agency, and the state labor secretary to her office. Soon after, her daughter magically obtained the certification, and the head of the agency was forced by the state labor secretary to retire — a move that cost South Dakota taxpayers $200,000 after a complaint was filed.
Professor Richard Painter, the chief ethics lawyer for former President George W. Bush, said of Noem’s move, “It’s clearly a conflict of interest and an abuse of power for the benefit of a family member.”
However, this is hardly the first time Noem has abused her office to benefit her family members. Earlier this year, Gov. Noem’s family benefited from $600,000 in COVID relief grants under a program that was previously capped at $100,000 per recipient until the South Dakota governor personally intervened. Noem also hired another daughter in a top role in her administration while she was still in college and paid her an annual salary of $59,000 after giving her a raise. With Noem’s history of giving her family members special treatment, the DGA is also requesting all communications between the Office of the Governor and the South Dakota Dept of Labor & Regulation’s Division of Insurance regarding Noem’s husband, who runs an insurance company.
Noem denied giving her daughter special treatment in a bizarre Youtube video, but her administration refused to provide documents that would have indicated whether Noem’s daughter’s work samples met federal standards as required for certification.
DGA Deputy Communications Director Sam Newton. “Instead of looking out for South Dakota families, Kristi Noem has built a pattern of abusing the power of her office and wasting taxpayer dollars to give her own family special treatment. Noem’s actions are the definition of corruption and cronyism, and we’re not going to let her cover up her tracks because South Dakotans deserve answers.”