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NEW: In State Legislature Testimony, Witness Alleges Kristi Noem Abused Her Power, Gave Her Daughter Special Treatment

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Kristi Noem is facing heightened pressure in the allegations she abused the power of her office and gave her family preferential treatment. A former state employee testified to the state legislature that Noem’s daughter got special treatment when getting her real estate appraiser’s license, and was allowed to redo her application additional times after Noem called a private meeting at the governor’s mansion to intervene in the application process.

The state employee was forced to resign “at the behest of the Administration” shortly after Noem’s daughter’s application was eventually approved — a move that cost South Dakota taxpayers $200,000 after a complaint was filed. She testified she felt nervous and “intimidated” to appear and that she had never seen another applicant given the unique treatment Noem’s daughter was given in her long history of overseeing the program.

This isn’t the first time Noem has used her office to benefit her family.  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.

The DGA previously filed public records requests to the Office of the Governor for all records concerning Noem’s intervention in her daughter’s application process.

“Kristi Noem has established a pattern of abusing the power of her office — and using taxpayer funds to do it,” said DGA Deputy Communications Director Sam Newton. “South Dakotans deserve answers for Noem’s corruption, and the DGA is committed to fighting to make sure she is held accountable for her actions.”