The South Dakota prosecutor overseeing an investigation into Gov. Kristi Noem’s use of state government aircraft says the investigation found nothing to support a criminal prosecution.
State law bars the aircraft from being used for anything other than state business, and Hughes County State’s Attorney Jessica LaMie says there was “no basis to pursue” any actions on the allegations that the Republican governor had misused the plane.
LaMie also called an allegation that the plane’s flight records had been altered or tampered with “frivolous.”
Noem’s reelection campaign wasted no time in responding with spokesman Ian Fury saying “An independent prosecutor has confirmed what we have known all along – this was nothing but a political attack in retaliation from a disgraced attorney general.”
State lawmakers brought the original allegations to Jason Ravnsborg, who in turn filed a formal complaint with the state Government Accountability Board before he was impeached in the spring over his conduct surrounding a fatal 2020 traffic accident.
Noem had pushed hard for Ravnsborg to resign and then to be impeached. She’d loudly proclaimed she’d done nothing wrong in using the plane and that Ravnsborg filed the complaint as political retribution.
Noem used the state plane six times in 2019 to fly to out-of-state events hosted by political organizations, including the National Rifle Association, which she defended as part of her work as the state’s “ambassador” to bolster the state’s economy.