South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is slamming how some of her fellow Republicans are handling the impeachment probe of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg over his fatal car crash in 2020 when he hit a pedestrian along a rural highway at night..
The special House investigative committee spent several hours Tuesday in open session questioning law enforcement officers and officials about the crash and Noem didn’t like it.
She told The Associated Press the committee is “attacking the integrity of our law enforcement officers,” adding that it was an “inappropriate” and “tragic” use of the committee’s attention.
Noem has pushed for Ravnsborg’s impeachment for more than a year and several of his political allies on the committee posed questions Tuesday about the governor’s role in the crash investigation.
House Speaker Spencer Gosch asked why an outside agency like the North Dakota HIghway Patrol hadn’t taken over the investigation “given the political nature of the situation” between Noem and Ravnsborg.
Other panel members, including Noem’s GOP primary challenger Rep Steve Haugaard, delved into the governor’s role in the decision to release parts of the initial investigation including law enforcement interviews of Ravnsborg. Speaker Gosch later defended Tuesday’s focus as an effort to be “thorough” in its probe.
Noem told the AP since she wasn’t involved in the investigation and simply stayed informed “at certain points when it was appropriate, the committee needs to stay focused on Ravnsborg’s conduct before and after the crash.
She said the committee “is just to determine if the attorney general should still be the attorney general – that’s the only question in front of them,” adding that they also need to see if he still has the support of law enforcement as he claims.
Wednesday, criminal investigators said they didn’t believe Ravnsborg when he told them he never saw the body of 55-year old Joe Boever after hitting him and thought he hit an animal until he returned to the scene and found the body the next morning.
The investigators determined Ravnsborg would have walked right past Boever’s body and the flashlight he had been carrying as he looked around the crash scene that night.