SD House Impeachment Committee Issues Subpoenas For Testimony And Documents

    The South Dakota House committee that will decide if Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg should face impeachment wrapped two days of meetings in Pierre on Wed by issuing subpoenas for law enforcement officials and crash investigation documents.

     The House Select Committee on Investigation is examining Ravnsborg’s actions surrounding a fatal traffic accident last year to determine if they justify impeachment and his removal from office.

      Ravnsborg pleaded No Contest in August to a pair of misdemeanors in the crash that killed 55-year-old Joseph Boever, but never appeared personally in court and received no jail time.

     The committee spent all its first day and most of the second in closed door executive sessions, but ended with a brief public session during which the 9 members unanimously approved the subpoenas.  

      Representative Jamie Smith, one of 2 Democrats on the panel, said they wanted to be “as transparent as possible” but decided to hold its first sessions in private because the files contain personal information that needs to be redacted. 

      House Speaker and committee member Spencer Gosch said that as the committee sifted through the crash investigation file, given to it by Gov Kristi Noem, “questions arose and we issued subpoenas to get our questions answered.”

      Among those subpoenaed is Secretary of Public Safety Craig Price, who oversaw the crash investigation and has said he believes Ravnsborg should have been charged with manslaughter and not just 2 traffic infractions.

       Others getting subpoenas to testify are two agents from the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation – which assisted, a crash reconstruction expert, and a South Dakota Hwy Patrol trooper.

      Speaker Gosch said the committee will meet in another executive session Jan 17 to decide what in the crash investigation should remain private, but also said he plans for the law enforcement officers to testify in public. 

    If the committee concludes impeachment proceedings are justified, the full House will vote on the articles against Ravnsborg. If the articles pass, a Senate hearing would decide if he’s removed from office. A 2/3rds majority vote is required.

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