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No charges for Gov. Kristi Noem’s use of plane, South Dakota prosecutor announces

SIOUX FALLS, SD — A South Dakota prosecutor who was overseeing an investigation into Governor Kristi Noem’s use of state government aircraft announced on Tuesday that the investigation found nothing to support a criminal prosecution. .

Hughes County State’s Attorney Jessica LaMie said in a brief statement that there was ‘no reason to pursue’ action over allegations that the Republican governor misused the plane. state or that the flight records of the aircraft had been altered. She called “frivolous” an allegation that flight records had been tampered with.

Noem, a potential White House candidate in 2024, had used the plane to attend events hosted by political organizations in 2019. Former Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, a Republican, had filed a complaint over the use of aircraft with the state Government Accountability Board. And in August, the board asked the state’s Criminal Investigations Division to investigate Noem’s use of the plane.

State law prohibits the aircraft from being used for anything other than state business.

Noem has used the state plane six times to travel to out-of-state events hosted by political organizations, including the Republican Governors Association, Republican Jewish Coalition, Turning Point USA and the National Rifle Association. Raw Story, an online news site, first reported on the trips, which the governor’s office has championed as part of her job as the state’s “ambassador” to support the state’s economy. ‘State.

Noem also argued that Ravnsborg filed the lawsuit as political retaliation. She had lobbied for Ravnsborg to resign over his conduct surrounding a 2020 car crash in which he hit and killed a pedestrian. Ravnsborg was impeached and removed from office earlier this year.

LaMie said she informed the Government Accountability Board of her decision and referred the matter to them. She said she would not comment further on the investigation.

LaMie was put in charge of overseeing the investigation after Attorney General Mark Vargo recused himself. He was appointed by Noem after Ravnsborg’s impeachment.

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