Did Rep. Kristi Noem lie to us about her abdication from the House Agriculture Committee?
Facing criticism from Democratic challenger Rep. Paula Hawks for abandoning South Dakota’s agricultural interests in favor of a seat on the prestigious House Ways and Means Committee, our sole Congresswoman made the following statement to the Watertown Public Opinion two weeks ago:
“It has been interesting to listen to her speak,” Noem said, “because she’s talked about it being a bad move to go to the Ways and Means Committee, and that it’s not beneficial to agriculture. But what she needs to know is that all of the ag organizations in the state advocated and supported me getting on the Ways and Means Committee. So by her criticizing that, she’s criticizing every single ag organization in the state of South Dakota [Roger Whittle, “Rep. Kristi Noem Disputes Claims Made by Challenger Paula Hawks,” Watertown Public Opinion, 2016.08.11].
Rep. Hawks told Whittle that she wasn’t hearing ag industry leaders backing that story. And now Doug Sombke, president of South Dakota Farmers Union, says his ag organization never supported Rep. Noem’s move:
I am confused by this comment, because although I knew Noem was making the move, and I understand that for her political career this is a great move for her, as a representative of one of the state’s largest agriculture organizations, I did not and do not support her move because it is not in the best interest of South Dakota’s number one industry of agriculture.
I want to make it clear that South Dakota Farmers Union neither advocated nor encouraged Rep. Noem’s decision to leave South Dakota without a seat on the Ag Committee. When I visited with Rep. Noem and her staff, I shared with her that although we understand her position, we prefer her serving on the Ag Committee first and foremost [Doug Sombke, “SDFU President: Noem Should Have Stayed on Ag Committee,” Farm Forum, 2016.08.22].
Rep. Noem says “all of the ag organizations in the state” supported her committee switch. Sombke says his ag organization did not support the switch. It’s not spin but a straightforward logical conclusion to say that one of the above two speakers is not telling the truth.