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Government Accountability Board Keeps Most Info Under Wraps

In 2017, the Legislature created the Government Accountability Board as one of its sops to an electorate outraged by the Republican leaderships repeal of Initiated Measure 22. The Government Accountability Board, a pale substitute for IM 22’s statewide ethics commission, is required by SDCL 3-24-10 to “annually report to the people, the Governor, and the Legislature on its activities. The report shall include data regarding any allegations of violations of subdivisions of § 3-24-3, including the number of reports filed, complaints received, number of unique persons filing complaints or reports, and hearings conducted by the board. The board may not disclose information that is not subject to disclosure under chapter 1-27 or pursuant to § 3-24-4.” That latter controlling statute says, “The information, reports, or complaints and the investigative records and files of the board are confidential and not a public record according to chapter 1-27 until the board votes in favor of conducting a contested case hearing.”

So what do we get to hear from the GAB? Here’s their first annual report, approved at their January 22, 2018, meeting:

Government Accountability Board, 2017 Annual Report, approved 2018.01.22.
Government Accountability Board, 2017 Annual Report, approved 2018.01.22.

GAB members acknowledged at their January meeting that it’s a “bare-bones” report, but members felt they provided exactly what statute asks for and avoided “dressing up” their report as other boards do.

So far, GAB minutes show three complaints: GAB dismissed one as outside of its jurisdiction due to the alleged misconduct predating GAB’s statutory existence, delayed action on a second, and declared a third outside of its jurisdiction and referred it to DCI.

The GAB meets Wednesday morning, 9 a.m., in the Minnehaha County Commission chamber in the county admin building in Sioux Falls to discuss unitemized new business and confidential pending complaints.

Section 15 of Amendment W, on our November ballot, would nullify the Government Accountability Board and replace it with a new independent citizen ethics commission.


  1. mike fom iowa 2018-05-27

    So the committee has plausible deniability built in to keep alleged crimes behind closed doors?

    Like putting “falsies” on a boar.

  2. Roger Cornelius 2018-05-27

    Another board that seems to serve more as a referral service with no investigative or subpoena authority.

    This board is hell bent on keeping republican corruption (cover up) under wraps rather then providing the voters with any information.

  3. Lars Aanning 2018-05-27

    The governor appoints the Government Accountability Board members – all retired judges owing their nice sinecures to state government loyalty…”Assistant Attorney General Katie L. Mallery is assigned to assist the Board with procedural matters” which simply means Jackley (via AG’s office) controls the board’s agenda (like he does the agenda of the SDBMOE through William Golden, another Assistant attorney General)…

  4. Debbo 2018-05-27

    That’s just silly. Monty Python would have so much fun with this. If Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee or Seth Meyers got hold of this they’d have a field day too. The SDGOP treats South Dakotans with such complete contempt it’s just . . . just . . . well, apparently SDGOP regards SD as one of the president’s sh*thole countries.

  5. Darrell Solberg 2018-05-28

    What else should be expected from a one party government? Do people know that all they do is protect themselves. Time to get serious about Anti-Corruption, Voter Protection, & Campaign reform….VOTE FOR AMENDMENT “W” in November!!!

  6. grudznick 2018-05-28

    What a waste of taxpayer dollars. Perhaps young Ms. Noem has it right with the abolishment of all the boards and commissions she promises. Less government is better government. All these boards so is draw the ire of angry libbies who disagree with how they format their reports. Their punishment should be abolishment.

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-05-29

    That would be the mindless Noem response, just getting rid of government instead of making government work. The GAB would be fine, if it were empowered to act on the full range of corruption in government and hold corrupt individuals truly accountable with public reporting.

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