Odds are you did not have as bad a day at work as Jason Ravnsborg did.
But Jason, remember: you’re still having a better day than Joe Boever, the man you killed over five months ago.
Rookie Representative and Republican favorite Will Mortenson (R-24/Pierre) filed House Resolution 7001, impeaching Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg for crimes and misdemeanors in office. Co-sponsoring the impeachment resolution are House Majority Leader Kent Peterson (R-19/Salem) and Minority Leader Jamie Smith (D-15/Sioux Falls).
HR 7001 lays two articles of impeachment against Ravnsborg, one for killing Joe Boever, another for unspecified crimes in office associated with the investigation of the killing and “actions becoming the Attorney General”:
Article I: Acts Causing the Death of Joseph Boever
Article XVI, § 3 of the South Dakota Constitution provides that the House of Representatives may impeach “state and judicial officers,” for “drunkenness, crimes, corrupt conduct, or malfeasance or misdemeanors in office.” Jason Ravnsborg committed crimes or misdemeanors in office causing the death of Joseph Boever, specifically:
(1) On the evening of September 12, 2020, Jason Ravnsborg failed to operate his vehicle within its proper lane, crossed outside such lane, and struck pedestrian and Highmore, South Dakota resident Joseph Boever. Mr. Boever died from injuries sustained from the collision; and
(2) Jason Ravnsborg has been charged by the Hyde County State’s Attorney with three separate crimes in connection with his driving on the night in question.
The Attorney General having a special obligation to the People and the Laws of the State of South Dakota, Jason Ravnsborg must be removed from such office for his crimes or misdemeanors in office causing the death of Joseph Boever.
Article II: Other Acts Following the Death of Joseph Boever
Article XVI, § 3 of the South Dakota Constitution provides that the House of Representatives may impeach “state and judicial officers,” for “drunkenness, crimes, corrupt conduct, or malfeasance or misdemeanors in office.” Jason Ravnsborg committed crimes or misdemeanors in office associated with the investigation following the death of Joseph Boever.
Following the collision, including during his reporting of the collision and the resulting investigation, Jason Ravnsborg undertook actions unbecoming the Attorney General. Jason Ravnsborg’s statements and actions failed to meet the standard of the Office of the Attorney General.
The Attorney General having a special obligation to the People and the Laws of the State of South Dakota, Jason Ravnsborg must be removed from such office for his crimes or misdemeanors in office following the death of Joseph Boever [House Resolution 7001: Articles of Impeachment against Jason Ravnsborg, filed 2021.02.23].
“Actions unbecoming”… hmm… invoking his high title at the beginning of his 911 call? Lying to the dispatcher about what he hit and where he hit it (er, him)? The language of HR 7001 suggests Ravnsborg engaged in misdeeds following the accident we haven’t heard about yet.
We may hear about more misdeeds soon. The articles of impeachment hit the hopper shortly after Governor Kristi Noem publicly called for Ravnsborg to resign and threatened a document dump:
Now that the investigation has closed and charges have been filed, I believe the Attorney General should resign. I have reviewed the material we are releasing, starting today, and I encourage others to review it as well [Gov. Kristi Noem, press release, 2021.02.23].
Translation: There’s more evidence against Ravnsborg, worse than what we know already. She and the Legislative leadership have seen the evidence, and it makes the cost of covering for their party boy too high to bear, even in safely red South Dakota. Noem and the Legislative leaders are giving Ravnsborg one more chance to rethink his stubborn insistence on keeping his job. If he doesn’t, Noem is hanging the threat of releasing evidence that will bury him and make the impeachment vote unanimous.
If Ravnsborg takes his cue, we’ll have a new Attorney General by Friday. If Ravnsborg tries to stay put, Governor Noem will dump the truck on him, greasing with her promised material a speedy impeachment that the House and Senate could complete in the brief breathing space they’ll have next week after Crossover Day. Either way, Jason Ravnsborg will be off our payroll before the Ides of March… and South Dakotans will have witnessed their first state impeachment.
Yeah, tough day, Jason. But you still get to walk home, go to bed, and get up the next day, unlike Joe Boever, the man you killed.
Update 21:57 CST: South Dacola posts the videos the Department of Public Safety has released via YouTube showing the investigators’ interview of Jason Ravnbsorg.