Press "Enter" to skip to content

Noem to Legislators: Time to Impeach Ravnsborg

Governor Kristi Noem and I stand united on one point: deadly and disgraced Jason Ravnsborg still needs to resign from the Attorney General’s office, and if he won’t, now that Judge John Brown has sentenced Ravnsborg, the Legislature needs to restart its impeachment proceedings against him:

Speaker of the House Spencer Gosch said in March that the House would wait until after “the judicial system is able to do its job” to proceed with articles of impeachment against Ravnsborg. The South Dakota Sheriff’s Association, the South Dakota Police Chiefs Association, and the South Dakota Fraternal Order of Police previously called on him to resign.

If Ravnsborg does not resign, as I believe he should, the Legislature can and should consider the articles of impeachment already brought in the House…. I have therefore instructed the state Department of Public Safety to provide Speaker Gosch a complete copy of the investigation file in the coming days to assist the House in its important work [Gov. Kristi Noem, press release, 2021.08.26].

Confirming Noem’s assertion that Ravnsborg has shown no sign of taking responsibility for his crimes, Ravnsborg issued a self-serving statement right after his sentencing:

First and foremost, I am very sorry Joe Boever lost his life in this accident. I am sorry to the entire family for the loss of their loved one. They have had to deal with the pain, anger, and sadness of this accident.

With respect for Joe, his family, and the judicial process, I have fully cooperated with the investigation from the beginning and refrained from making statements to the media.

While nothing I say will bring Joe back, I believe it’s appropriate to share a few of my thoughts at this time [Jason Ravnsborg, statement, in staff, “Noem ‘Outraged’ at Result of Ravnsborg’s Plea Agreement in Fatal Crash Case,” KSFY, 2021.08.26].

“…I believe it’s appropriate to share a few of my thoughts at this time,” said Ravnsborg—but no, Jason, the only thought it’s appropriate for you to share right now is the one you started with: I’m sorry. Say that, then shut up and resign.

But Ravnsborg talked on, dedicating more of his statement to pleading his own case, complaining about how unfair the media and “partisan opportunists from both sides of the aisle” have been to him:

The media has reported many untrue, and misleading things they want you to believe are facts. Partisan opportunists from both sides of the aisle have manufactured rumors, conspiracy theories and made statements in direct contradiction to the evidence all sides agreed upon. These are the same people who try to take others down at any cost [Ravnsborg, 2021.08.26].

…boasting about what a great job he’s doing as Attorney General:

I ran to be your attorney general because I believe in the law; I believe in fairness, due process, and doing what’s right. Now, having experienced the legal system from both sides, I renew my commitment to be transparent and responsive to the needs of the people of South Dakota.

We have built an incredible team of hard-working professionals who seek to serve you in the Attorney General’s office each day. We’ve made significant accomplishments in record time.

We still face challenges. We will continue the dialogue about marijuana and how to regulate it. We’re finalizing the terms of the $26 billion opioid settlement to address opioids and fentanyl and still battling the meth epidemic [Ravnsborg, 2021.08.26].

…, and cloaking his commitment to clinging to office in his certitude that he’s on a mission from God:

I do not know all the Lord has in store for me, but I trust in Him. As I continue my service as your attorney general, I’ll keep fighting for you, just as I have since the day I took office. May God bless each of you, and may God continue to bless South Dakota [Ravnsborg, 2021.08.26].

Since Ravnsborg isn’t going to bless us with his resignation, Governor Noem does well to remind us of Speaker Spencer Gosch’s words back in March when he delayed his articles of impeachment against Ravnsborg:

House Speaker Spencer Gosch, a Republican, released a plan he will present to a House committee on Wednesday, arguing that a delay was necessary in light of a judge’s order last week that halted Gov. Kristi Noem and government officials from releasing evidence in the investigation….

Gosch said public proceedings would be difficult, given the judge’s order that state members could not release evidence, and he wanted to make sure any hearings were “fair and transparent.”

“It’s best that arguably these premature articles that were filed be held off until the judicial system is able to do its job,” he said.

Gosch’s proposal amounted to a step back from the impeachment proceedings after the governor and some lawmakers had used nearly every available means to get Ravnsborg to resign last week [Stephen Groves, “South Dakota House Speaker Plans to Delay AG Impeachment,” AP, 2021.03.02].

Hey, look at that: Kristi Noem quoted someone correctly for once. Golf clap.

On March 8, the House of Representatives passed House Resolution 7001, declaring that “after a conviction, plea of guilty or nolo contendere, or acquittal in case number 34MAG21-0001, State v. Jason Ravnsborg, the House of Representatives may evaluate whether articles of impeachment against Jason Ravnsborg, Attorney General of the State of South Dakota, are necessary and proceed accordingly.” Ravnsborg has pled nolo contendre. Noem’s release indicates the gag order is gone. The Legislature has a Special Session scheduled for November 8. That meeting is dedicated to redistricting, but legislators could easily arrange to add impeachment to their agenda.

Speaker Gosch, Senate President Pro-Tem Schoenbeck, make it so. The court couldn’t remove Ravnsborg, but you can, and you should. Impeach Ravnsborg as soon as possible.

Related Reading: Also agreeing with Noem and me is Accountable.us. The watchdog group is calling on the Republican Attorney General Association, which made Ravnsborg their vice-chair in July, to cut their ties with Ravnsborg and demand his resignation:

On the heels of the no-contest plea, it is time to finally join the broad spectrum of voices calling on the disgraced attorney general to resign.RAGA is Attorney General Ravnsborg’s largest campaign contributor by far, having donated over $100,000 to his campaign efforts. Hisprofile and donation page has also remained active on RAGA’s website. The question is whether or not you will continue to support someone whose reckless behavior and disregard for the law cost a man his life.

…By standing behind Attorney General Ravnsborg , you are sending a message that you believe one of your own is above the law and above consequences. Given the judge’s wrist-slap ruling today that Ravnsborg will serve no jail time and walk away with only $1000 in fines, Ravnsborg continues to avoid real consequences for his deadly actions. That is why it is more important than ever that RAGA act decisively by pushing Ravnsborg out of their ranks once and for all [Kyle Herrig, president, Accountable.us, letter to RAGA Chairman South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, RAGA Policy Chairman Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, and RAGA Executive Director Peter Bisbee, 2021.08.26].

Elsewhere, Tom Kludt, who broke the story yesterday of Ravnsborg’s decision to plea, writes a good summary of Ravnsborg’s crime and the political fallout in Vanity Fair.

In court, defense attorney Tim Rensch this morning repeatedly averred that his client is an “honorable man.” Nick Nemec, cousin of Joe Boever, the man Ravnsborg killed with his inattentive driving, explains what an honorable man would have done:

Nick Nemec, FB, 2021.08.26, posted to Twitter by Jeremy Fugleberg, 2021.08.26.
Nick Nemec, FB, 2021.08.26, posted to Twitter by Jeremy Fugleberg, 2021.08.26.

An honorable man who so flagrantly and fatally broke the law would also resign from his job as a law enforcement officer.

21 Comments

  1. Porter Lansing 2021-08-26 18:38

    An apology using the word “I” five times and the word “they” once is too contrived for authenticity.

  2. John Dale 2021-08-26 18:40

    I’m not really interested in impeaching him.

    We have other more pressing matters for the legislature.

  3. Guy 2021-08-26 18:47

    Kristi NEEDS an AG REPLACEMENT NOW!!! Kristi can NOT afford to have a Democrat Attorney General…IF…she is reelected. A Democrat AG would be Kristi’s worst nightmare.

  4. Francis Schaffer 2021-08-26 19:20

    John Dale
    What more pressing matters?

  5. Guy 2021-08-26 19:27

    An truly independent Attorney General – who is not from Kristi’s political party – could begin the process of investigating the accusations that she may have misused state funds on her campaign trips across the country. A truly independent and duly elected Attorney General could ask federal prosecutors and the U.S. Attorney General’s office to also look into Kristi’s use of the state plane on those trips. At this point, there have been accusations and allegations of wrongdoing. But, how do we actually know if the accusations are true if we do not have an open investigation initiated by a truly independent and duly elected Attorney General?

  6. Vi Kingman 2021-08-26 19:43

    We’ll find out how much pull and leadership the Governor has with the other Republicans.

  7. Guy 2021-08-26 19:55

    John Thune: “rollin’ down Highway 212, watching Sioux Falls rollin’ through the Little League World Series.” Thune recently said?!? Yes, I realize John was probably the passenger in the car. But, the message and the accompanying photo on his Senatorial Facebook page (Senator John Thune) is not a message to be sending other people that encourages distracted driving. He has his smart phone propped up against his driver’s GPS map?!? That is not distracting to his driver? Come on.

  8. Disgusted Dakotan 2021-08-26 20:26

    Every legislator who voted against impeachment should be thrown out of office. The behind the scenes politics were of legislators opposing impeachment as they did not want to facilitate Noem’s designs on filling the office, instead of attending to their duties to protect the integrity of the office. In not impeaching Ravnsborg, they allowed him to illegally impact his own (lack) of full prosecution for his crimes. Would any other AG allow such a conflict of interest of a college classmate acting as a states attorney with obvious minimal prosecution and sweet deal making? In such a case the AG would have intervened and taken over prosecution for the state. Because he remained the AG, the AG office did not and allowed him to have this sweetheart of a deal. This has violated the rule of law principles that this state is supposed to be dedicated to.

    The claims by some of these legislators that the due process of an appropriate impeachment would violate this mockery of due process in this NC plea, should insult anyone with any sense.

    What exactly will the politicians use now as reason for not doing their constitutional duty..

  9. Donald Pay 2021-08-26 21:20

    The AG killed one man negligently. He should be impeached. How abut Noem? Stack the bodies up from her mismanagement of the Covid response. It’s not even close. She needs to go.

  10. Guy 2021-08-26 22:41

    Scott, Stephanie tried to use Noem’s speeding tickets against her in the 2010 Campaign. It did not work. I think an Attorney General Brendan Johnson would be way more effective in keeping Noem in line should she be reelected. But, there’s a better scenario than even that: how about Governor Herseth and Attorney General Johnson?

  11. John Dale 2021-08-26 22:56

    The governor should convene a special session to review the evidence surrounding the pandemic.

    The governor should be working to develop a software technology economy in SD.

    The governor should be running a surveillance and Q/A program to make sure the SD bureaucracy is respect the privacy of SD citizens participating in state programs.

    The governor should forensically audit the administration of South Dakota’s universities and their participation in H1B and OPT programs.

    The governor should be securing local food production capacity in the event our food supply chain experiences disruptions.

    I’m not seeing the return on investment in running a take-down campaign against JR given the unresolvable issues surrounding his case. I’m not sure how starting this fight might help the SD rank-and-file. I could be wrong, though, but if there is a good reason it is outside the boundaries of her recent statement.

    That is all.

  12. M 2021-08-27 05:26

    Jason is a privileged white man. Jason holds the highest legal office in the state. If he commits an act of which he fights against, he should be removed.

    This is making a mockery of our legal system and law itself. Whoever believes Jason should remain in his job is a person who feels privileged too. Exceptional perhaps. White, male, and exceptional. Yeah this state is full of them.

  13. V 2021-08-27 05:47

    I know a young man who hit a kid with his car.

    Of course, the kid darted in to the street chasing a ball.

    The car was going only 15 mph and fortunately the kid was not hurt.

    Unfortunately, the underage young man smoked a joint with friends several days earlier.

    The young man was tried as an adult and sent to prison for 2 years for felony ingestion of a drug and reckless driving.

    Different laws for different classes of people and sentencing that depends on the color of one’s skin.

  14. Guy 2021-08-27 08:47

    I think Brendan Johnson would make a great Attorney General with his law background. He stood up and supported the will of the voters on Amendment A. As an Independent voter, I I do not want Jackley in there again. We need the Attorney General to be from the opposing political party to act as a check on the corrupt Republican Party in this state.

  15. grudznick 2021-08-27 09:21

    Mr. M, I do not think Mr. Ravnsborg holds the highest legal office in the state. I think Mr. Jensen holds that office. Mr. Ravnsborg holds the highest law-enforcement office in the state. That’s worse, in grudznick’s opinion. I’m just sayin…

  16. M 2021-08-27 19:39

    Chris Hayes on MSNBC just finished a segment about Ravnsborg. He interviewed a journalist from Vanity Fair and they both kept pronouncing his name wrong. Poor Jason can’t get any respect. Mr Roundsburg is what it sounded like.

    They did an excellent job with the time they had. Jason Roundsburg made a fool out of himself with the flashlight bit. Great to see on national news and to listen to on my SiriusXM internet radio.

  17. Arlo Blundt 2021-08-27 19:46

    Well…In his “statement” the AG issues a luke warm ambivalent apology, stressing that the death of Joe Boever was caused by an accident with no mention of his negligence or culpability. Then he launches into an attack on the “media” (which has been very kind to him) followed by an opening campaign rev up for 2022. He closes by invoking the the Deity, who he believes has an interest in his political future. With ego like that in play there is little doubt that he has no intention of resigning and, it appears, he hopes to win renomination and stand for election. That is the best thing that could happen for the Democratic Party…a real eye opener for the electorate.

  18. M 2021-08-28 06:39

    What arrogance.

  19. Guy 2021-09-18 15:50

    Ellis of the Sioux Falls Argus Leader breaks down what’s really going on in his recent article about Kristi Noem and her power play against Ravnsborg. She isn’t pushing this for “noble reasons” as we always suspected.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.