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LRC Withholding Ravnsborg File from Public

The Legislative Research Council is withholding from the public the criminal investigation documents released to legislators considering impeachment of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg. LRC director Reed Holwegner has sent me and at least one other interested member of the public this terse statutory denial of open records requests to see the Ravnsborg investigation file:

Reed Holwegner, director, Legislative Research Council, letter to CA Heidelberger/Dakota Free Press, 2021.09.08, received 2021.09.10.
Reed Holwegner, director, Legislative Research Council, letter to CA Heidelberger/Dakota Free Press, 2021.09.08, received 2021.09.10.

Director Holwegner ignores the point that public interest in reviewing the documents that legislators may use to support removing an elected Attorney General from office overrides the state’s interest in keeping such documents secret. He also fails to note that the state’s interest in keeping Ravnsborg’s criminal investigation files secret ended when the state ended its prosecution of Ravnsborg and completed due process with Ravnsborg’s no-contest plea and Judge John Brown’s sentencing. Holwegner apparently considers such legal questions above his pay grade and more suited to the courts.

12 Comments

  1. 96Tears 2021-09-11

    Director Holwegner takes the cowardly way out.

    The clown car which occupies 105 seats on the third floor of our State Capitol is less deserving of access to that information at this point than the general public and the family of Ravnborg’s victim. It seemed pretty darn clear that Secretary of Public Safety Craig Price’s written public statement was intended to make all the findings public now. Not weeks and months from now. The “protected class” distinction which shields the power clique in Pierre apparently still applies to Ravnsborg.

  2. David Newquist 2021-09-11

    South Dakota law has numerous caveats. such as the one cited to you above, which makes it anti-freedom of information law. In contrast, Illinois statute covers it this way: “An agency may not deny access to records on grounds that they contain confidential or non-disclosable information; the agency must delete the confidential and non-disclosable information and disclose the remainder of the record.” It was under this practice that enabled the late George Thiem of the also late Chicago Daily News to win a Pulitzer for uncovering corruption in Illinois government.

    South Dakota is simply not a free state,

  3. Kurt Evans 2021-09-11

    “96Tears” writes:

    It seemed pretty darn clear that Secretary of Public Safety Craig Price’s written public statement was intended to make all the findings public now.

    Price’s letter specifically urges Spencer Gosch to redact medical information concerning Joe Boever.

  4. jerry 2021-09-11

    “any person” applies to both, and that should not be. Full transparency is needed here.

  5. kurtz 2021-09-11

    So, the House indicts and the Senate tries the case. Perhaps the secrecy is a tell that enough reasonable doubt exists that a conviction is not impossible.

    If Ravnsborg isn’t squirming right now that’s proof positive that he has no soul.

  6. ArloBlundt 2021-09-11

    Well…the Ruling Party needs to insure against collateral damage occurring during this bloodletting. The proposed Ravensborg impeachment may bring out all kinds of unbridled ambition among the legislators participating and considerable backstabbing, once having been initiated, may be hard to control by the Speaker and Majority Leader. The aftermath may be messier than the impeachment.

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-09-11

    We need one legislator to accept Secretary Price’s invitation and release the hard drive. One legislator. Come on, folks: there will be no punishment, I guarantee. Noem would not allow a prosecution, and the only penalties South Dakota law provides for release of supposedly closed documents are associated with release of trade secrets and other corporate data (see SDCL 1-27-32.

  8. kurtz 2021-09-11

    A bluff, then? To see if Ravnsborg raises or folds?

  9. kurtz 2021-09-11

    Is it reasonable to conclude Ravnsborg’s military commanders have all the evidence? Does Noem prefer a court martial?

  10. grudznick 2021-09-11

    Mr. Holwegner is indeed a wet paper sack of used hygiene products. He is a bossturd of the highest order. We need Ms. Duba to release the hard drive as she indicated she would. We need this Me. Ravnsborg outted.

  11. grudznick 2021-09-11

    Lar, that is reasonable.

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