Last week, Labor and Regulation Secretary Marcia Hultman told the Legislature’s Government Operations and Audit Committee that the unusual July 27, 2020, meeting at the Governor’s mansion involving Secretary Hultman, Governor Kristi Noem, the Governor’s daughter Kassidy Peters, the Governor’s chief of staff, three Executive Branch lawyers, and hot-seated Appraiser Certification Program chief Sherry Bren, the participants discussed a plan to help Peters complete the appraiser certification process:
“At the very end of the meeting we discussed a possible plan forward with Ms. Peters which had been determined prior to the meeting and it was a brief discussion at the end,” she said [Arielle Zionts, “DLR Secretary: Meeting with Noem, Daughter and State Officials Was Unusual,” SDPB Radio, 2021.10.28].
At a press conference yesterday, Governor Noem said no such discussion of her daughter’s recovery/remediation/whatever plan took place at the mansion meeting:
But when Noem was asked by the AP at a Thursday news conference if she was aware of that plan headed into the meeting, she responded by saying, “We didn’t even talk about that” and insisted the meeting was not to discuss Peters’ application.
“She gave her personal experiences through the program,” Noem said. “Of course, she gave her perspective and how long it took to go through the program and how difficult it was.”
However, Sherry Bren, the longtime director of the Appraiser Certification Program, told the AP she was presented at the meeting with a letter from Peters’ supervisor that slammed the agency’s move to deny her the license [Stephen Groves, “Noem Contradicts Labor Secretary on Meeting with Daughter,” AP, 2021.11.04].
Noem has spent today screaming at reporter Stephen Groves on Twitter, calling him a “dishonest reporter who cooks up stories.” But Noem has not provided any information that calls into question any facts Groves has reported. She has refused to release the documents from her daughter’s appraisal file that could help support Secretary Hultman’s crucial claim that Peters’s recovery plan had been created before the mansion meeting and thus mooted any “pressure” the Governor might have been perceived to have been exerting on Bren. And Noem has not provided any clarification on who was being dishonest, herself or Secretary Hultman, in stating how the Governor’s daughter figured into the mansion discussion.
But the verbatim statements of Hultman and Noem on this topic make clear that, if there is any dishonesty worth shouting about, it’s the dishonesty coming from the Executive Branch. I’m betting the dishonesty is coming from the helicopter mom who intervened in her grown daughter’s professional application and now is trying to cover up her rank abuse of power.