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Kevin Jensen Portrays Impeachment as Unprecedently Complicated Matter

I find some absurdity in Representative Kevin Jensen’s (R-16/Canton) excuse for his House Select Committee on Investigation’s difficulty in getting its impeachment engine cranking:

And at one point, perhaps flummoxed by the open-ended timeline, Rep. Kevin Jensen, R-Canton, asked how long a response time should hypothetical subpoenas contain.

“This is way beyond the scope of anything we’ve done,” said Jensen, who added he was just “trying to figure out how to get things done in a timely manner” [Christopher Vondracek, “Committee to Investigate Impeaching SD’s Attorney General Stalls, 2 Weeks After First Meeting,” Mitchell Republic, 2021.11.25].

That the predictably doltish and self-absorbed Jensen would have difficulty dealing with the scope of carrying out clear constitutional duties against a fellow Republican should not surprise us. But how does impeachment surpass in scope anything else the Legislature does on a regular basis? Jensen chairs House Health and Human Services, which just this year dealt with complicated issues like health care price transparency, primary care agreements, and regulation of chiropractors—does Chairman Jensen just sleep through those substantive bills while he waits for the next anti-abortion, anti-trans, or anti-vax bill to come up on his agenda?

And nothing the Legislature does exceeds the scope of the state budget, on which appropriators spend months of interim study and the entire two-month Session to properly allocate over five billion dollars to every function of state government.

Impeachment is a solemn matter, but it’s not that complicated. Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg broke the law and killed a man. Immediately after the crash, in his 911 call, he invoked his official title in an apparent attempt to influence the response to his crime. He has declined to take responsibility for his recklessness, as indicated by his sniveling denials, his blaming the victim and the wind, and his continued lawbreaking on the roads. Through his reckless and sniveling behavior, not to mention through the manslaughter that his law school classmate/prosecutor chose not to prosecute, he has lost the confidence of law enforcement and the Governor.

The question before you, Representative Jensen and members of the House Select Committee on Investigation, is thus clear: has Jason Ravnsborg engaged in crimes, corrupt conduct, and/or malfeasance or misdemeanor in office that disqualify him from carrying out the duties of Attorney General? You have the crime scene investigation file; you have Ravnsborg’s own words and actions since his crime well-documented in the press. Call witnesses, study the record, and cast your vote: does South Dakota need a new attorney general or not?

If you find that question beyond your scope, Kevin, feel free to share with us the investigation file. Many of us citizens are more than ready to help analyze the evidence and inform the Legislature’s decision.

19 Comments

  1. larry kurtz 2021-11-28

    Watching the South Dakota Republican Party having yet another crisis of conscience should be bringing glee to every Democrat in my home state! Bring the popcorn!

  2. Donald Pay 2021-11-28

    Impeachment is not a criminal trial. If people want to gum up the process with delay tactics, that right there is a reason to impeach. Just look at impeachment as a decision you make to vote for or against a bill in committee. That’s how much process and time should be given over to this matter. Just get on with doing your duty, and get rid of this guy.

  3. Eve Fisher 2021-11-28

    The SD Republican legislature would rather eat nails that impeach someone because – considering their track record for covered-up DUIs, etc., – they never know when it will be their turn in the barrel.

  4. Bob Newland 2021-11-28

    When one believes that, as a matter of axiom, a Republican is incapable of sin, it becomes easier to understand how a slug like Jensen must go fetal when presented with evidence to the contrary.

  5. Nix 2021-11-28

    I’ve said it before….
    There is something out of sorts with
    the water filtration system in Canton
    out of the Sioux River.
    If Jensen doesn’t prove my point just look at Jim Bolin and his positions. Mutants.
    ‘Nuf said.

  6. grudznick 2021-11-28

    Young Mr. Bolin, he of the second swelllest haircut in the legislatures, is a bit disgruntled these days, grudznick suspects. He may toe the line doing the sessions or he may go really rogue.

  7. Porter Lansing 2021-11-28

    Not knowing what to do; doing nothing and labeling it “supporting small government”, is a tired method, run into the ditch by example.

    Your Governor Noem didn’t know what to do when a worldwide, deadly disease came to her state.

    She did nothing, passed her authority to county officials and mayors, labeled herself a patriot for supporting “small government”, sits on her “saddle of independent thinking” and you all suffer.

  8. DaveFN 2021-11-28

    Jensen’s admission that he’s not up to the job for which he was elected.

  9. John 2021-11-28

    Jensen: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” – Upton Sinclair

  10. ArloBlundt 2021-11-28

    Well…Eve and Bob are correct in reading this situation…what are we to do about DWI’s, driving the wrong way on divided highways , and minor hit and runs and other misdemeanor piccadillos if we’re going to impeach based on distracted driving and driving out of the prescribed lane??? Ignore the dead body, that could happen to anybody and killing Joe Boever was never tried in court . We’re engaged in an unprecedented impeachment at the request of our Republican Governor but it requires the Republican brethren to WAIVER in their belief that Republicans are God’s chosen people. Very tough for Mr. Jensen and others to get their head around this challenge….better to just let it fade away.

  11. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-11-28

    Bob, it still boggles me that the most loyal Republicans can’t see the simple calculus here: Ravnsborg is complete liability to the state and to the party. The SDGOP suffers no harm by impeaching Ravnsborg; it probably bolsters its image by countering exactly the charge you lay: “See? We don’t put party above everything. When one of our own commits an egregious offense that disqualifies him from office, we hold him accountable and serve the people by removing him from office.” It’s not like voting to impeach Trump, who can respond by pouring his rage, wealth, and influence into pushing primary candidates against those who betray him. Ravnsborg has no power left with which to threaten any legislator who votes to impeach.

  12. grudznick 2021-11-28

    Mr. Ravsnborg was a disgrace when he first took office, and he is a bigger disgrace today. It does not matter if you are a Republican, a Libertarian, a Constitutionalist, or a Democratic fellow. Mr. Ravnsborg is the least ept fellow ever in his job, and now he is a bleeding disgrace. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were loud mobs with burning torches wandering the town in Pierre once the sessions begin. These mobs, unruly as they might be, will not be standing in Mr. Ravsnborg’s front yard frightening his wife and children, they will be looking around the watering holes for the legislatures who are not ready to oust this fellow.

  13. O 2021-11-28

    I still have not heard any push to correct the laws that allowed an offense like this to go unpunished. There is an element of the Rittenhouse trial here: the laws that allowed for such legal travesties need firming before the allows others to chart the same path.

  14. larry kurtz 2021-11-28

    An objective observer can easily see Lieutenant Colonel Ravnsborg both as a crusader for justice in the Denny Sanford case and as a heartless highway marauder mowing down every Democrat in his path.

    If there’s a thesis for never having sex as a power trip Jason Ravnsborg’s a yogi.

  15. ArloBlundt 2021-11-28

    But Cory…to a sizable numberm of active Republicans, Party loyalty is everything…nothing else matters. They believe Ravensborg had an accident, and a man taking the unreasonable risk of walking on the shoulder of a dark highway was struck, an accident that could happen to anyone. Ravensborg has been a loyal Republican, better to have him stay on until the convention and then fade away.

  16. grudznick 2021-11-28

    Most Republicans, Mr. Blundt, do not really understand what Mr. Ravsnborg is nor how he got elected or might or might not get elected again.

    They just know he killed a guy. And is funny looking. And they want him gone.

  17. ArloBlundt 2021-11-28

    Yes, Grudz, he might get elected again…having him on the ballot would be a wonderful windfall for the Democrats.

  18. Nick Nemec 2021-11-29

    I have spoken to Speaker Gosch in person and asked him to keep me and other family members, especially Joe’s widow, in the loop concerning impeachment proceedings. If the information is posted on the LRC website is not intuitively obvious where the info is located on the website. I feel I am slightly more adept at understanding legislative matters than many and I am struggling to understand this process being made unnecessarily complicated by the Speaker.

  19. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-11-29

    I am disappointed, Nick, that Speaker Gosch isn’t affording you and your family, not to mention the rest of the state, with clear updates on the progress of impeachment. You are right: LRC is doing a poor job of putting the information up. The front page of the LRC website doesn’t mention impeachment. With the Special Session info gone from the front page, I now have to click the “All Sessions” button, then remember that impeachment is under the second Special Session, then click on that line’s “Committees” link (nothing on the Sessions archive page mentions impeachment, then click on the “House Select Committee on Investigation” (once again, no mention of the word “impeachment” to signal to curious newcomers where to find the information they want).

    Even if an intrepid clicker makes it that far, the Select Committee on Investigation’s webpage offers very little information right now. The only agenda is from the brief November 10 meeting; there is no agenda for the next meeting or even an indication of when it might take place. The minutes exist only in the untranscribed audio. The only document posted is the “Initial Staff Briefing – Presentation,” which studiously avoids putting the word “impeachment on its title page or outline and doesn’t mention that impeachment is the purpose of this Second Special Session and this Select Committee until slide #4.

    If it weren’t for folks like Nick explaining to people where to find the information, South Dakotans might not have any idea that the Legislature is conducting impeachment proceedings.

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