Apparently spurred out of his lethargy by Senator Lee Schoenbeck’s weekend excuse-popping, House Speaker Spencer Gosch finally picked a lawyer to help his special House committee investigate killer Jason Ravnsborg. Serving now as special counsel to the House Select Committee on Investigation for the impeachment of our Attorney General is Republican fixture Sara Frankenstein:
“I am honored that Speaker Gosch has entrusted me with this responsibility, and I look forward to serving the people of South Dakota in my new role,” said Frankenstein [Austin Goss, “Gosch Tabs Rapid City Lawyer for Impeachment Special Counsel Role,” KSFY, 2021.12.14].
Frankenstein has carried Republican water before, trying to stop voters from voting on the 2016 initiative capping payday loans at 36% interest and trying to stop Indians from voting in general.
Frankenstein worked for Marty Jackley when he lawyered at Rapid City law firm Gunderson, Palmer, Nelson, and Ashmore. She endorsed Jackley for Governor in 2018. Jackley is now running to replace Ravnsborg as Attorney General on the 2022 ballot.
So we could read Gosch’s appointment of Frankenstein to this important, arguably historic position five ways:
- Speaker Gosch chose Frankenstein because she is a competent, qualified lawyer well versed in weighty Constitutional matters.
- Jackley pressured Gosch to pick Frankenstein to guide the committee toward a rock-solid argument for impeachment, guaranteeing that Ravnsborg is eliminated from Jackley’s path back to the Attorney Generalship.
- Jackley pressured Gosch to pick Frankenstein to guide the committee away from impeachment. Jackley’s reasoning: removing Ravnsborg from office allows Governor Kristi Noem to appoint a replacement who could beat Jackley for the nomination by campaigning as the incumbent and the Governor’s favorite. There’s no way in heck Frankenstein would get that post-impeachment appointment (in no universe does Kristi Noem appoint to any position a Miss South Dakota who is smarter and more qualified for public office, not to mention younger and prettier, than the 1990 Snow Queen), so Frankenstein is the perfect choice to maximize Jackley’s chances of the 2022 nomination and her own best shot at Attorney General in the 2026 election when her friend Marty would leave that post to run again for Governor.
- Gosch and the GOP leadership picked Frankenstein to concoct a convoluted case against impeachment so they can protect themselves from establishing any precedent for holding elected Republicans accountable for any wrongdoing, even if that means letting an incompetent killer remain South Dakota’s top law enforcement officer for a few more months.
- Gosch and the House GOP caucus picked Frankenstein to gum up the impeachment works and take a petty swipe at Noem for pushing impeachment so hard.
Whatever the political calculus placing Frankenstein in this critical position, Sara can still take it easy for a few days—Speaker Gosch says the committee still won’t come back together to work on impeachment until after Christmas.