Dakota War College, the South Dakota Republican spin blog that Governor Kristi Noem sponsors, has remained silent about Sherry Bren’s testimony about Noem’s corrupt, nepotistic intervention in her daughter Kassidy Peters’s real estate certification application. Noem’s office and her party have been busy disparaging Bren, but the spin blog still hasn’t figured out how to explain or address damning testimony of special treatment for the Governor’s daughter that has made national headlines (not just reprints of the local press and AP, but detailed original reports from the Washington Post and CNN). The spin blog can’t even muster up the courage to defend its sponsor from attacks from her primary opponent, let alone challenge the assessment of SDGOP éminence grise David Volk that Noem’s conduct in this scandal has been “unbelievable” and “despicable”.
The problem the spin blog has in doing its third-prettiest sponsor’s bidding (second and first are Marty Jackley and Dusty Johnson—hubba hubba!) on this nepotism scandal is that Noem’s one rebuttal point—an attempt to misrepresent a 2017 stipulation agreement from the Office of Hearing Examiners as evidence that the special third try for the Governor’s daughter arranged by Noem’s Department of Labor and Regulation was not special treatment—is simply, patently false. When Senator Wayne Steinhauer introduced the 2017 stipulation agreement that had just happened to fall into his hands at Tuesday’s hearing, Bren explained on the spot why that document was not at all the same thing as the special treatment the Governor’s daughter got. Bren’s explanation seemed to deflate any gotcha power that Steinhauer (or the people who fed him the 2017 document) thought it would pack, as praised Bren for her “very good” memory” and her “straightforwardness”.
Perhaps the spin blog nervously recognizes that the rhetorical tack (Bren lied about the uniqueness of Peters’s deal, so Bren must be lying about everything) that the Governor’s office staked on this false comparison too easily pivots to destroy his sponsor’s credibility:
[Democratic Representative Linda] Duba does not think Sherry Bren lied. She also noted that other officials had also made false statements, including Secretary Hultman, who at a previous hearing had claimed there had been no other denials of appraisal certificates such as Peters in recent years.
“We learned that there had been a denial in the 2019/2020 window, and if you go back to the previous testimony when [Hultman] was speaking she told us there hadn’t been any denials in 4 years,” said Duba.
Under Fury’s proposed use of ‘falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus’, it follows that it could be questioned if the rest of Hultman’s testimony should also be considered false since she was wrong about the denials.
“Let’s take it one step further,” said Duba. “The Governor indicated that there were no special favors done for her daughter — that it was by the book. She also said that they didn’t talk about her application. Neither of those statements are true. So do we now need to say Subpoena the Governor?” [links added; Jacob Newton, “What’s Next with Appraisal Issue Following Sherry Bren’s Testimony?” KELO-TV, 2021.12.15].
Noem’s office has tried misrepresented one document as evidence that one point Sherry Bren made in her testimony Tuesday was a lie. But Noem has told at least two lies about her intervention in her daughter’s struggle to pass the real estate appraiser certification requirements. So even if Bren had been mistaken about whether anyone else in her 30 years directing the Appraiser Certification Program had gotten a third chance at earning certification, wouldn’t Noem be at least twice as big a liar?
Don’t expect any analysis on that point from Noem’s constantly deceptive and now dumbstruck spin blog.
Falsa in duum, falsa in omnibus…