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Gosch Shuts Public Out of Ravnsborg Impeachment Hearing

Evidently stung by one small victory for transparency, Speaker of the House Spencer Gosch (R-23/Glenham) has locked the first substantive discussions in the impeachment hearing on killer Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg behind closed doors:

The special House committee on Monday posted an agenda that shows executive sessions for all of Tuesday and for Wednesday morning.

The panel of nine representatives is scheduled to return to open public session at 1:30 p.m. CT Wednesday for “discussion and any action to be taken with regard to discovery” [Bob Mercer, “Legislators Take Ravnsborg Impeachment Probe Behind Closed Doors,” KELO-TV, 2021.12.27].

Speaker Gosch tells KELO-TV that the process needs a day and a half of secrecy “Because obviously as you know, client/attorney privilege is a privilege, right, so we need to establish what those grounds are going to be before we can move forward.”

I’ll suggest casually that the committee’s attorney, Sara Frankenstein, is really our attorney, working on our dime. We the people are the clients, and we’d like to hear what our attorney and our legislators have to say about impeaching the Attorney General.

On the good side, the House Select Committee’s agenda indicates the legislators will not adjourn Wednesday until 5 p.m., suggesting we could get three and a half hours of open discussion of the fate of a statewide elected official who killed a man through recklessness over fifteen months ago and remains in office enforcing laws that he broke.


  1. 96Tears 2021-12-28

    Maxwell Smart : I don’t think we should talk right here in the open, Chief, I think we should use the cone of silence.
    Chief : Oh Max, every time we use the cone of silence something terrible happens. Can’t you just write it to me on a piece of paper?

    So, it’s the old Cone of Silence trick, is it? How ridiculous. If they need the Cone of Silence to conduct the business of an impeachment of an publicly-elected Constitutional Officer of the State of South Dakota, they already have one. It’s called the Republican Caucus meetings. They are always closed to the public (unlike the Democrat Caucus meetings) and it’s where more than 90 percent of the Legislature hides the people’s business (as if that matters to them) at least once each Session Day.

    Apparently, cinching up their talking points and strategies with their attorneys behind closed doors isn’t enough. They must cloak the entire process. That makes me wonder if Killer Ravnsborg has legal representation. Why would anyone allow themselves to be tried in secret? How dumb is he?

    Gosch, Man without Spine yet Slithers to Podiums, seems to view all of this as a private, inner-party feud that must be kept as quiet and unobserved as possible. Damage control. Hopefully, the Killer will just resign quietly and all of this will be forgotten.

  2. Jake 2021-12-28

    So much for “Open-ness in government” when the people are constantly being shut out of the discussion of and by their representatives over delicate subjects. Of the nine behind closed doors only two are Democrats; Ryan Cwach and Jamie Smith. Remains to be seen, and how do current laws of “Closed to the Public” session laws cover such antics by the GOP?

  3. John 2021-12-28

    Gosch and his republicants are cowards. Political cowards. The worst type of cowards. Attorney-client privilege is the whispers between the client and counsel — not the entire proceeding. Gosch is not acting dumb. Rather it appears his cowardice and stupidity go to the bone.

  4. Mark Anderson 2021-12-28

    You know of course, they are covering their grasses. Its a bathroom in Pierre.

  5. Arlo Blundt 2021-12-28

    Well…no public, no press. We’re going to hang Ravenborg out of the sight of the people who put him in office. Even in the Wild West, hangings were public affairs.

  6. V 2021-12-29

    There is no good reason for secrecy except ….

    Gosch, young, inexperienced yet ambitious, does not want to look like a fool to the public. Never mind how he looks to his fellow jokers; he needs time to blunder through something he knows nothing about. By Wednesday afternoon, he should be able to speak without embarrassing himself again and again and again.

    How did he become the Speaker when he lacks speaking skills? The only thing he does publicly here is comment for high school boys’ basketball games on the local radio. You can imagine how the opponent’s last names are mispronounced because Gosche didn’t do his homework ahead of time. After half time, he’s warmed up and those names are old hat. Look out though when they toss the bench warmers in the last minute of the game. Their only time to play for the last 3 games, they make a basket and Gosch, pronounces it Assman instead of Ausman. Ouch

  7. ABC 2021-12-29

    Was there a vote on the secrecy? Was it 7-2 ? Did they vote on it?

    Nothing on website.

    Did the committee of 9 unanimously agree on the secret executive session?

  8. 96Tears 2021-12-29

    Good question, V: “How did he become the Speaker when he lacks speaking skills?”

    Skill has nothing to do with qualifications for office in South Dakota anymore.

    First test is if there is an R behind your name on the ballot. If yes, proceed. If no, get the heck outta here.

    Second test is “is it your turn?” If yes, you get the job. If no, the job goes to whomever is next in line.

    Third test is how radicalized are you? If completely bonkers, you might be in a primary against someone who’s not brown-nosing Trump. Or you might get a post in leadership just to show the other jackals that good things happen to those who go outhouse-rats-crazy.

    Fourth test is your answer to: Do you believe your duty is to govern or score points for yourself to increase your margin in the third test? If it’s the former, you might need protection from Senate Pro Tempore Lee Schoenbeck, one of the last sane Republicans in Pierre. If it’s the latter, well, the sky is the limit.

    Remember, politics and holding office is 100 percent transactional in Pierre. Stay in line and buy some knee pads because you’re gonna need them.

  9. Curt 2021-12-29

    I think the Executive Session for purposes of consulting with legal counsel meets the standard required by criteria prescribed within SD Open Meeting law. It may be unpleasant to recognize this but facts are often stubborn.
    As to the AG being tried in secret, this is not a trial. Assuming the House ultimately votes to impeach, the matter is then referred to the Senate. That is where a “trial” would take place.

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