At about the same time the Governor was blasting this cahootsery, her Secretary of Public Safety, Craig Price, who declared publicly last summer that Ravnsborg should have been charged with manslaughter for driving distracted and killing Joe Boever in 2020, issued a letter to Speaker of the House and chairman of the Ravnsborg impeachment committee Spencer Gosch to make an argument he was not invited to make before the impeachment committee: that Ravnsborg lied to investigators, that Ravnsborg has shown a pattern of irresponsible driving and using his office to get out of traffic citations, and that Ravnsborg and his inner circle has made “disparaging and offensive statements regarding other law enforcement officers, judges, a supreme court justice, a legislator, prosecutors, staff members, a former Attorney General, and a United States Senator”:
Secretary Price’s official news release accompanying this letter notes that the impeachment committee is meeting again Thursday at the Capitol. The committee convenes at 3 p.m. Central in Room 414 and has scheduled three hours of secret discussion with its lawyer, Sara Frankenstein. For his part, Speaker Gosch is looking at this obvious political pressure as a way to get out of holding one of the worst Republicans accountable:
“We’re having conversations right now about whether or not we can even proceed at this point,” Gosch said while questioning whether the entire process has been tainted by the governor’s involvement, which he characterized as “perverted” [Joe Sneve, “Text to Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg About Man He Hit Said ‘Well, at Least the Guy Was a Democrat’,” Sioux Falls Argus Leader, 2022.03.09].
Both Noem and Price are making it easier for Gosch to cry about political meddling by holding back on some key points. Noem is not telling us which appropriators—House, Senate, or both—met secretly with Ravnsborg, what the $1.5 million is for, and into which bill, whether special appropriations or the FY2023 budget, legislators are tucking that plum. Price, for his part, gives more details, but he leaves some crucial details out: what were the disparaging and offensive statements, at whom exactly were they directed, and did Ravnsborg himself say them or did he just chuckle or grimace as his cronies said them?
Governor Noem, if there’s sneaky money going into the budget, show us the line item, and tell us you will veto it.
Secretary Price, if you have documented evidence of language that would underscore Ravnsborg’s unfitness to hold his office as the highest law enforcement officer in South Dakota, put that language on the record now. If three mean tweets can cancel a Democratic candidacy for Congress, if one foul remark about an unnamed prostitute warrants a formal censure of a Republican candidate for Governor, then open insults toward an array of elected officials and public servants with whom the Attorney General is expected to maintain respectful relations are surely grounds for Jason Ravnsborg’s immediate resignation or impeachment and conviction.
Don’t play coy, Secretary Price. If Ravnsborg said the things you intimate, we should have heard them a year ago, or more, so we could remove this ineffective and undeserving Attorney General from office sooner. Publish the transcripts—post the texts.