Speaker Spencer Gosch is really looking hard for an excuse not to impeach killer Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg. Gosch tells SDPB that the Governor’s continued effort to persuade legislators to impeach Ravnsborg could constitute a mistrial:
“Why they continue to try to interject information into this investigation, try to put undo influence on a potential jury, is beyond me,” Gosch says. “It’s disgusting and it’s just a poor way to try to let the process run out.”
Gosch says the committee now has to discuss whether there’s cause for a mistrial.
The state constitution says the House is in charge of whether to impeach. If the House votes to impeach, the Senate holds a trial and decides whether to remove the impeached official from office [Lee Strubinger, “Letter from Noem Cabinet Official Rankles Members of Impeachment Committee,” SDPB, 2022.03.09].
Unfortunately, Democratic House Minority Leader Jamie Smith is giving Gosch cover for this potential dodge:
Democrat Jamie Smith sits on the impeachment committee. He says the timing of the letter is unfortunate.
“Because it muddies the water,” Smith says. “It’s been done several times throughout this process where this could have been a cleaner process without people trying to meddle, I believe, in what’s going on” [Strubginer, 2022.03.09].
The water still looks plenty clear to me, Representative Smith. Jason Ravnsborg broke the law and killed a man. He lied to cover his sorry backside. He has lost the confidence of law enforcement statewide. We can ignore the statements made by Governor Kristi Noem and her Secretary of Public Safety Craig Price entirely and still easily conclude that Jason Ravnsborg is unfit for office and should be impeached, convicted, and removed from office immediately.
Speaker Gosch, don’t let your feud with Governor Noem spill over into the solemn business of impeachment. You may want to say orange! every time Kristi Noem says blue, but that doesn’t mean that you should choose not to hold a terrible Attorney General accountable just because Noem says we should. Representative Smith, I know your impulse is to try to get along with your colleagues and act with excruciating caution in legal and legislative matters, but your caution is unwarranted here. Ravnsborg is guilty. Ravnsborg does not deserve his elected position and he can no longer effectively serve the people of South Dakota.
Forget the politics: do your duty. Impeach Jason Ravnsborg now.