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House Should Vote Unanimously to Impeach Ravnsborg; Candidates, Voters, Noem, and Jackley Should Punish Those Who Don’t

The House of Representatives convenes tomorrow, Tuesday, at 11 a.m. at the Capitol to consider impeaching killer Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg. Seven House Republicans went on record with March 29 with the impeachment committee’s majority report saying Ravnsborg did nothing impeachable. Ravnsborg’s law school classmate Rep. Scott Odenbach (R-31/Spearfish)—who told investigators on December 7, 2020, that he gave legal advice to Ravnsborg on his September 15, 2020, press release about the deadly crash and averred for the public record that Ravnsborg is a “Boy Scout… a nice kind humble patriot that loves the country,” is declining to participate in tomorrow’s impeachment vote, which has the same practical effect as voting No.

Representative Will Mortenson (R-24/Pierre) is circulating draft articles of impeachment, but he’s declining to tell the media that he’s coming for Ravnsborg’s head. Tom Lawrence has Republican Representatives Charlie Hoffman, Fred Deutsch, and Tim Goodwin on the record in favor of impeachment. Lawrence cites the open ambivalence of several other Republican legislators as evidence that “the attorney general’s firewall of GOP backing—even outside of previous skeptics—might be in danger.”

You really shouldn’t need to play coy, Representatives. Jason Ravnsborg broke the law and killed a man. His fatal crash was part of a long pattern of reckless driving. He failed to tell the truth about his crime, and, as part of another long-standing pattern, he tried to use his official position to escape consequences for his actions.

Members of the House, impeach Jason Ravnsborg. You have no other moral choice.

But if enough House members let political games cloud their judgment, if Jason Ravnsborg escapes impeachment, what are we to do?

House members who do not vote to impeachment tomorrow should immediately resign. They will have demonstrated their inability to hold wrongdoers in elected office accountable for obvious and grievous crimes.

Absent such resignations (and there will be none, for cowards who cannot hold Jason Ravnsborg accountable will never hold themselves accountable), we may turn our attention to the June 7 primary. 32 incumbent House members face primary challenges—26 running for reëlection to the House, 6 trying to cross over to the Senate. Republican primary candidates, if you are trying to beat a sitting Republican House member, and if that Republican votes against impeachment tomorrow, you should immediately flood your local airwaves, doorknobs, and billboards with your incumbent opponent’s face next to unpleasant photos of Jason Ravnsborg (any photo will do). And you should immediately call Kristi Noem’s campaign and invite the Governor to come speak at your local primary campaign events.

Depending on how much damage GOP primary challengers can do, there are up to 18 House districts and one Senate district where Democrats are challenging incumbent House Republicans. Democrats, if you have a Republican opponent who fails to vote for impeachment tomorrow, you should slap Ravnsborg and your opponent on every online fundraising appeal you make, rake in big money, and hammer your Republican opponent as an enabler of corruption. Run on Ravnsborg every day, and force your opponent to defend and indefensible vote against impeachment. Every moment your opponent spends explaining the legal intricacies of why we shouldn’t impeach an elected official who breaks the law and kills a man is a moment when you are winning.

And in the 10 House districts and 7 Senate districts when Republican House incumbents face no Democratic opposition on the ballot, then if your representative votes against impeachment tomorrow, either immediately register as an independent and go collect 200+ signatures by April 26, or register Libertarian, go to the Libertarian convention in Chamberlain on April 23, and get yourself nominated for Legislature to run against your local impeachment coward.

Democrats might not be the only ones looking for independent candidates to challenge House incumbents. If good Goschy Republicans confuse their moral and constitutional obligations with their petty personal politics and vote against impeachment just to honk Kristi’s nose, the Governor could honk right back by using her mighty political machine to recruit conservatives to run as independents against any impeachment balkers. Seriously, Kristi: if certain Republicans want to play games with impeachment of this menace to your party, you can show them all how to play that game with eight million dollars.

Noem might not have to go as far as recruiting independents against anti-impeachment Republicans to make her point. She has plenty of Republican primary challengers she could back before risking any of her capital outside her party. But maybe such an investment would not be a risk. Maybe after three-plus years of hyper-partisan gubernatification, Noem could use Ravnsborg’s crimes and a vote against impeachment as a chance to demonstrate her ability to do what’s right, independent of party politics, even as she works to protect her party’s brand. After all, Jason Ravnsborg remains a total liability to his party. Keeping him on the payroll and on the ballot only makes Republicans look bad. Noem could fight that damage to her party by making clear that there is no room in her party or in South Dakota government for anyone who would defend Ravnsborg’s rank disregard for the law, public safety, and human life. She could walk into the Dell Rapids Dairy Queen and tell every voter there that she’d rather have Democrat Dan Ahlers come back to represent District 25 than suffer another term of impeachment-excusing Republican Jon Hansen in Pierre. Such a dramatic gesture could help remove Ravnsborg’s stain from her party and give her some useful bipartisan cred, and keep her Democratic gubernatorial opponent Rep. Jamie Smith from making too much political hay out of Ravnsborg’s crimes himself.

But the most pressing stain removal comes from wiping Ravnsborg off the ballot at the June convention. No matter how many Republicans vote against impeachment tomorrow, Ravnsborg is shamelessly plotting to march into convention to beg, borrow, or steal his way to the nomination. Seven counties have Primary Day contests for delegates to the SDGOP convention (June 23–25 in Watertown), and 194 precincts have Republicans competing for committeeperson positions, which also get to vote at convention. Many of those contests may be between followers Ravnsborg has recruited and sensible Republicans trying to put Marty Jackley and competence back in the Attorney General’s office. Jackley and Noem both should insert their cash and their names into those bottom-of-the-ticket contests and make clear to the party faithful that they face one simple question: do they want a real Attorney General, or do they want a useless, lawbreaking killer who will lose more lawsuits to liberals like Cory Heidelberger? (That last part shouldn’t be necessary, but it’s true, and it should give pause to any Ravnsborg nuts who think keeping Jason in office will help them win election lawsuits.) Anyone who answers, absurdly, that they prefer Jason over Marty should be crushed mercilessly with robocalls and get-out-the-primary-vote on June 7. Anyone who shows up at convention with a Jason button should be denied a seat. Noem and Jackley have the power to do that. They should use that power.

Outside all of that politicking, voters have a much simpler, easier obligation. Jason Ravnsborg is so incompetent and so morally bankrupt that he warrants an absolute response. If Jason Ravnsborg ends up on any ballot, vote against him. Watch the House vote tomorrow, and if your Representative doesn’t appear in the Yes column, vote against your Representative.

Of course, Jason Ravnsborg could spare everyone this moral choice by announcing his resignation before the House can vote. He could do so today to spare legislators the drive (and taxpayers the per diem). However, he could add to the drama by waiting until tomorrow—which an eager reader notes is Ravnsborg’s birthday, and which another eager reader notes is 19 months after he killed Joe Boever, so sure, let’s heighten the infamy of April 12—meeting the Speaker at the House Chamber door at 10:59 a.m., and handing him a copy of the letter of resignation that he is taking to the Governor’s office. By resigning within the next 24 hours, Ravnsborg would finally do Joe Boever’s family and the state of South Dakota some justice. He would remove his stain from our public institutions and his own party. And he would spare 62 House Republicans, even the ones who are willing to vote to impeach, from having to cast a vote that no one is eager to cast.

19 Comments

  1. 96Tears 2022-04-11

    A complete schmuck like Ravnsborg is hell bent on self-destruction, whether or not there are enough House members with spines in Pierre. I mean, just look at the video of his arrest the day before sentencing for his crimes involved with his killing of an innocent pedestrian, Joe Boever. He’s got entitlement written all over his face.

    I doubt there are enough spines in the House to send Ravnsborg packing, but I hope to be proven wrong tomorrow.

    You can bet on one thing. A schmuck of Ravnsborg’s order will always screw up. It’s just a matter to time before somebody puts him on ice or he ends up in prison. If and when the latter comes to pass, the schmuck will be spending a lot of birthdays behind bars where he will, no doubt, continue his social agenda and get to know a lot of people really, really well who will dress like he does. All orange.

    So, as a salute to Jason’s April 12 birthday and (hopefully) impeachment day, I offer this important guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NILt3mtONIk

  2. O 2022-04-11

    The question is not should Ravnsborg go to jail; that has already been answered (through our milquetoast legal system).
    The question is not should Ravnsborg pay restitution to the Boever family; that has also already been answered and dispensed.
    The only question is are this the actions we expect of an Attorney General? Unfortunately for justice, the GOP has a party before all mentality that saved President Trump from having to answer for his un-presidential conduct and has — so far — protected Ravnsborg.

    Maybe the question is backwards (because they is not a criminal trial, the presumption of innocence does not exist); has Ravnsborg at any step of this tragedy acted in a way an Attorney General ought to have acted?

    As for holding those responsible for their votes, when has that EVER happened for the GOP?

  3. mike from iowa 2022-04-11

    https://www.rawstory.com/jason-ravnsborg-2657132991/

    According to a report from the Daily Beast’s Tom Lawrence, embattled South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg (R) is on the precipice of impeachment after lawmakers in the state were given access to more information about his hit and run accident back in 2020 where he hit a man with his car and then drove off, leaving him to die.

    Couple of questionable statements made by Lawrence when he said Ravnsborg drove off and let Boevers die. The report said Joe died instantly and Ravnsborg did not immediately drive off.

  4. Mark Anderson 2022-04-11

    Come on, all he killed was a Democrat, get over it everybody. Score one for the good guys. That is the Republican mindset isn’t it?

  5. Kurt Evans 2022-04-11

    On the day before the crash, Joe had a prescription filled with 90 pills of the psychotropic drug lorazepam, which can cause suicidal ideations. The prescribed dosage was up to three pills per day. There were 12 pills left after the crash.

    Joe left town on foot after dark, didn’t ask anyone for a ride, declined a ride offered by a passing motorist, and never told anyone why he was out there.

    Jason says he was in the driving lane, he hadn’t set the cruise control yet, he looked down at the speedometer, he heard a sudden bang, and he fought to see through the shattered windshield and keep the car on the pavement.

    It still seems to me that Joe probably dove onto the hood in the driving lane to commit suicide, and that the collision on the shoulder probably happened when Joe’s right leg slid off the front of the hood.

    An initial collision on the shoulder violent enough to separate Joe from his lower leg would have separated him from his eyeglasses well before his face hit the windshield.

    And if Joe’s leg had been amputated when his body went onto the car rather than when it slid off, there would have been blood on the hood rather than just on the bottom of the car.

  6. Kurt Evans 2022-04-11

    “mike from iowa” writes:

    According to a report from the Daily Beast’s Tom Lawrence, embattled South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg (R) is on the precipice of impeachment …

    Isn’t Tom Lawrence the reporter who made national headlines by breaking the story of John Thune’s supposed retirement this year?

  7. Jenny 2022-04-11

    Noem just doesn’t really want her past driving record brought up anymore than it has to so she is making sure that she looks tough on people that speed, crash and kill people. She apparently has never liked Ravnsborg much so this is an easy political maneuver for her. If she had been buddies with Ravnsborg she never would have done all the things like releasing the ND investigator questioning video out early,

  8. DaveFN 2022-04-11

    Kurt Evans

    (1) “…which can cause suicidal ideations.”

    Your use of “can” rather than “does” is duly noted.

    Also, not that suicidal ideation is more common than completed suicide.

    https://www.aafp.org/afp/1999/0315/p1500.html

    How long had Joe been on lorezepam? Was it long enough for there to be dependence? How long does dependence take? Is it lorezepam dependence alone which leads to suicide and not a single prescription of lorazepam taken as not prescribed? Many questions behind your simplistic connection between the 90 pills theory and your suicide theory, questions to which you have provided no answers, if, that is, you have them.

    (2) “…he fought to see through the shattered windshield and keep the car on the pavement.”

    The windshield wasn’t shattered on the driver’s side of the vehicle.

    https://www.keloland.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/103/2020/09/16beforeAfterRavnsborg1-1.jpg?w=900

    (3) “And if Joe’s leg had been amputated when his body went onto the car rather than when it slid off, there would have been blood on the hood rather than just on the bottom of the car.”

    “Investigators found human blood along the passenger side of the vehicle, including the rear passenger side tire, on the passenger side kick paneling and the underside of the rear bumper. The vehicle’s headlights were also deemed to be illuminated at the time of the crash.”

    https://news.yahoo.com/learned-attorney-general-jason-ravnsborgs-221118236.html

  9. Nick Nemec 2022-04-11

    Mr. Evans theories of the crash that killed Joe Boever, unsupported by any facts or investigation, long ago began to sound like a broken record. If he bothered to read the reports or watch the HP briefing he would have a better understanding of the circumstances of 9-12-20. Perhaps I expect too much of a man who has run for statewide office multiple times. Thank God he didn’t win, America needs leaders who can learn and when presented with facts that contradict their preconceived notions can adjust as needed.

  10. DaveFN 2022-04-11

    Nick, we often say “someone’s mind is made up.”

    As such, the reason for such made-up minds seems to be one of arrested development, whether developmentally (stemming from limited childhood experiences) or existentially (eg., owing to lack of education), as either make little difference since the net effect if the same: the greater the intensity of fixed ideas people harbor, the less informed they prove to be. That in turn is correlated with the less informed they want to be and the fewer alternatives to their fixed ideas they are willing and/or able to accept.

    A former educator, I would like to think I might open minds. But such hope springs only eternal.

  11. John 2022-04-12

    We can rest assured the SD legislator will fail doing the right thing; will fail at accountability; will fail at personal responsibility.

    I’d welcome the SD legislature to prove me wrong.

  12. Dicta 2022-04-12

    Odenbach and Powers are likening Ravnsborg to Jesus. I kid you not.

  13. Misty 2022-04-12

    Keep it up Cory. Ravnsborg has been untruthful since the beginning. The guy is deceitful. He has no remorse.

  14. mike from iowa 2022-04-12

    Kurt, Sen. John Thune is suddenly expressing some doubts about seeking a fourth term.

    Back in March, he did the same thing, but a staffer told me was almost assuredly going to run in 2022. The figure used was in excess of 99%.

    That number may have slipped a bit, based on what Thune told CNN recently.

    The Republican from Murdo admitted he’s just not sure about running again. Yes, he has worked his way up to being the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, and if and when Sen. Mitch McConnell, 79, retires, he could become the Senate GOP leader.

    But McConnell, re-elected to a seventh term last year, said he isn’t going anywhere. Thune, however, is weighing his options, he told CNN.

    “Obviously, the opportunities in leadership is a consideration — for sure, it’s a consideration,” he said. “But there are lots of other (factors) too. … I’ve been doing it for 25 years. I think you gotta get into family considerations, personal considerations. And obviously it’s a place where we can make a difference, and that’s why you do it.”

    Thune, 60, noted that if he runs again and wins — which seems highly likely, with his popularity rating and $14 .6 million in the bank — he will have spent almost half his life in Congress.

    “It’s a six-year commitment,” he said.

    Typical, you blame the messenger just rtepeating Marlbro Barbie’s own thoughts.

  15. leslie 2022-04-12

    Maybe his hundred year old conservative deceased father recognized the evil and soulless Mitch McConnell for who he is and the path his son has chosen, is eating the Senator alive.

    Better to just “keep” that $14.6 million and fade back into obscurity. Mitch has surely, single-handedly brought the country as a democracy (except for 500 billionaires) to its knees.

  16. Kurt Evans 2022-04-12

    “DaveFN” writes:

    The windshield wasn’t shattered on the driver’s side of the vehicle.

    https://www.keloland.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/103/2020/09/16beforeAfterRavnsborg1-1.jpg?w=900

    Yes it was. Here’s a less blurry photo:
    https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/rapidcityjournal.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/4b/d4bef062-067b-5bba-95dd-65060011c805/5fa0495f7ebc2.image.jpg

    Investigators found human blood along the passenger side of the vehicle, including the rear passenger side tire, on the passenger side kick paneling and the underside of the rear bumper.

    Yes, and none on the hood, where Craig Price claims Joe’s body rode AFTER the amputation.

  17. mike from iowa 2022-04-13

    Less blurry pic of unshattered driver side windshield also shows attached passenger side mirror. Optical illusion, Kurt?

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