SOOX FALLS, SD (AP) – The four retired judges who make up South Dakota’s Government Accountability Board, usually meeting only a handful a year, are almost unnoticed by the public. And he never pursued a public hearing complaint.
He is now preparing a high-profile weighty task to determine whether Government Christy Noam has twice abused the power of his office.
The board is barely 4 years old, created by legislation following public pressure for moral reform in the state government. It has met a total of 17 times, dismissing most complaints without public complaints on the grounds that it seeks to review allegations of “mismanagement” by officials or employees of executive branch offices across the state. Are beyond their specific purpose of “investigating.”
What are the charges against the name?
Attorney General Jason Ravensburg – the ninth Republican but no ally of the governor – referred two issues to the board. First, a Democratic lawmaker has called for an investigation into whether Naeem’s use of government aircraft violated the law. The second concern is whether the governor intervened in a state agency that was reviewing his daughter’s application for a real estate appraiser’s license.
Noam, who is in a position to bid for the White House in 2024, has denied wrongdoing and called the lawsuits political attacks.
The Associated Press’s report raises concerns from both Republican and Democratic state lawmakers that the governor met with his daughter and the director of a state agency to reject her daughter’s application for operator certification. Was gone
What can the board do?
It has a wide range of options. It can dismiss an ethics complaint in a private conference without even naming the person against whom the complaint was made. If it decides to continue the investigation, it may call for evidence and witnesses or even request the Criminal Investigation Division to initiate an investigation. If found to be in violation, the board can take a wide range of actions, from private operations to coursework or community service.
“This will be a real test of the new board, which we did not expect, but it is certainly appropriate,” said Karen Soli, a former Democratic lawmaker who led the board’s efforts.
Why was the board made?
Solly proposed the board in 2017 and received overwhelming support from Republican lawmakers, who were under pressure from voters after repealing a law passed by the electorate that repealed the Code of Ethics. The call for moral reform comes in the wake of a series of state government scandals, including a murder and suicide in 2015 after a couple stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from government programs, Solly said.
The board is two-way. Noam appointed one of his members – former Supreme Court Chief Justice David Gilbertson. For many years, Gilberton was a registered Democrat, but he told the AP last year that he had relinquished his party affiliation.
“It’s made up of people who have the ability to make good decisions, to say there’s nothing here, or we have to take a closer look,” said Mark Mickelson. Republican-majority legislature.
If a board member rejects himself, Naeem will name a replacement. “We can’t comment on the assumptions,” said Jordan Overterf, the governor’s spokesman, when asked how the governor would handle them.
How will the board proceed?
It is not clear. The board has set up a procedure that calls for an inquiry into the ethics complaint, but has never received a reference from the attorney general’s office.
Attorney General’s spokesman Tim Burman said the office had “no oversight of the work of the Government Accountability Board.”
He also declined to comment on whether the office had sent any documents to the board.
Overterf said Naeem’s office did not receive a notice of complaint from the board. Once the board receives a written complaint, it has 15 days to notify the person making the mistake, and 15 days to respond.
Assistant Attorney General Katie Mallery, who has been assigned to assist the board with procedural matters, said the board has not scheduled a meeting or decided how to handle referrals from the attorney general. Will It usually schedules meetings within 30 days of receiving the complaint.
Once it is found, the four retired judges are confident that there will be an audience.
“Something like that could hold the governor accountable, but I certainly never imagined it in my life,” Solly said. “God bless these four – there’s hard work ahead of them.”