Attorney General impeachment panel to issue cease and desist notice to Gov. Kristi Noem
PIERRE — South Dakotans will have to wait a few more weeks to find out if their attorney general will face impeachment.
The House Select Committee on Investigation announced Thursday the information gathering phase of its process of determining whether Jason Ravnsborg should be removed from office has concluded and a report of its findings will be delivered to the state House of Representatives by the end of March.
However, House Speaker Spencer Gosch, the Glenham Republican who's presided over the months-long process of vetting the attorney general's conduct related to a fatal crash in September 2020, said no decision has yet been made by the committee about any such recommendations.
"We will make that decision at that time," Gosch said, referring a tentative plan to reconvene on March 28, following the Legislature's Veto Day, to finalize the report and issue a formal recommendation.
And based on language in the resolution that triggered the impeachment probe, the House will not be able to take any formal action on the report and recommendations for at least 14 days after representatives receive it. Gosch said the House will reconvene on April 12.
The development comes a day after Public Safety Secretary Craig Price issued a letter to Gosch, stating based on the facts surrounding the crash investigation into the death of 55-year-old Joe Boever, the attorney general is unfit to hold the office.
The letter also stated law enforcement discovered several unsavory text messages on Ravnsborg’s phone disparaging to Boever as well as members of the South Dakota criminal justice system.
Gosch and other members of the House Select Committee on Investigation responded publicly by accusing tGov. Kristi Noem, who oversees the Department of Public Safety, of further meddling in the committee's work by trying to generate public pressure for impeachment.
And Gosch said Thursday a cease and desist order will be issued in the coming days in an attempt to compel the Noem administration to stop making public statements and press releases related to Boever's death and the attorney general.
"I still stand on what she's doing is inappropriate," he said. "We have a job to do and we've asked her numerous times to stop. And we're going to ask her one more time."
The governor's office did not immediately respond to request for comment.
A redacted version of the crash investigation report compiled by the South Dakota Highway Patrol with the assistance of North Dakota investigators will be made public at the time the committee's recommendations are delivered to the House of Representatives.
The ultimate decision on whether to impeach will be that of the entire state House, which needs a simple majority to pass articles of impeachment. That decision will not be contingent on the committee's recommendations.
Should the House choose to impeach during its April 12 gathering, a trial in the Senate would commence no sooner than 20 days later, according to the state Constitution.