After an investigation, the South Dakota Government Accountability Board on Monday ruled that Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) may have "engaged in misconduct" when she used her power as governor to score a real estate appraiser license for her daughter.
According to the Associated Press, the board found enough information to conclude that the application for the real estate license was approved as a result of the governor's intervention.
Noem's daughter, Kassidy Peters, surrendered her license in Nov. 2021, after the scandal became public and drew negative attention for the governor who is being considered as a possible vice presidential running mate for former President Donald Trump. After the ethics probe, however, Republicans have begun to turn on her.
The scandal happened when Peters was denied a real estate appraiser license in 2020 by the South Dakota state employee, Sherry Bren, who ran the agency at the time. Noem then called the woman into her office, as well as her daughter. Not long after, Peters was granted her license and Bren was told to retire by the Secretary of Labor.
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"The three retired judges on the Government Accountability Board determined that 'appropriate action' could be taken against Noem for her role in her daughter's appraiser licensure, though it didn't specify the action," said the Tribune.
The judges didn't make it clear how they would proceed, but board chair Lori Wilbur said the complaint was "partially dismissed and partially closed." It could still be reopened, however, she said.
There is another complaint that Wilbur cited about Noem using state-owned airplanes for political events, which was referred to the state attorney general for the next steps in the investigation.
The board handled the complaints only by case number and did not refer to Noem directly in either case. Ravnsborg provided the case numbers to The Associated Press.
"Knowing what I know as the complainant, Gov. Noem should be fully investigated for her abuse of power in getting her daughter an appraiser license, and Gov. Noem should be prosecuted for her criminal use of state resources for personal gain," former Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg said in a statement.