South Dakota AG investigating billboards pushing impeachment

March 29, 2022 GMT

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The South Dakota attorney general’s office on Tuesday said it will launch an investigation into whether state campaign finance disclosure laws were broken by a political organization that sponsored billboards to push state lawmakers to impeach Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg.

The attorney general’s chief of staff, Tim Bormann, said the office has received two formal complaints about the billboards, and it was still determining how the investigation would be handled given the potential conflict of interest over the billboards.

“A decision has not been made yet on whether those will be handled internally or if they will be handled by an outside entity,” Bormann said.

An organization launched to further Gov. Kristi Noem’s agenda sponsored the billboards in Sioux Falls this month. The signs demanded Ravnsborg be impeached and named four members of the House committee which has been investigating whether Ravnsborg’s conduct related to a 2020 crash that killed pedestrian Joe Boever.

Ravnsborg’s office first confirmed the investigation to the Argus Leader on Tuesday. The House committee late Monday recommended that Ravnsborg face no impeachment charges, but the full House chamber will convene on April 12 to consider that recommendation.

The nonprofit organization that sponsored the billboards, the Dakota Institute for Legislative Solutions, said in a statement that it “has fully complied with all applicable state laws and regulations in regards to our grassroots-issue advocacy operations. Any allegation or suggestion otherwise is outrageous and defamatory.”

The organization spent over $24,000 for the billboards, but has not disclosed its top donors. Noem and her campaign have denied any involvement in the billboards.