South Dakota House Republican: Noem’s conduct ‘unacceptable’

February 24, 2022 GMT

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota House Republican introduced a resolution Thursday calling Gov. Kristi Noem’s alleged involvement in her daughter’s application for a real estate appraiser license from a state agency “unacceptable” and “injurious.”

Rep. John Mills said he had been thinking for months about proposing the resolution, which would have no force of law but would state the House’s opinion if it were passed. The resolution will next be considered by a House committee.

“To me, integrity is really important,” Mills said when asked why he brought the resolution.

Mills appears in a campaign video for Noem’s GOP primary challenger, Rep. Steve Haugaard. He insisted that did not affect his decision to bring the resolution, saying there was “absolutely zero political motivation behind this.”

But the governor’s spokesman, Ian Fury, dismissed Mills’ resolution as an attempt to use “the legislative process to launch campaign attacks.”

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Fury slammed Mills, pointing out that he filed only one bill during the current legislative session and adding, “Mills should spend more time serving his constituents’ interests and less time playing politics.”

Mills’ move comes amid sparring between Noem and House Republicans over the next state budget and several bills that deal with hot-button social issues.

Mills said he began looking into Noem’s conduct after The Associated Press reported last year that in July of 2020, the Appraiser Certification Program moved to reject Noem’s daughter Kassidy Peters’ application for an appraiser license because she hadn’t met federal requirements.

Days later, Noem held a meeting with her daughter, the director of the Appraiser Certification Program at the time and other key decision-makers in the agency. Peters received an extra opportunity to show her appraiser work could meet federal requirements and she received her license months later. Shortly after that, the agency’s director, Sherry Bren, was pressured to retire.

Noem has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and implied that Bren was standing in the way of efforts to make it easier for potential appraisers to get licenses.

The state’s Government Accountability Board is also evaluating a complaint from the state’s attorney general against Noem for her conduct. It has given her until April to respond to the complaint.