Government Accountability Board brings on outside counsel to handle Noem ethics complaints

The Government Accountability Board has asked Sioux Falls area attorney Mark Haigh to consult them on two ethics complaints filed against Gov. Kristi Noem.
Room where the South Dakota Government Accountability Board (GAB) typically meets in the...
Room where the South Dakota Government Accountability Board (GAB) typically meets in the Minnehaha County Courthouse complex.(Austin Goss DNN/KOTA)
Published: Jun. 27, 2022 at 12:14 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - The Government Accountability Board (GAB), made up of four former judges and justices, has brought on Sioux Falls area attorney Mark Haigh to provide legal counsel to them in regards to ethics complaints surrounding Gov. Kristi Noem’s conduct in office.

The board met for just over an hour Monday, with most of that meeting taking place in executive session, to discuss the two complaints filed against Noem by former Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg.

One complaint has to do with Noem’s use of the state airplane, the other in regards to a private meeting Noem had with state employees to help her daughter obtain an appraisal licenses.

Haigh is a partner at Evans Haigh & Arndt LLP in Sioux Falls. According to the firm’s website, Haigh is “primarily devoted to complex commercial litigation and serious personal injury litigation.” Haigh has tried over 45 jury trials.

Haigh did not wish to comment on his appointment to help with the complaints.

Ravnsborg, who was removed from office by the State Senate on two charges last Tuesday, attended the meeting Monday.

“I went to introduce myself and put a face to the name on the complaints,” Ravnsborg said. “Also, to advise GAB and bring their attention to the Government Operations and Audit Committee (GOAC) findings that were made public during their last hearing.”

The findings, published by the legislature’s GOAC committee, say that Noem’s daughter received special treatment in obtaining her appraisal licenses.

“I think it is good for our government to have transparency and accountability for all their elected officials, I believe in this process,” Ravnsborg said. “I believe that both claims have merit that warrants a full investigation on both... I would say that in light of these allegations, it is good that the State House and the Senate both have procedures for impeachment.”

Noem’s office did not wish to respond to the proceedings or the allegations by Ravnsborg. The next GAB meeting will take place on August 3rd at 10 AM.

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