The South Dakota House Committee has not recommended an AG impeachmentOn March 29, 2022 by editor
A South Dakota House committee is recommending that the state’s attorney general not face impeachment charges for his actions surrounding the deadly car crash of 2020.
By By Stephen Groves Associated Press
March 29, 2022, 2:07 AM
A 4 minutes reading
Governor Christy Neim has pressured Attorney General Jason Ravensberg to remove a fellow Republican from office. But a Republican-controlled House committee voted on the party line to issue a report to show that its actions did not qualify for impeachment. Lawmakers in the House of Commons may still file lawsuits against Ravensburg, but the committee’s decision was a major blow to those seeking to remove him from office.
Two Democrats on the nine-member committee have issued a minority report recommending impeachment.
The committee’s announcement brought tears to the eyes of Ravensburg’s widow, a pedestrian, on a rural highway in September 2020. As the committee met behind closed doors for more than four hours on Friday, Joseph Bower’s widow, Jennifer Bower, saw lawmakers through a window in the conference room, occasionally expressing frustration with lawmakers’ behavior when they appeared to discuss the report.
Attorney General Joseph Bower called the death a tragic accident and pleaded not guilty to a pair of traffic offenses in last year’s crash.
“It’s really frustrating, and I’m disappointed that Attorney General Ravensburg can kill a man and get away with it,” said Nick Nemeck, a cousin of Beaver who has publicly pushed for his impeachment.
Ravnsborg initially reported the crash as a collision with an animal and said he did not realize he had hit a man until he returned to the scene the next day and discovered his body. Criminal investigators suspected that account, but prosecutors said they were unable to prove that Ravensburg realized he had killed a man on the night of the crash.
The committee’s 22-page report presents an argument as to why Ravensburg’s behavior surrounding the crash did not meet the grounds for impeachment, which is listed in the state constitution as “drunkenness, crime, corruption, misconduct or misconduct in the office.”
House Speaker Spencer Gosh, a Republican, argued that the committee’s job was to keep a close eye on Ravensberg’s actions during the crash and whether they were indictable.
When asked by reporters if he thought Ravenburg was fit to stay in the office, he said: “There is nothing to do with it. We need to be clear and concise and have a real basis in the constitution for what we can do. “
Other Republicans say they remain uncertain even after reviewing the crash investigation.
Republican Mike Stevens said, “I felt that there was not enough information that was clear and credible, which is the burden of proof that he should follow.”
However, Noam, who has set himself up to run for office, quickly pressed the House to impeach Ravensburg within two weeks.
The question before the committee was whether the attorney general should continue as the top law enforcement officer in the state of South Dakota. It’s clear he shouldn’t be, “he posted on Twitter, hoping House lawmakers would” do the right thing. “
The committee’s legislators defied Noem’s pressure and listed in their report the way he tried to influence their work. The committee “unequivocally condemns” attempts to influence Noem’s committee, the report said.
Since severing ties with the governor after the crash, Ravensburg has pushed a pair of ethics allegations against Noem to the state’s government accountability board. When Ravnsborg is removed from office, Noem will get his replacement name.
A spokesman for Ravnsborg did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Democratic Republican Jamie Smith, who was on the committee, defended his job, but said he believed the attorney general had committed “corruption.” The minority report argued that Ravensberg was not approaching law enforcement officers investigating the crash and had “misrepresented” his cell phone use before the crash.
Another member of the committee, Democratic Republican Ryan Kovac, said: “The attorney general could not say what he was confused about.”