A committee to investigate the indictment of SD attorney general’s stalls, 2 weeks after the first meeting
The first impeachment select committee in South Dakota history opened with an anti-climate whine earlier this month when a handful of lawmakers heard by a staff lawyer that their task, although historic, also involved numerous warnings and dismissals.
Justin Goetz, chief researcher and legal analyst at the Legislative Research Council, did recite the text from House Resolution 7001 telling the committee that their scope was “on the conduct of Attorney General (Jason) Ravnsborg surrounding the death of Joe Boever”.
When Gosch asked Goetz whether the phrase “in office,” which follows “misdemeanors” on the litany of impeachment-eligible offenses in Rushmore’s state constitution, Goetz deviated, noting that it was a better question for the special advocate the committee had agreed to hire.
And at one point, perhaps baffled by the open timeline, Rep. Kevin jensen, R-Canton, asked how long a response time should contain hypothetical subpoenas.
“It’s way beyond the scope of anything we’ve done,” said Jensen, who added he “was just trying to figure out how to get things done in a timely manner.”
South Dakota, according to a recent survey, are widely behind the arraignment of Ravnsborg for hitting and killing Boever, who walked along a dark freeway after his truck hit the ditch just west of Highmore, South Dakota, on September 12, 2020.
After Ravnsborg’s vehicle struck Boever, he told the county dispatch that he may have struck a deer. He missed Boever’s body that night in a quick and subsequent search for a dark ditch. Then Ravnsborg borrowed the county sheriff’s personal vehicle and returned to Peter.
Ravnsborg ultimately pleaded without question to two offenses of irresponsible conduct.
But if and when the South Dakota legislature impeaches the Republican, it might only be months away from an upcoming GOP summer convention, where former Attorney General Marty Jackley would be the frontrunner to be at. again the party’s candidate for the 2022 elections.
In addition, the select committee of the Legislative Assembly did not keep the quickest of calendars. After meeting over two weeks ago, they haven’t met since. On Tuesday, November 23, Gosch told Forum News Service that “probably next week” would be the team’s next meeting.
Jenny Boever, center, widow of Joe Boever, wipes away tears as she sits next to her mother Deanne Smith and Joe’s cousin Nick Nemec. Jenny Boever was in the gallery listening on Tuesday, November 9, 2021 during the special session to consider the impeachment against South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg who killed pedestrian Joe Boever in a car crash last year. Matt Gade / Republic
“News for me,” Nick Nemec said via email Tuesday. Nemec, who is Joe Boever’s cousin, stood in the hallway shaking hands with conciliatory lawmakers during the Legislative Assembly session ahead of an impeachment vote on Nov. 9, but said “they won’t certainly not keep me informed “.
On Wednesday, November 24, the vice-chairman of the committee, Rep. Mike Stevens, R-Yankton, also said he had yet to confirm a meeting for next week. When asked if they had hired the special advocate yet, Stevens replied, “You should talk to the speaker about it.”
When the committee continues, certain powers are stated. They can call witnesses, they can review documents and, thanks to a transparency amendment from Rep. Will mortenson, R-Pierre, the investigative documents will also be shared with the entire House and possibly members of the public.
But another the fight for transparency is brewing. Gosch has so far refused to release a list of lawmakers who voted to call a special session in the first place, amid mounting threats from another round of lawsuit by the South Dakota Newspaper Association and the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. On Tuesday, a lawyer for one of the media plaintiffs confirmed that he would likely take legal action in early December.
With less than two months of the full legislative session, it is quite possible that the work of the select committee will be put on hold until January. Pierre is notoriously calm during the first week of sitting. Once the business gets started, slipping into controversial historic impeachment hearings could be a tough sell to lawmakers.
One thing is certain. Whether or not the committee finds that Ravnsborg has committed impeachment offenses, at some point the members of the select committee will have to make their findings known to the rest of the legislature.
“No matter what you find, the committee has to report back to the House,” Goetz said.
Whether it came from the snow or the spring blossoms on the banks of the Missouri River is a guess.