South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem under investigation for use of state-owned airplane

Gun Rights
  • South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is under investigation over whether she violated a 2006 law that says the state aircraft can only be used for state business. 
  • Noem has also been criticized for using the aircraft for out-of-state political appearances and family matters.
  • Violation of the law imposes a $1,000 with an additional fine of 10 times the cost of travel.

South Dakota’s Gov. Kristi Noem is under investigation for her use of the state-owned plane after she took several trips on it that walked the line between official and personal matters.

In 2019, Noem flew several times to events hosted by political organizations, which included the National Rifle Association, Turning Point USA, and the Republican Jewish Coalition, according to the Associated Press.

According to the outlet, these, along with other trips, sparked a complaint to the state ethics board on whether or not she violated a 2006 law enacted by voters that says the state-owned airplane can only be used for state business. 

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Noem has also used the state aircraft to attend family events, including her son’s prom, according to AP. 

In one of Noem’s trip itineraries, she decided to return to Watertown near her home in Castlewood to see her son attend his high school prom instead of staying overnight in Pierre, where another trip would begin, making the plane pick her up again the next day, according to AP.

Noem’s campaign spokesperson Ian Fury defended Noem’s itinerary. 

“Part of official travel is returning from official travel,” Fury told AP.

Additionally, in her first term as a governor, Noem’s children, excluding Kennedy Noem, who acts as her policy analyst, joined her on nine plane trips, according to the AP. 

The complaint has been referred to the state’s Division of Criminal Investigation.

Penalties for violating the 2006 law include a fine of $1,000 with an additional fine of 10 times the cost of travel, along with a maximum 30-day jail sentence, according to AP. 

“We weren’t hoping to convict anyone of anything,” State Senator Nate Nesiba, who proposed the ballot in 2006, said. “We were hoping to make a deterrent.”

Insider reached out to Noem’s office, but did not immediately recieve a response. 

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