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House forms impeachment inquiry into Attorney General's conduct following fatal crash

South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, pictured in 2019, is facing impeachment proceedings and calls to resign after the release of new details about the September 2020 car crash in which he fatally struck a pedestrian.

House lawmakers are forming a committee to investigate Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg's conduct following a fatal car crash in the fall of 2020.

House lawmakers also want to make the investigation into the crash open to the public.

It's the first time in state history a committee has been formed to consider impeaching a constitutional officer.

House lawmakers voted 58 — 10 in favor of forming the committee, which includes legislative leaders and members of the judiciary committee.

Attorney General Ravnsborg has not been impeached. The House wants to investigate whether Ravnsborg's conduct following the fatal car crash that took the life of Hyde County resident Joe Boever is impeachable.

Ravnsborg plead 'no-contest' to a pair of misdemeanors.

Governor Kristi Noem and several statewide law enforcement groups have called on Ravnsborg to step down.

Republican Rep. Will Mortenson brought an impeachment resolution during regular session earlier this year. He says lawmakers owe the public a fair and transparent process on impeachment.

"We are plowing new ground here," Mortenson says. "This is unprecedented in state history, which means we need to be thoughtful and keep in mind the public, the family of any victims here and the subject of impeachment, as well. We've got to be mindful of all our obligations, here, as we set precedent."

The House also voted in favor of releasing hundreds of pages of investigation documents into the fatal crash, which includes hours of audio and video interviews. It wants to redact any confidential and "nonrelevant" information.

It's not clear when the investigation materials will get released to the public.

A spokesman for the Attorney General has not returned requests for comment.

Lee Strubinger is SDPB’s Rapid City-based news and political reporter. A former reporter for Fort Lupton Press (CO) and Colorado Public Radio, Lee holds a master’s in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.