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Governor Won't Say How Investigation Impacts Attorney General's Duties


Note: This story was updated 5:32 pm 9/15/2020

It’s not clear if the governor has the legal authority to put Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg on leave during the investigation of his fatal collision over the weekend. The state constitution puts impeachment authority for certain state officers with the legislature, but it doesn’t say if the Attorney General can be removed on a temporary basis otherwise.

Governor Kristi Noem told reporters she hasn’t yet considered putting Ravnsborg on leave.

She says the attorney general oversees the Department of Criminal Investigation, which is not involved in this case. She would not say how Ravnsborg’s duties are impacted by the ongoing investigation.

“I can’t speak to that right now at this point in time," she told press on Tuesday. "But I do want everyone to know there is a reason we brought in BCI from North Dakota. It is to have that accountability in an outside organization involved in the investigation, and also why we’re in consultation with a third party crash investigation company that will come in and add that kind of accountability that I wanted in this exact situation.”

The governor wouldn’t say if she had prior knowledge of the statement Ravnsborg released late Monday night. In it, he offers details of the collision and discovering Boever’s body. These have not yet been confirmed by law enforcement.

The South Dakota Department of Public Safety will release the investigative report when it’s complete, but there is no timeline for when that may be.