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Noem acknowledges daughter attended meeting last year

Gov. Kristi Noem.

Governor Kristi Noem is acknowledging a meeting took place that involved her daughter and the head of the state's appraiser certification program.

At the time, Noem’s daughter was seeking an appraiser certification license.

Thursday was the first time Gov. Noem spoke to reporters since an Associated Press report detailing a July 2020 meeting involving the head of an appraiser licensure program, the governor and Kassidy Peters — Noem’s daughter.

The AP reports Peters’ application was slated for denial in 2020, but Peters received her license later that year. The head of the program said she was later forced to retire and subsequently settled with the state for $200,000.

Going back and forth Thursday with Associated Press reporter Stephen Groves at a press conference, Noem was asked about the ethics of involving her daughter in a meeting about appraiser licensure while her daughter was seeking a license.

“She was there speaking to the program,” Noem said.

“And her license was pending before the program,” Groves countered.

“No, the decision was already made on her path forward and, let me be clear, Stephen, and print this," Noem said. "She went through the exact same process that other appraisers did in the state of South Dakota. She at no time received special treatment.”

Noem said Bren’s settlement has nothing to do with Noem's daughter.

Last week, in front of the Legislature's Government Operations and Audit Committee, state Labor Secretary Marcia Hultman confirmed several top lawyers from the department and the governor’s office — as well as the governor's chief-of-staff — attended the meeting in July 2020 with Gov. Noem, her daughter and Bren.

The Department of Labor oversees the Appraiser Certification Program. During last week's hearing, Hultman said Peters’ application was discussed at the July 2020 meeting.

“At the very end of the meeting we discussed a possible plan forward for Ms. Peters, which had been determined prior to the meeting," Hultman said. "It was a brief discussion at the end, but that plan had already been set in place.”

Noem said Thursday that her daughter's licensure situation did not come up during the July 2020 meeting.

Members of the legislative committee want to see documentation of the plan that Hultman referenced. The governor said the file won’t be released to the public because it would set precedent for the release of other personnel files.

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.
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