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House panel recommends not impeaching attorney general

Impeachment Inquiry
Lee Strubinger
The House Select Committee on Investigation.

Most House impeachment inquiry members say Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg should not be impeached.

That decision comes after months of investigation into the fatal car crash involving Ravnsborg and a Hyde County resident.

The impeachment inquiry voted along party lines Monday to adopt a report that does not recommend impeaching Ravnsborg. The vote was 6 to 2.

Republican Rep. Mike Stevens, from Yankton, made the motion to adopt the majority report.

“I felt that there wasn’t enough facts that were clear and convincing, which is the burden of proof that we had to follow, in order for us to find an impeachable offense," Stevens said.

Democratic Rep. Ryan Cwach, from Yankton, said the investigation showed Ravnsborg was distracted.

“No one knows by what,” Cwach said. “The attorney general hasn’t been able to say what he was distracted by. That was informative to me. The North Dakota investigators — the law enforcement officials — saying that they felt confident in their experience and expertise that the attorney general was not being truthful with them in their investigation.”

Cwach said that suggests malfeasance.

Gov. Kristi Noem issued a series of tweets Monday night saying, in part, that the committee is "covering for Ravnsborg." She called the committee's decision "unacceptable."

The impeachment committee has said it will release the full investigation file, minus redactions.

Nick Nemec is the cousin of Joe Boever, who was struck and killed by the attorney general. Nemec said Boever did not receive justice.

“Attorney General Ravnsborg can kill a man and get away with it. I feel he was undercharged, with the criminal charge — a few misdemeanors," Nemec said. "Now, apparently killing a man while driving is not an impeachable offense in this state.”

Ravnsborg pleaded no contest to a pair of misdemeanors in the criminal case stemming from the accident.

A spokesperson for Ravnsborg was not immediately available Monday evening.

The full House of Representatives is scheduled to meet on April 12 to determine whether or not to impeach Ravnsborg.

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