South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg is reviewing "concerns" about a meeting Gov. Kristi Noem called last year with top state employees overseeing the process for a real estate appraiser license sought by her daughter.
That meeting, which was first reported this week by The Associated Press, has raised eyebrows and led South Dakota Democrats to accuse Noem, a Republican, of abusing her power and engaging in nepotism. According to the AP, Noem's daughter Kassidy Peters also attended that meeting.
"I have been contacted by concerned citizens and legislators," Ravnsborg, a Republican, said in a statement first provided to the AP. "I am actively reviewing their concerns and I will be following the steps prescribed in codified law in relation to those questions."
The meeting in question took place just days after a state agency moved to deny Peters' application to become a certified real estate appraiser, the AP reported. Noem summoned Sherry Bren, the state employee overseeing the agency, in addition to the state labor secretary and Bren's direct supervisor.
Four months after the meeting, Peters obtained the certification. Soon after, the labor secretary called Bren to demand she retire. The episode came to light as the result of an age discrimination complaint Bren, 70, filed against the department. She left her job in March after the state paid her $200,000 to withdraw the complaint, according to AP.
Noem, a possible 2024 presidential contender, responded to the story on Twitter, accusing the press of "trying to destroy my children."
"This story is just another example of the double standard that exists with the media... going after conservatives and their kids while ignoring Liberals," she wrote.
Her office did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the attorney general's statement.
Peters began working toward the certification years ago, taking an entry-level job as a state-registered appraiser in 2016, working under a certified appraiser to gain experience, the AP reported. She applied for certification in 2019.
Noem and Ravnsborg have recently clashed. Ravnsborg faced misdemeanor charges for striking and killing a man with his car last summer, and Noem called on the attorney general to resign or be impeached.
Ravnsborg, who pleaded no contest to the charges and recently reached a settlement with the man's wife, faces the prospect of impeachment later this year.