Part-time Governor Kristi Noem and the largely inactive First Gent Bryon Noem are handing out goodies at the Governor’s Mansion tonight from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. “It can get a bit chilly, so be sure to dress warmly,” the governor warns.
Imagine how appraiser certification program head Sherry Bren found the governor’s mansion when she was summoned there on July 27, 2020, to be reprimanded for obstructing the real estate appraiser’s certification of the daughter of the governor.
The Legislative Assembly’s Government Operations and Audit Committee met on Thursday to hear about the outrageous meeting and the governor’s bold intervention in her daughter’s struggle to meet federal reviewer standards . We learned that the meeting took place at the governor’s residence, not his office on Capitol Hill, as the PA’s initial September 27 report indicated. We learned that the meeting involved not one but two lawyers from the Ministry of Labor and Regulation, as well as the governor, his chief of staff, his lawyer, his secretary of labor and, most alarmingly, his daughter, Kassidy Peters. .
And we’ve learned that Republicans on GOAC will continue to strive powerfully to avoid holding Republicans accountable for abuses of power.
DLR Secretary Marcia Hultman told GOAC that she and the Governor brought Bren in front of the Governor and her hapless daughter at the Governor’s Mansion to “talk about the current licensing process to become an assessor in South Dakota and the potential changes to this process “. Secretary Hultman said a plan was already in place to help struggling Peters complete his appraiser certification, so a meeting in which Lone Bren clashed with his boss the secretary, three lawyers, the governor, the daughter of the governor and the governor’s chief of staff while being presented with a letter denouncing Peters’ denial of certification, calling the assessment process “ineffective” and calling the Peters reviewer “unprofessional”. It couldn’t have been an effort to pressure Bren to treat Peters’ candidacy more favorably.
And Republican Senator David Wheeler (R-22 / Huron) bought this ruse:
Regarding Kassidy Peters’ request, it is that the conversations she had to obtain her license with Sherry Bren took place before the meeting at the residence. And that after that point his license was no longer in Sherry Bren’s hands. It was up to her, Kassidy herself, to complete her education and the independent reviewers who would then go to review the product of her work as part of her review.
And for me, it is important to stress that this is something that I learned again today. There are two ways of looking at this. The first is that the governor had a family member who was following the process and maybe there is a glimpse there that you can easily access to find out more. On the other hand, she had a pending permit application, and that creates the appearance of conflict that has generated all the controversy that has brought us here today… today indicate that there is no at no time had any pressure on Sherry Bren to have any effect on Kassidy Peters’ license [Sen. David Wheeler, quoted in Bob Mercer, “Governor’s Daughter Had Appraisal Plan in Place Prior to Meeting, Hultman Tells S.D. Legislators,” KELO-TV, updated 2021.10.29].
Republican Senator Jean Hunhoff (R-18 / Yankton) also semantically stumbled towards an apology, because, you know, all of us in management at one point call our subordinates for an intimidating gang when they don’t deal with our offspring as a gift from God to the organization:
What we did here was that a plan was developed beforehand, that there was an agreement, okay, so it was in place. Again, we don’t know all the details, but we do know that a plan has been put in place. So I think that said, you know, it was, and it’s open to anyone, we’ve heard that other people can have mentorship… I think unfortunately there is maybe had some action or behavior that was done, and all of us managing in our own businesses or whatever, sometimes we make mistakes, and we learn from that. So, I just hope it is. But I don’t think it was out of context in the sense that the plan was in place for this person to move on. [Sen. Jean Hunhoff, in Mercer, 2021.10.29].
Unrelated by partisan allegiance to the Snow Queen, the only Democratic senators on GOAC were able to speak more intelligibly about what Hultman was telling them:
We invited a person to this meeting who had, who was having difficulty getting certified. And clearly, the secretary said it was not a normal process, that it had not happened. You have to understand why it happened … [Sen. Linda Duba (D-15/Sioux Falls), in Mercer, 2021.10.29].
“It continues to look bad, but we can’t clear the air because we can’t ask the rest of the questions,” Senator Reynold Nesiba said. [D-15/Sioux Falls] after Hultman and a lawyer alongside him repeatedly declined to give details of what happened at the meeting which raised allegations of nepotism and abuse of power. “It seems to me that there are still a lot of unanswered questions and I’ll leave it at that” [Joe Sneve, “Nepotism Probe into Gov. Noem, South Dakota Labor Office Leaves Questions Unanswered,” that Sioux Falls paper, updated 2021.10.29].
Chief assessor certification Bren helped leave Senator Nesiba’s questions unanswered, who still didn’t understand the no-denigration clause the state made her sign in order to finalize the settlement. costly of his complaint of age discrimination does not prevent him from telling the facts about what happened at that meeting on July 27, 2020. Senator Wheeler and GOAC Chairman Kyle Schoenfish (R- 19 / Scotland) said exactly that during Thursday’s hearing. Sadly, Bren’s attorney Timothy Rensch of Rapid City (who helped assassin Republican Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg avoid being held accountable for his own crimes) advised him to be quiet and informed Senator Schoenfish on Wednesday. afternoon that his client “politely” declined GOAC’s invitation to testify. After the hearing, Bren let the press know that she was working with Rensch “to have the opportunity to provide relevant facts to members of the Government Operations and Audit Committee and to correct any factual inaccuracies provided to them by Sec. Hultman in his testimony today. “
The main factual inaccuracy that needs to be corrected is the idea that the governor can jump up the chain of command, drag a subordinate into the mansion to chew it up in front of lawyers and his own dissatisfied daughter, and then pretend it’s not. not special treatment for her daughter or abuse of her executive power.
Another major inaccuracy lies in citizens who believe that Republican lawmakers like Senators Wheeler and Hunhoff will never hold their Republican governor accountable for such abuse of power. The Republicans’ swallowing of Secretary Hultman’s big spoonfuls of hockey on Thursday demonstrates the inability of South Dakota’s one-party regime to soberly deal with genuine and blatant corruption. If you want responsibility, don’t expect it from GOAC; your only reliable option is to go into effect on November 8, 2022 and vote Noem for good.