SD Legislative committee to subpoena documents, witness in Noem appraisal probe

The South Dakota Legislature’s Government Operations and Audit Committee (GOAC) voted overwhelmingly Monday to subpoena documents and testimony in regards to how Governor Kristi Noem’s daughter got certification as a residential real estate appraiser.
South Dakota State Capitol (FILE)
South Dakota State Capitol (FILE)(DAKOTA NEWS NOW)
Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 11:08 AM CST
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PIERRE, S.D. - Ten South Dakota state lawmakers on the Government Operations and Audit Committee (GOAC) have agreed to pursue a subpoena ordering the state’s Department of Labor to turn over the plan and other related documents regarding how Governor Kristi Noem’s daughter, Kassidy Peters, obtained her appraisal licenses in 2020.

The Department of Labor had denied several FOIA requests from media outlets for those documents, and did not turn them over to GOAC when they previously requested them.

The committee also voted to subpoena Sherry Bren, the former Executive Director of the state’s real-estate appraisers program. Bren had previously agreed to testify before the committee only if subpoenaed and if her lawyer, Tim Rensch of Rapid City, could also be present.

Both subpoena votes were 8-2, the dissenting votes both times coming from Republican State Senators Jean Hunhoff (R-Yankton) and Wayne Steinhauer (R-Hartford).

“I think while we all may be interested in this topic, the question in my mind is where is it going to lead?” questioned Steinhauer. “On one hand, you can think there all sorts of nefarious things that happened at this meeting and the fact that we had a private citizen, Kassidy, involved. On the other hand, it could be that the Governor chose someone who had experience with the department to take part in the meeting.”

Steinhauer also pointed out that the Government Accountability Board, another government oversight committee, is likely still looking into the matter themselves.

The committee agreed to keep all documents turned over by the Department of Labor confidential.

Secretary of Labor Marcia Hultman testified before the GOAC committee last time they met that Peter’s had already had an agreed upon plan prior to the meeting that took place at the Governor’s Mansion in July of 2020. Hultman told the committee that Peter’s plan was only briefly discussed towards the end of the closed door meeting, which Noem would later contradict.

Both subpoena requests will have to be ratified by the legislature’s Executive Board, which will meet later this week.

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