Attorney General picks attorney to oversee investigation into Governor Noem’s potential misuse of state airplanes

Mark Vargo, who was appointed by Governor Kristi Noem to his post in June, has recused himself from an investigation into Noem’s potential misuse of state owned airplanes.
FILE - South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 25, 2022.
FILE - South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 25, 2022.(AP Photo/John Raoux, File)
Published: Sep. 9, 2022 at 1:42 PM CDT
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PIERRE, S.D. (KOTA) - The Hughes County State’s Attorney has been selected by South Dakota Attorney General Mark Vargo to supervise the investigation into an ethics complaint against Gov. Kristi Noem.

State’s Attorney Jessica LaMie will oversee the investigation into the governor’s use of the state airplane. A complaint filed by then-Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg claims the governor used the plane for campaign and personal reasons. Noem has denied such allegations on several occasions.

The complaint (No. 2021-04) was originally sent to the South Dakota Government Accountability Board which then referred it to the Attorney General’s Office.

“The Division of Criminal Investigation will promptly review and investigate this matter,” according to a release from the AG’s office.

Because he was appointed to the AG post following the removal of Ravnsborg, Vargo “requested that supervision of the investigation and any charging decisions will be undertaken by Jessica LaMie, Hughes County State’s Attorney. LaMie has agreed to oversee the investigation,” the release stated.

In a related story, the Government Accountability Board released more than 20 documents relating to a nepotism complaint against Noem.

The Attorney General’s office said that they would not comment further on the matter, nor release any reports or evidence regarding the allegations, until the investigation was complete.