Thursday, September 21

Mortenson files impeachment resolution

PIERRE, SD (KELO) — A Hughes County lawmaker officially filed a resolution Monday formally seeking the impeachment of South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg.

Representative Will Mortenson, R-Pierre, is the sole sponsor of HR 7002. It alleges that Ravnsborg committed crimes causing the death of Joe Boever on September 12, 2020, namely an illegal lane change, and that Ravnsborg committed acts of malfeasance afterward.

The South Dakota House of Representatives will decide the matter Tuesday when its members reconvene in a special session at 11 am CT to decide whether to impeach Ravnsborg.

This final act by the House comes exactly 19 months after Boever, a pedestrian, was struck and killed by the private car that Ravnsborg was driving on the night of September 12, 2020. The vote comes on Ravnsborg’s 46th birthday.

South Dakota Highway Patrol investigators concluded that all four wheels of Ravnsborg’s 2011 Ford Taurus were outside the driving lane, across the rumble strip and on the shoulder of US 14 where Boever was walking just west of Highmore.

Mortenson, an attorney, brought the original resolution last year seeking Ravnsborg’s impeachment. House Speaker Spencer Gosch, R-Glenham, later amended it down so that the decision was delayed.

After the special session was called, Mortenson amended a second resolution, brought by House Republican leader Kent Peterson of Salem, regarding establishment of a select committee on investigation.

The resolution named Gosch as chair of the special committee and he appointed the eight voting members. The panel eventually voted 6-2 along Republican-Democrat lines against recommending impeachment. The panel issued a 20-page majority report and a one-page minority report.

The House on Tuesday will consider those reports and any resolution that might be brought by any member. Mortenson’s new resolution alleges that Ravnsborg’s malfeasance includes:

Identifying himself by his official title when he called 911 immediately after the crash and “made a direct misrepresentation to the dispatch officer, misleading first responders as to the crime he had just committed;”

During the investigation, Ravnsborg “made numerous misrepresentations and misstatements of fact to law enforcement and to the public regarding his conduct surrounding his criminal acts;” and

Ravnsborg “used assets of the Office of the Attorney General to benefit himself personally with respect to the investigation into his criminal activity.”

Mortenson hasn’t yet responded to a request for comment from KELOLAND News.

KELOLAND News will have coverage of the special session on Tuesday; look for a livestream from Pierre at 11 am CT.

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