If you only skim the daily (well, almost daily) ethics warm-ups here, you might have missed this disgusting story, brought to you by the corrupt legal and political system in South Dakota. I’ve posted about it twice, so here is a summary to bring you up to date. On September 14, 2020, I wrote in part,
South Dakota’s Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg–he’s a Republican— reported hitting a deer over the weekend. In fact, his car hit and killed a man whose body wasn’t discovered until the next morning, the Department of Public Safety said today. Governor Kristi Noem confirmed that the Attorney General had been involved in a fatal crash. Ravnsborg told the Hyde County Sheriff’s Office that he hit a deer on the highway. At this time it is not known if Ravnsborg stopped to confirm that he hit a deer…It is unknown as of now whether if Ravnsborg called 911 or someone else, but the press has requested recordings of all calls related to the accident The body of 55-year-old Joe Boever was discovered the next morning.
On Feb. 26, 2021, I posted this update:
South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg was engaged in a fatal hit-and-run accident as discussed briefly on Ethics Alarms last September. He told law enforcement that he thought he had hit a deer on his way home from a social event. Prosecutors announced that they were only pursuing misdemeanor charges against him, which is beyond outrageous, especially since detectives found a pair of broken reading glasses inside Ravnsborg’s Ford Taurus.
They belonged to the man he killed, though Ravnsborg said he didn’t know he had hit a man until the following day, when he returned to the scene and found the body of Joseph Boever, 55, in a ditch. This means that either 1) he then took the glasses as a souvenir, which is creepy 2) the deer he hit was wearing…no, that doesn’t work, never mind, or 3) the dead man’s head came through the windshield, as one of the detectives concluded in an interview released by the South Dakota Department of Public Safety on Tuesday.
Incredibly, Ravnsborg says that he will not step down! “At no time has this issue impeded his ability to do the work of the office,” his spokesman said in a statement. WHAT? The fact that the public now knows that its top law enforcement officer is a liar, a drunk driver (this was why he didn’t stop, of course), guilty of manslaughter and a coward doesn’t undermine his ability to do his job? If he really thinks that, let’s add “idiot” to the list.
This week, a bipartisan group of lawmakers filed two articles of impeachment against Ravnsborg and South Dakota Governor Kristi L. Noem (R) called for his resignation. That’s a start. Now let’s see the hacks that only charged Ravnsborg with three misdemeanors for conduct that would have anyone else facing homicide charges lose their jobs and law licenses.
This is a real multi-head explosion story. How could an attorney general say that engaging in a hit-and-run accident didn’t interfere with his ability to do his job? He lied to authorities and killed a man (he was probably drunk); how could he not be charged with those serious crimes? Prosecutors who testified before a legislative committee this year said they did not have evidence to support more serious charges. The bloody glasses of the man Ravnsborg hit and killed were found in the attorney general’s car!
I guess he thought he hit a myopic deer…
Now comes the first of what I hope is three metaphorical shoes.
The South Dakota House of Representatives voted this week to impeach Ravnsborg. The vote suspended him from his official duties while he awaits a trial in the State Senate. Incredibly, many Republicans did not vote for impeachment. Thus the origin of the old nickname, “The Stupid Party.”
“I believe impeachment should be reserved only for grave and exceptional circumstances, and I believe this is one,” State Representative Will Mortenson, one of the Republicans with at least some integrity, ethisc alarms and common sense said on the House floor.
Craig Price, the secretary of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety, told lawmakers he believed that Ravnsborg should have been charged with second-degree manslaughter. Ya think? At least!
Ravnsborg released a short statement, consistent with what we already know about his character: “The House of Representatives voted and I respect the process. but I look forward to the Senate trial where I believe I will be vindicated.”
What he means is that there are enough unethical Republicans in the state Senate who would have voted to exonerate Charles Manson if he was a party member.
Earlier, this creep accused Gov. Kristi Noem, who has repeatedly called on him to resign, of taking the “unfortunate circumstances of a man being killed in a traffic accident to make her political moves.” He really said that.
For Mr. Ravnsborg to be convicted by the State Senate and removed from office, two-thirds of the senators will have to vote to convict him. Don’t bet on it. That’s shoe #2.
The last shoe is for him to be disbarred. I’m not betting on that one either.