Gov. Kristi Noem speaks at a January 2022 event in the state Capitol at Pierre. (Twitter/Governor Kristi Noem)
Hughes County State’s Attorney Jessica LaMie announced Tuesday that no charges will be filed in the investigation into Gov. Kristi Noem’s alleged misuse of a state airplane.
LaMie said in a news release that the state Division of Criminal Investigation had ended its inquiry, which included examining whether the plane’s flight records had been tampered with.
There were “no facts to support a criminal prosecution under current law” for the use of the airplane, the release said. As for the allegation regarding the records, that was deemed “frivolous.”
“I want to thank the DCI for conducting a thorough and professional investigation,” LaMie said in the release. “There is no basis to pursue these matters further.”
Noem’s critics have alleged she misused a state airplane for non-official business, including trips to out-of-state political gatherings. The state’s Government Accountability Board fielded the original complaints and referred them to Attorney General Mark Vargo in September. Vargo, who was appointed by Noem, recused himself and the Attorney General’s Office and asked LaMie to head up the inquiry.
LaMie referred the matter back to the board on Monday, the release said. LaMie declined further comment.
The investigation has been an issue in the Nov. 8 race for governor, which pits the Republican incumbent, Noem, against Democrat Jamie Smith and Libertarian Tracey Quint.
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