Jessica Castleberry

Rep. Tina Mulally, R-Rapid City, speaks on the House floor on Jan. 17, 2024. (Makenzie Huber/South Dakota Searchlight)

House panel rejects change for filling legislative vacancies

BY: - February 8, 2024

The citizens of the Rapid City area have gone without full representation now for more than half of the 2024 legislative session – and may well go without until the session ends. That reality wasn’t enough to convince members of the House State Affairs Committee to change state law on filling legislative vacancies. On Thursday, […]

Rep. Becky Drury, R-Rapid City, speaks on the House floor during the 2023 legislative session at the Capitol in Pierre. (Makenzie Huber/South Dakota Searchlight)

Noem appoints current legislator to vacant Rapid City seat

BY: - January 16, 2024

Gov. Kristi Noem has appointed one legislator to replace another, leaving two seats in Rapid City and the surrounding area still vacant. Becky Drury, currently serving in the House of Representatives for District 32, will replace Jess Olson, who served in the House for District 34 before resigning due to health reasons. Drury bought a […]

The entrance to the South Dakota Supreme Court at the state Capitol in Pierre. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

State Supreme Court signals caution in conflict of interest case

BY: - January 8, 2024

PIERRE — The South Dakota Supreme Court might soon offer clarity on what it means for a lawmaker to have a conflict of interest on state contracts. Or it won’t.  On Monday in Pierre, the justices spent much of a hearing on the matter peppering Attorney General Marty Jackley and lawyers for the governor and […]

The entrance to the South Dakota Supreme Court at the state Capitol in Pierre. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Ex-legislator repaying money as conflict question she sparked goes to state Supreme Court

BY: - January 5, 2024

As the state Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments Monday about what constitutes a conflict of interest, the former legislator whose situation sparked the question is repaying money her business received from the government. Jessica Castleberry, R-Rapid City, resigned from the state Senate last year. Gov. Kristi Noem had publicly revealed that Castleberry’s business, Little […]

State Auditor Rich Sattgast speaks during a rally featuring former President Donald Trump on Sept. 8, 2023, at The Monument in Rapid City. (Seth Tupper/South Dakota Searchlight)

State auditor says legislative factions are spreading conflict-of-interest allegations

BY: - November 14, 2023

The state auditor said Tuesday he has fielded claims that numerous legislators are violating state constitutional provisions regarding conflicts of interest.  “I haven’t been given any names, but I’ve been alerted that there are possibly 20 legislators out of the 105 that would probably have some sort of conflict,” said Auditor Rich Sattgast, who shared […]

The South Dakota Capitol is reflected in Capitol Lake. (John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)

Legislator’s conflict of interest puts meaning of ‘indirect’ under microscope

BY: - September 1, 2023

What does “indirect” mean? The question has been at the forefront of political discourse in South Dakota for weeks after former Sen. Jessica Castleberry, R-Rapid City, was found to have accepted over $500,000 in allegedly illegal indirect benefits from state government while serving as a state legislator. The state constitution prohibits legislators from being interested […]

Legislator resigns and agrees to repay nearly $500,000, plus interest, in pandemic relief funds

BY: - August 17, 2023

State Sen. Jessica Castleberry, R-Rapid City, will make $2,400 monthly payments over a span of 20 to 30 years to repay state government, with interest, for pandemic relief money she accepted in alleged violation of state law. Attorney General Marty Jackley announced details of the agreement Thursday at a press conference in Pierre. At about […]

The Little Nest Child Care and Learning Center in Rapid City. (Seth Tupper/South Dakota Searchlight)

Senator accused of illegally pocketing COVID funds cooperating with state

BY: - August 7, 2023

Attorney General Marty Jackley says a Rapid City state senator accused of illegally accepting more than $600,000 in COVID relief funds is working to resolve the situation. Monday was the Jackley-imposed deadline for Sen. Jessica Castleberry, R-Rapid City, to either pay back the $603,219 in funds she collected for her daycare business, Little Nest Preschool, […]

The Little Nest Child Care and Learning Center in Rapid City. (Seth Tupper/South Dakota Searchlight)

Rapid City senator accused of illegally accepting $600,000 in COVID-19 relief funds

BY: - July 27, 2023

State Sen. Jessica Castleberry, R-Rapid City, is accused of illegally accepting over a half-million dollars in COVID-19 relief funds to support her child care business, according to the governor and attorney general.  Gov. Kristi Noem divulged the information in a news release Thursday, along with a letter from Attorney General Marty Jackley requesting that Castleberry […]