- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
After a third day of an impeachment investigation into South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg stemming from a fatal crash more than 16 months ago, lawmakers and the public alike remain shut out of the proceedings.
Led by House Speaker Spencer Gosch, R-Glenham, the nine-member House Select Committee on Investigation spent hours behind closed doors Monday night redacting information from 60 of 65 materials available to them that are related to the September 2020 crash that killed 55-year-old Joe Boever. Those materials include investigation reports, video footage of interviews and interrogations with the attorney general and autopsy photographs.
While Gosch had vowed to oversee a "fair, thorough, and transparent" process, the committee he hand-picked has yet to conduct any public discussions or open up the investigation file into Ravnsborg provided to Gosch last year by the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.
And though the process of establishing a list of redactions outlined in a 13-page report explaining what details of the crash investigation the public will never have access to, there's no clear indication when that file — as redacted — will be opened up.
"We're still pouring through stuff right now," Gosch told the Argus Leader two hours into an executive session of the committee Monday night. "We don't have anything decided yet."
The investigation materials available to the committee include interview footage with not only Ravnsborg, but his chief of staff Tim Bormann, who was with the attorney general when Boever's body was discovered, and Mike Volek, the late Hyde County sheriff who initially responded to the crash scene in 2020.
The slow trickle of information coming from the House Select Committee on Impeachment has frustrated both open government advocates and lawmakers, but also members of Boever's family.
Nick Nemec, a cousin to Boever who used to serve in the state Legislature, said while a desire to keep autopsy photographs and the victim and family's personal information from the public record might be reasonable, he sees little harm in opening up the bulk of the materials.
"You'd have a hard time convincing me that anything else shouldn't be opened up," he told the Argus Leader while waiting for the committee to finish its work Monday evening.
Gosch, though, said all redactions of investigation materials are being made with considerations for Boever's family in mind. According to a news release issued late Monday, conversations with the counsel of Boever’s immediate family members were ongoing.
Some of those materials could be unveiled publicly as early as Tuesday, however. That's because the testimonies of several law enforcement officers, detectives and forensics experts are expected to take place then, including a special agents from North Dakota who handled an independent investigation into Ravnsborg in late 2020 and early 2021.
South Dakota Public Safety Secretary Craig Price, who said last year that the misdemeanor charges Ravnsborg was convicted as a result of the crash did not rise to the level of severity that he believed were merited, and Highway Patrolmen who responded to the discovery of Boever's body the morning after the crash are also set to testify this week.
Gosch said if testimony provided to the committee is tied to any of the investigation reports, videos or photographs available to committee, that could trigger the release of at least portions of the materials.
"We will be going through some of them (Tuesday)," he said.
With public testimony expected to begin Tuesday afternoon, after print deadlines, please go to ArgusLeader.com for continued coverage about this issue and up-to-the-minute breaking news.
This article originally appeared on Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Committee continues redactions in Jason Ravnsborg impeachment record