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- American attorney, veteran, and politician
PIERRE – Now, the work begins.
A bipartisan legislative committee examining evidence into Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg’s fatal accident last year has a pile of work ahead of it and no firm date on which to get it done.
The House Select Committee on Investigation next meets on Jan. 17 as it determines whether Ravnsborg should face impeachment for his actions during and following the Sept. 12, 2020 accident when he struck Joe Boever near Highmore.
The committee could also meet Jan. 18 and 19. But, members say, there no timeframe to finish.
All of this will be taking place under the backdrop of a legislative session that begins Jan. 11.
On Wednesday the committee passed four motions unanimously in its quest to reach a decision on Ravnsborg.
The motions allow the committee, through its special counsel, Rapid City lawyer Sara Frankenstein, to begin a discovery process to collect additional evidence, including interrogatories of Ravnsborg and others involved in the investigation.
The committee also voted to subpoena several law enforcement officers involved in the investigation to testify before the committee in open session on Jan. 18 or 19. They include Craig Price, the secretary of the Department of Public Safety, two investigators from the North Dakota Bureau of Investigation who helped South Dakota, a South Dakota state trooper and John Daly, accident reconstruction expert retained by the state.
Another motion authorized Frankenstein to subpoena documents from the Department of Public Safety, Daly and the Hyde County State’s Attorney’s Office, which prosecuted Ravnsborg and ultimate agreed on a plea deal in which the attorney general agreed to plead no contest to two misdemeanors.
A spokesman for Ravnsborg did not reply to a message for comment.
What’s clear, coming out of Wednesday’s conclusion of the two-day meeting, is that the committee of nine House members has an immense amount of work ahead.
The committee was originally scheduled to meet in executive session – behind closed doors – all day Tuesday and the first half of Wednesday before opening to the public. But the closed portion of the meeting stretched into Wednesday evening while reporters and members of the public, including Nick Nemec, Boever’s cousin, waited in a hallway outside the Capitol room where the committee was meeting.
Lawmakers broke for lunches and occasional bathroom breaks as the hours stretched on.
House Speaker Spencer Gosch, who assembled the committee after the House voted to create it in a special session in November, said the committee spent much of the day combing through materials from the investigation.
“It was just a long day going through a very large file,” said Gosch, a Republican from Glenham.
Minority Leader Jamie Smith, D-Sioux Falls, said the committee was unable to get through all of the material in the file.
“I wouldn’t even estimate when we could get through it all,” Smith said.
The committee meets again Jan. 17. Ultimately after going through all the work it has in its future, the committee is not obligated to make a decision on whether Ravnsborg should or shouldn’t be impeached.
But, Smith added, “We are required to give a report of our work product to the rest of the House.”
This article originally appeared on Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Investigation into South Dakota Attorney General Ravnsborg broadened