National watchdog organizations to local ethics professors weigh in on alleged nepotism in South Dakota

Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 8:44 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -Questions over the closed-door meeting with Governor Noem, her daughter, and state officials are highlighting the issue of ethics in State Government.

According to a former legislator, alleged favoritism among family members goes back to previous governors as well, including Mike Rounds and Dennis Daugaard.

Frank Klouceck, a proponent of forming an ethics committee. The democrat served constituents in District 19 from 1991 to 2012.

“Nepotism is a big thing in South Dakota, from the top on down. It’s an issue of grave concern,” said Klouceck.

Commentators from national watchdog groups to local ethics professors discuss how the problem could have been avoided, and the best way to disarm the situation now.

Noah Bookbinder, President for CREW, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington says their organization has had previous concerns regarding Governor Noem. On September 22, 2021, CREW announced a lawsuit to obtain information regarding the private funder donation of one million dollars to send South Dakota National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Bookbinder believes there are not enough checks and balances in regards to nepotism and accountability.

“When everybody involved ultimately reports to her, it’s hard to imagine that anybody can really be objective. The thing that obviously would have helped the most would have been the governor recusing herself taking herself out of that situation entirely,” said Bookbinder.

At Augustana University in Sioux Falls, Assistant Professor of Government and International relations David Golemboski says his students are talking about the details, but have a high interest in what could happen next. He suggests what could help disarm the situation now.

“To be transparent, release as much information as possible. Because I think that’s what ultimately the public needs and what will serve her administration in the long run, by building confidence in what we can hope was genuinely good behavior with integrity, but which at this point has the appearance of something else,” said Bookbinder.

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