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Monday, December 09, 2019

Responding To Charges That She Abused Power, Noem Plays The Victim

@LauraClawson

Gov. Kristi Noem

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem knows that to gain national prominence and have a shot at the presidential or vice presidential nomination, a Republican governor has to be particularly terrible, not just on policy but as a human being. She's giving it her best shot. Bolstering her credentials this week is the Associated Press report that Noem leaned on state officials to certify her daughter as a real estate appraiser.

Noem's 26-year-old daughter, Kassidy Peters, was initially denied the certification, according to a letter from her supervisor—though no official record of a denial exists. Days later, Noem summoned Sherry Bren, the head of the licensing agency, to a meeting along with the state labor secretary and a host of lawyers. As if that doesn't look suspicious enough, Peters herself was at the meeting.

Peters got the certification months later, and days after that, state Labor Secretary Marcia Hultman demanded Bren's retirement. Bren filed an age discrimination complaint and got a $200,000 settlement. The settlement, though, bars her from disparaging state officials, and she limited the details in her account of the meeting to the AP. But she did say that the letter from Peters' supervisor complaining that Peters had been denied her appraiser's license was brought out at the meeting. Which, again, Peters, the governor's daughter and would-be certified appraiser attended.

So: Peters was either denied certification in a way that there's no record of, or her supervisor thought she had been or would be rejected. The supervisor wrote a letter complaining. The governor, Peters' mother, summoned the responsible official and her bosses and top lawyers in the governor's office for a meeting that included Peters and at which the letter complaining about her rejection was discussed. Peters got her license. The head of the agency responsible for the licensing was forced into retirement by someone at that original meeting, at the cost to South Dakotans of a $200,000 age discrimination settlement.

And … Noem is playing victim.

No, Noem. When you abuse your power to get your kids—in this case your grown-ass 26-year-old adult offspring—things they didn't earn, it's news. Because when you, the governor and aspiring Republican primary candidate, abuse power, it is news.

Here we've got Noem trying to make a story about a politician's child into a story about that politician even though as far as we know, President Joe Biden never convened a major government meeting with multiple top officials because he was upset about someone not giving Hunter a job. Yet even without the president having done anything wrong on that front, his son's career and struggles with addiction have been thoroughly aired in the media, in a presidential debate, in an impeachment.

There should be one standard. And it should apply not just to Hunter Biden and Kassidy Peters but to Ivanka Trump and Don Jr. and Eric, too. But the real story is Kristi Noem, governor and wannabe nominee. If she was trying to show that she can be as self-serving and nepotistic as Donald Trump … it's a start, anyway.

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