Governor Kristi Noem Requests Investigation into Minnehaha County State’s Attorney

PIERRE, S.D. – Governor Kristi Noem sent the following letter today:

Dear Honorable Jason Ravnsborg, 

A matter of public interest was reported by the media on at least two occasions regarding the extended absence of the elected official holding the office of the Minnehaha County State’s Attorney.  The Attorney General has the duty of exercising supervision over state’s attorneys in matters pertaining to their duties of office.  Due to these media reports, the public information that has been disseminated, and several inquiries into the Office of the Governor, our Office formally requests an investigation into this matter.

Further, the governor has the power and duty to remove officials who “willfully fail, neglect, or refuse to perform any of the duties imposed upon him by, or to enforce any of the provisions of law relating to intoxicating liquors, or who shall willfully fail, neglect, or refuse to perform any duties imposed upon them by law, or who shall be guilty of intoxication or drunkenness, or who shall be guilty of the violation of any law, or who shall assist or connive in the violation of any law, or who shall be grossly incompetent to perform the duties of his office.”  SDCL 3-17-3.  An investigation is necessary to determine if grounds for removal exist or not.  This is a matter of public interest and swift resolution is prudent.


Kristi Noem


62 Replies to “Governor Kristi Noem Requests Investigation into Minnehaha County State’s Attorney”

    1. Noem Voter

      Agree. Jason should get someone good in there, a tough, no-nonsense prosecutor who’ll run the show while this whole mess gets sorted out. Next year, the voters can choose the guy or gal they want for the job, long term.

    2. Anonymous

      Strong leadership, I don’t think-so. Picking up the phone and calling him is what a real leader would have done, it would have also been more a more honorable way to involve yourself in the AG’s business.

  1. Cop

    This investigation is very much needed. Also look into the #2 in the office who led the coverup. Thank you governor for cleaning up corruption

    1. Pat Powers Post author

      I don’t believe there was a “raid,” per se. But I believe they did respond to a 911 call.

    1. Anonymous

      They weren’t investigating and had no reason to until now. Go back and look at the stories. There had been zero complaints filed with the AG or governor on this issue. Ravnsborg did say that he’d look into. An informal inquiry was made, they probably found it was medical leave and decided to leave it alone.

  2. seems like words matter

    I think a lot has to do with the word ” investigating” that sounds formal and with requirements vs an inquiry is you are asking questions as to what went on

  3. Vicky

    Angela at kelo on her knees licking the boots of powerful Democrats. A more pathetic display of “journalism” I’ve never seen.

    1. Realist

      I applaud Angela for at least going to the source for information. As opposed to the Argus, who relied on hearsay and unsubstantiated evidence. Speculative journalism gets clicks and reads. Question though – so if the high and might AG Ravonsburg concludes the investigation and its public and he concludes and substantiates Aaron’s story – what then?

      1. An opportunity

        One thing is–if the AG concludes nothing happened I think this is an opportunity for him to appear to be fair to all and we will have more proof of an honest hard working person in the AG’s office

  4. 4Adam12

    So this dude had a rather big mental crackup. Fine, go get well. But don’t lie to us about how “great” the office is running. It’s chaos. Us cops know all too well. Now resign, go get help, and let’s have someone in charge who isn’t a basket case. Crime is spiking in Sioux Falls. This isn’t a joke

    1. Realist

      You think the chaos is directly attributable to Aaron? With each Deputy State’s Attorney managing close to 1,000 cases each, I would say the office is running as it should. Room for improvement – always? Doesn’t help the Minnehaha County Commission has refused in the past to allocate funds for new prosecutors and public defenders/advocates. Recently, they approved a budget increase for more positions, but when an office (States Attorney and Public Defender/Advocate) dont have necessary resources, some level of chaos and inefficiency is to be expected. Isnt the PD also experiencing chaos? Arresting individuals who use their voice at the PD? Also – why call for someone’s resignation due to mental health? I appreciate his willingness (albeit a minimum) to open up about mental health. No one, public or private, is immune from mental health issues. So we are now vilifying people who take their personal care and wellbeing into consideration? Good grief.

  5. Shawn

    Where has this guy been? What institution or facility? I bet “scoop” Angela doesn’t even ask because she’s so busy stroking the powerful. Kelobland is a laughingstock

  6. BLM

    So another news organization does all the work and investigating and actually covers the story, while kelo covers it all up and refuses to report on it, and then Swoops in at the end to apologize to the powerful and let them off the hook and give them a glowing story, while doing no digging whatsoever or actually holding anybody accountable. law enforcement is trying to protect us but is undermined buy a top prosecutor who has totally lost it and kelo protects him. This is crazy people!

  7. Anonymous

    You guys are making fun of people with mental illness. I’m not saying McGowan is mentally ill or suffers from mental illness. I don’t know, I’m not a doctor.

    What I do know is that individuals with mental health issues lead perfectly productive lives. The comments here are adding to an awful stigma that they don’t. It’s especially sad that those who are belittling and berating mental illness cases are claiming to be cops and they should know better than to fuel the stigma against those with mental or developmental disabilities.

    1. Anonymous

      They most certainly are not belittling. But he obviously isn’t up to the job. Public safety is at risk and he isn’t guaranteed this position. Know the difference. He doesn’t own the job. A cop would have been let go.

  8. Hilary

    Here’s something else Kelo will bury—McGowan is a big liberal Democrat who has let the east side crime problem spiral out of control

  9. Burn

    Wish Angela at kelo could investigate top prosecutors like she harasses immigrant girls trying to run massage business

    1. Anne Beal

      You can. You just need a note from your doctor saying you are unable to work, and there’s nothing your employer can do about it. My last job before retiring, it was impossible to take a vacation, so two of the nurses there would have annual health problems. Like scheduled. One had a mental health crisis that required two weeks off, always involving Palm Sunday and Easter, another had surgery of some kind every July. And as long as they brought in Doctor’s notes every year, that was it.
      I think the employer is allowed to request and pay for an Independent Medical Opinion (I know it’s allowed in worker’s compensation claims) but I am not sure.

  10. Anonymous

    Well that was a predictable outcome. The Governor probably should have waited until after McGowan’s public statement before sending off a letter to Ravnsborg.

    Perhaps that would have happened if people in Pierre weren’t in isolation.

    1. Anonymous

      That’s if you believe he was out of office for two months to deal with knee surgery related PTSD.

      I’ll wait for the results of the investigation myself.

      1. Anonymous

        What’s there to investigate? And do you really think the public will see the results? This will go away quietly. Noem and the Argus just got him re-elected.

      1. Anonymous

        How? What’s there to verify? Who could possibly verify it? Who in the know is going to risk their job by violating the law to corroborate or dispute what he had to say? His docs can’t because that violates HIPAA and the cops can’t because that violates the law.

        Trust but verify works usually, but here we just have to trust he’s being honest with this.

        Believing him and thinking the governor and Argus made a terrible decision does not equate to political support of the man. Just to be clear.

    1. Anne Beal

      who said he had a knee problem? Where did that information come from?
      I can imagine someone having knee surgery, and being in pain, and becoming addicted to Vicodin, until one day it’s too much and somebody calls 911 and the first responders who arrive are cops, and they have Narcan with them. And then that same person goes to rehab and gets clean. That’s one common scenario. .

      I can also imagine the scenario of alcohol intoxication, or its counterpart, delirium tremens, and things are out of control, so the cops are called and the person goes to rehab and gets clean. That’s also really common.

      I can also imagine a mental breakdown, and things spiral out of control, and the person goes to the behavioral health hospital and gets his meds adjusted.

      I can imagine all sorts of things, and none of them involve criminal behavior, and all of them involve health problems which are covered under the FMLA.

        1. a friend of education

          It’s an opioid addiction? I remember when Brett Farve got hooked on painkillers, slamming 14 Vicodin after every game. Liberals surely recall Rush Limbaugh’s post-surgery painkiller problem. Burt Reynolds, too. Happens all too often. Drugs can make you a slave. Use with *extreme* caution & *responsible* medical supervision, not just doctor feelgood. Never mix with alcohol. Likely that’s why Kristi requested an investigation. Hope he gets clean & God Bless.

      1. Anonymous

        McGowan described a personal “perfect storm” that happened on July 12, the day before the 911 call to his house. He said he’d been avoiding seeing a doctor for his knee after four surgeries, a staph infection and hospitalization back in 1996.

        “Since that time, I did not go back to the knee doctor, even though I’ve needed a knee replacement for 23 years, and I’ve had 23 years of chronic pain with no cartilage. And that pain has just gotten debilitating over time. I had fairly severe PTSD from that experience in the hospital,” McGowan said.

    2. Realist

      The ignorance in this response Doc, is the root of stereotyping and misnomers surrounding mental health in the nation. PTSD is situational and individual dependent. The trauma endured through an event – such as almost losing a limb to sepsis – would certainly contribute as well. I would encourage you to actually study PTSD, its causes and symptoms, prior to judging others.

  11. Results

    Hey guys, I just got the results of the AG’a investigation. Here they are.

    RESULTS: SFPD performed a wellness check on subject.

    Subject took medical leave.

    Medical leave is allowed under FMLA.

  12. Nonymouse

    Crime spiraling out of control? State’s Attorney office a mess? For the officers and deputys clamoring to damn McGowan I guess the question you should answer is why are you upset with the SA? Meth addict didn’t go to the penitentiary? Juvenile didn’t get into JDC or get sent to the DOC? Rape case get dismissed or settled for a lesser charge? Let’s be honest. Sentencing of drug addicts is crap at the outset thanks to the DOC and UJS. Greg S. and Gilbertson have so cowed judges that they do not send addicts to the pen. SA beats its head on these ones just like the thin blue line. Juvenile criminality is even worse thanks to the legislature neutering JDC and cutting judicial discretion….again, Gilbertson saw a study and a generation of juveniles face no consequences. Rape, not much an SA can do when the victim does not cooperate, or worse, recants. Simply crapping on the SA by stating a general platitude like ‘crime is spiraling out of control’ erroneously assigns blame and ignores the true problem….how we handle crime across the state as determined by Pierre.

    1. Anon

      Sorry, but McGowan pushed SB70 for all he was worth. Then helped cover up the problems it caused. He’s even more of the problem than Gilbertson, and doesn’t have the excuse of being old and out of touch like the Supreme Court.

      1. Nonymouse


        You sound like you are somewhat familiar with bills out of Pierre and the impact they have on the law, but you are not familiar with the ‘who’ in the narrative. In point of fact, not a single SA was in favor of the legislation. The executive director of the SA actually bucked membership to meet with Daugaard’s C.O.S. on a Saturday morning to see if the disaster could be softened. The only thing saving the executive director from not getting thrown out of the SA Association was that he was emphatically told by the C.O.S. that Gilbertson and Daugaard were going to make this happen. Probably more information than you needed, but McGowan didn’t push SB70, and I challenge you to find a State’s Attorney that did.

        1. My opinion

          That is why I like the AG, he has taken the heat but been against SB 70 the entire time. He is tough on crime and is seeking to fix it.

          I agree Gilbertson, Sattizan et al have watered our criminal justice system down–they can’t go fast enough!

        2. Anonymous

          Yes, I understand that is your version on his position. However, I am well aware of the ‘who,’ including which SAs were willing to go against the PTBs and say it was a bad idea. He wasn’t in that group.

          1. ymous

            It’s the catch and release problem that’s happening on 8th and Indiana and in the Juvenile courts. It’s a disaster and the police want laws that work.

    2. Anonymous

      Sending addicts to the pen is the height of drug war folly. If you want to spend 50k year to keep an addict clean, feel free to do so in your garage or basement. I don’t want to pay for it.

      If you commit a victim crime on meth, sure, lock them up for as long as you want.

      But locking someone up to keep them from hurting themselves is idiotic.

      1. Nonymouse

        Don’t worry, you are going to get your wish. Meth will become a class 1 misdemeanor thanks to the push of Gilbertson and Craig S.

  13. Anonymous

    It appears that the Gov was trying to upstage our AG. Is she getting desperate for attention. Seems like she has her hands full running our State’s Executive branch without sticking her nose in the AG’s business. Couldn’t she just call him.

    1. John

      I don’t understand why our Gov is not more hands on and calls our AG, that seems like the proper leadership thing to do.

      1. Anonymous

        She wants it to be a political spectacle so everyone knows it originated with her because she actually thinks the outcome is going to make her look good. She is setting herself up for disaster.

        1. Just the facts

          I agree–I think if he does a thorough investigation and is transparent the AG should come out of this looking strong.

          Aaron–I’ll let the evidence decide his fate. If he lied at all, he is toast politically, the risk of being on tape for an opponent to run against him.

          Gov– it appears she may have acted hasty, but again I will remain objective until the facts come out.

  14. anono

    A few observations:
    1. He admittedly had some mental health issues going on. That’s ok and not surprising given the job and other issues going on in his life. We should not condemn him, or anyone, for that.
    2. It looks to me like the PD handled this appropriately and according to the law, despite what the Argus demands be made public.
    3. There’s a feel to the Noem letter and some of the comments here that this is no more than a push to get McGowan out of office.
    4. McGowan should have come out and done this interview a month ago. It has felt like a cover up for weeks. He is a public official, which means he should be more forthright – it’s the right thing to do and smart politically as well.
    5. I can’t imagine why he would even want to run again next year. If I was him, I would step back and head to the private sector for a while. Something less stressful and more profitable. There isn’t one of us that is irreplaceable — the world and his office will keep on ticking. Time to look after yourself.

  15. a friend of education

    “I can’t imagine why he would even want to run again next year. If I was him, I would step back and head to the private sector for a while. Something less stressful and more profitable. There isn’t one of us that is irreplaceable — the world and his office will keep on ticking. Time to look after yourself.”

    Solid point. Well said.

  16. Anonymous

    How would ‘red flag’ laws be determined in a situation like this? Would McGowan be required to turn in the firearm he mentioned he had?