Gov. Noem Appoints Mark Vargo as Attorney General

Gov. Noem Appoints Mark Vargo as Attorney General

PIERRE, S.D. – Governor Kristi Noem has appointed Pennington County State’s Attorney Mark Vargo as Attorney General effective today.

“Mark Vargo returns integrity, experience and stability to the Attorney General’s Office,” said Governor Noem. “He is an outstanding prosecutor who has the respect of law enforcement agencies and prosecutors statewide. Mark will provide the leadership the office needs until the next Attorney General is elected in November and takes office in January.”

Vargo has more than 30 years of professional and public legal experience. He graduated from Princeton University in 1985 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and earned his law degree with honors from Georgetown Law Center in 1988. He has served as an Assistant State’s Attorney for Florida’s Dade County, Assistant United States Attorney for the District of South Dakota and has been Pennington County State’s Attorney since 2013. He was nominated in 2010 for a U.S. Department of Justice’s Director’s Award and was named the South Dakota Prosecutor of the Year in 2015. Vargo has been active in the Rapid City area serving as an adjunct professor, high school debate coach and youth soccer coach.

Last week, Vargo was the lead prosecutor in the Senate impeachment trial against the former attorney general.

“I am honored to have been asked by Governor Noem to serve as the Attorney General,” said Vargo. “I have worked closely with the Attorney General’s office in the past and have a high respect for the abilities of the staff. My goal is to provide office members the necessary support so they can keep doing their job and honoring the rule of law for the citizens of South Dakota.”

Vargo will serve as Attorney General through Friday, Jan. 6, 2023. The new Attorney General is scheduled to be sworn in Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023.


48 thoughts on “Gov. Noem Appoints Mark Vargo as Attorney General”

  1. Poor selection. Was doubtful but hopeful she would appoint Marty and I understand why she didn’t, but Mark Vargo has enough problems of his own in Rapid City.

  2. This now gives Pennington County a chance to get an SA who gives a darn about problems in OUR county and deal with them accordingly.

    1. The most prosecuting he ever did in his tenure as State’s Attorney was the impeachment. Glad to see we’ll be getting a State’s Attorney that will be in town now.

  3. For every good thing she does, she makes 2 bonehead decisions like this. Shake up the office, just to shake it up again in 6 months. Brilliant

    1. If this isn’t the biggest political payoff in this state. He was involved in the case with the prosecutor from the beginning. Clearing noem’s intentions where to meddle and get rid of Ravnsborg. Never was this once about the accident.

      1. I’ll second that. Purely political from day one.

        Noem how can you not think this looks horrible??

        Best part is he and Thom both will be gone from Pennington soon

  4. Crime is out of control in Pennington County. I feel the right choice would have been to appoint Jackley. The PennCo office is poorly run.

  5. His record in Rapid City is just a long list of refused to prosecute. I’m guessing his conviction rate may be 100% because if there’s a small chance he’ll lose, he won’t even take the case.

  6. I’m sure she would have liked to appoint the R nominee, but it seems obvious to me that she wouldn’t appoint Jackley.

    What makes Vargo such a bad choice? Is that just another anti-Noem sentiment?

    1. He can’t run his own office in Pennington. 2 major recent screw ups on murder cases.

      Vargo just missed the deadline on a death penalty decision by 4 days and told the judge he didn’t even know he missed it. I bet those 3 families are happy today.

      Then one of his prosecutors had a case dismissed for 2nd degree murder this year for PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT. Look up Roxanne Hammond.

  7. Are you kidding me? What an awful selection.

    Political as all can be;; pushed to be on States Attorney Committee to push to get rid of AG, then prosecutor in Senate trial…..boy this looks bad.

    Then I said he shouldn’t be doing this because he needs to tend to his job as States Attorney after missing the deadline by 4 days and then telling the judge that he didn’t even know he missed the dead line in a triple homicide DEATH PENALTY case.

    On top of one of his prosecutors being found by a judge to have committed PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT and having a 2nd degree murder case dismissed this year.

    talk about a slap in the face to Marty also and not mending fences.

  8. Will Mark now praise Noem like he did so with Janet Reno?

    Janet was the best boss I ever had.

    Look it up…this is the kind of Republican Noem picks…wtf

    So much for mending fences with Marty

  9. Vargo misses a death penalty deadline in a triple homicide and then tells the judge he doesn’t even know he missed the deadline recently.

    Then Roxanne Hammond , one of his prosecutors is found to have committed prosecutorial misconduct in a 2nd degree murder case and the judge dismisses the case.

    2 murder case screw ups and that is who Noem picks?!

    Talk about a slap in the face to our party nominee also!

    Sorry Marty, but at least you know who she is going in, but after 2018 you probably already did know.

  10. Vargo is an incompetent administrator; anyone with a clue about his office in RC knows that. He’s useful because he all but guarantees that Noem will face no repercussions for her two known abuses of office.

      1. Sad how noem continues to abuse her power to do what she wants in office. A shame our state legislators and senators don’t have more guts to stand up to her.

  11. Can we start a petition to bring Ravnsborg back considering how crookedly he was treated? At least he was honest and competent.

    1. There are very few people who believe that Ravnsborg was treated poorly. Probably 47% of the GOP Convention are the bulk of those people. Plus a few of his hand picked employees. The vast majority of South Dakota citizens (probably more than 80%) believe he got what was coming to him. A little contrition by him from the beginning would have gone a long way.

      As for Vargo, I don’t know him and don’t really care that he got appointed. It’s temporary and probably was meant to clear out Natvig and anyone else close to Ravnsborg so Jackley doesn’t have to do that when he gets there.

      So start your petition for Ravnsborg. Realize you lost most of us when you claim that he’s honest and competent.

      1. Are you kidding me, the majority of people feel he was treated poorly and unfairly. Have you been living under a rock?

        1. You are delusional and/or talking to people who think just like you do. Get out a little bit and you’ll figure out that the vast majority of South Dakotans believe he got what he deserved. Further, they think he should have resigned a long time ago.

          1. No they don’t, we know you are working on noem’s team and that is the only reason you are posting your comment.

            What is sad is how many politicians she pushed into voting against Ravnsborg. I know of many her team pressured. Does that sound like they voted for the right reason, I think not.

          1. And they never produced anything. Shocker. Ravnsborg’s cheering section here makes him look even worse.

  12. Does not bode well for Natvig. Especially after Gromer’s testimony in response to Vargo’s questions.

    1. What are you talking about, good Ole boy groemer got tore up by the defense.

      I though his performance was laughable.

      1. It’s funny to read people still trying to litigate the impeachment trial. Best guess is these are close friends, or maybe even JR himself. It’s over and he’s done. Funny that the most we’ve heard from him in 19 months was yesterday going after Noem…. the Governor who just got elected in the primary with 70% of the vote.

        1. Funny how the impeachment was a shame and noem’s team pressured many politicians to vote against Ravnsborg. Would have been nice if people could have voted truthfully. But I guess you would know who was pressured as I am sure you are part of noem’s team.

  13. No appointment for John Fitzgerald or will mortenson……thank you for your assistance but I will pick another…..thanks though

    1. I could see Fitz but why Mortenson? Has he ever been a prosecutor? Personally, I think the AG should have some prosecution experience.

  14. Completely unsurprising that Vargo would jump at the opportunity for attention and grandstanding, while at the same time ignoring the 20+ open homicide cases in the county he was elected to represent. Victims and law enforcement officers in Pennington County deserve so much better.

    1. As I responded above…GOOD RIDDANCE! Now perhaps Pennington County can get a real prosecutor and not another George Gascon or Chesa Boudin!!!

        1. Didn’t bring ’em and as a matter of fact, have done what I can to make sure that this state doesn’t become THAT mess! It’s hard to do though when many Democrats change party at the request of Republican elected officials to knock out the true fiscal conservatives who are looking out for the citizens’ best interests. Then there are other “Republicans” who changed party because they would not be elected as Democrats. Within the first couple of weeks that I moved here, Pennington County tried to jam a ‘wheel fee’ down the wallets of our citizens. I immediately saw something similar and joined the effort to stop it.
          People told me that South Dakota was corrupt and for the first couple of years, I did not believe it. Then two non-residents were seated in office because they INTENDED to move to South Dakota. The governor attempts to use her HHS secretary to place unconstitutional ‘close down’ mandates on businesses and the citizens. FORTUNATELY 50 House representatives know what’s in our Constitution and they defended us with their “NO” votes. Even the Speaker, who presented that bill, voted against it.
          So I would suggest that you pay attention to what’s going on in Pierre and keep an eye on those who ARE trying to Californicate this state…and BTW, they’re in BOTH parties!

  15. Can the new General send some DCI agents down here to apprehend my deadbeat good for nuttin soon to be ex-husband?

  16. Personally I think Charlie could have done a fine job and don’t know why she would appoint somebody else for a temp position, unless she wanted someone to fire Ravnsborg’s guys.

  17. I guess it doesn’t matter how many rights, rules and laws Noem breaks…get your people to do your bidding and get political payoff

    This looks like horrible optics

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