Draft report finds Noem’s daughter got special treatment

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota lawmakers on Wednesday will consider a legislative report that finds Gov. Kristi Noem’s daughter received preferential treatment while she was applying for a real estate appraiser license in 2020.

The Legislature’s Government Operations and Audit Committee last year probed into the certification process for Noem’s daughter, Kassidy Peters after The Associated Press reported the Republican governor had called a meeting that included Peters and key decision-makers in the agency evaluating her license application just days after the agency had moved to deny her the license.

Peters received another opportunity to demonstrate she could meet federal standards and received her license four months later. The draft report that will be considered by lawmakers Wednesday states that the extra opportunity deviated from established protocol.

“This was outside the requirements,” the report states. “Kassidy Peters should have waited the required six months and reapplied for this level.”

Shortly after Peters received her license in 2020, the agency’s director, Sherry Bren, was pressured to retire. She eventually received a $200,000 settlement to withdraw an age discrimination complaint.

Noem’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the draft report. She has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.

The draft report is silent on whether Noem’s actions were appropriate during the episode. The House earlier this year also rejected a Republican-sponsored resolution criticizing the governor’s actions.

However, a separate government body, the Government Accountability Board, is currently considering a complaint against Noem.

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