Make Mine Ethics!
I think she made a pretty decent start in Washington yesterday at the opening of this Congressional term by voting against an obnoxiously transparent effort by the majority of her Republican peers in the House of Representatives to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics. 119 House Republicans proposed to put the office under House control, essentially destroying its independence, a move that was so blatantly self-serving that even President-elect Trump used his bully Twitter account to scold Pubs and remind them that they had more important legislation to consider. Having smacked the collective tone-deafness out of the GOP reps who promoted this thing, Trump got them to abandon the effort, post-haste. Coming out of the fiasco in squeaky-clean fashion, Noem was one of 73 Republicans who voted against the move, for reasons that can coalesce into one conclusion: She's okay with the idea of an independent ethics commission overseeing an elected legislative body.
If I'm wrong and there was some other political or personal motive, I'm eminently correctable--and I invite explanation of Noem's vote by her office here in the blog's comment section. Until then I take the existential position that Noem supports independent ethical oversight in Congress, not a particularly bold conclusion and one that dovetails with the idea of an ethics commission for South Dakota government.
Such a body was actually created by the passage of Initiated Measure 22 in South Dakota last November. The entrenched Republican leadership in Pierre, however, had a different view, beginning with Governor Dennis Daugaard conescendingly scolding his state's voters by telling
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And now that Kristi Noem has staked out her position in favor of such a body in the U.S. Congress, I expect her to make the creation of such a commission a key part of her proposals during the coming gubernatorial campaign. After all, her prospective constituents have already voted for one--and if it's good enough for South Dakotans and it's good enough for the U.S. Congress, why wouldn't it be good enough for South Dakota government? What say you, Representative Noem?
Addendum added at 1503 1/4/17: A reader just provided me with an interview regarding IM 22 with Kristi Noem last month in which she claimed that voters didn't get the "full story" on the measure. She didn't specifiy the ethics commission aspect, so I'm hoping we'll get some clarification on the "full story" regarding her feelings about it. Here's the url