PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem made political-oriented trips valued at more than $98,000 to places outside South Dakota during 2021 and the first half of 2022.
That’s according to campaign-finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission by the Noem Victory Fund and by the Keeping Republican Ideas Strong, Timely & Inventive (KRISTI) Committee.
The next federal reports are due in October.
Operating the two federal committees allows Noem to raise money for political purposes beyond what she receives and spends through her several state campaign committees.
Reporting requirements are different at the state and federal levels. State reports show only lump-sum spending by category, such as advertising, salaries or travel, and don’t require dates or recipients’ names. Federal reports itemize each expenditure, including date, recipient and type.
A KELOLAND News review of Noem’s federal reports found that her two committees made payments or received in-kind contributions for her travel involving people, businesses or organizations in a dozen states and Washington, D.C.
Among them were a $2,850 travel in-kind payment on October 14, 2021, to MyPillow founder Mike Lindell of Chaska, Minnesota, and a $7,232 travel in-kind payment on April 1, 2022, to Lindell Management, LLC where he’s the registered agent.
The FEC defines an expenditure as, “A purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance, deposit or gift of money or anything of value made for the purpose of influencing a federal election. A written agreement to make an expenditure is also considered an expenditure.”
The FEC definition of in-kind is, “A contribution of goods, services or property offered free or at less than the usual and normal charge. The term also includes payments made on behalf of, but not directly to, candidates and political committees (except for independent expenditures or non-coordinated communications.)”
Lindell has claimed the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump and hosted a rally at the Corn Palace in Mitchell last year.
Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic in turn sued Lindell, Rudy Giuliani, Sydney Powell, Fox News, One America News Network and Newsmax after they accused the voting-equipment companies of falsifying 2020 election results.
Noem served eight years in the U.S. House of Representatives prior to taking office as governor in January 2019. She transferred $1.6 million from her congressional campaign account to her gubernatorial campaign account late in 2016 after winning her fourth term in the House.
She is currently under investigation in South Dakota over allegations that she used state government aircraft for non-public purposes in violation of a 2006 law that voters passed.
Here’s what the KELOLAND News review found for travel payments made by the two Noem federal committees:
June 28, 2022 – $8,000 Falcon Air, Raleigh North Carolina. (Noem Victory Fund)
June 27, 2022 — $3,610 (in-kind) Select Management Resources, Alpharetta, Georgia. (Noem Victory Fund)
June 27, 2022 — $20,000 (in-kind) Republican Party of San Diego County, San Diego, California. (Noem Victory Fund)
April 12, 2022 — $4,114.20, James S. Brown, Littleton, Colorado. (Noem Victory Fund)
April 1, 2022 – $7,232 (in-kind), Lindell Management, Chaska, Minnesota. (Noem Victory Fund)
April 1, 2022 — $12,000 (in-kind), Shane J. Guidry, New Orleans, Louisiana. (Noem Victory Fund)
January 19, 2022 — $900 (in-kind), Tami Nelson, Gettysburg, South Dakota. (Noem Victory Fund)
November 3, 2021 — $9,054 (in-kind), Republican Jewish Coalition, Washington, DC. (Noem Victory Fund)
October 14, 2021 — $2,850 (in-kind), Mike Lindell, Chaska, Minnesota. (Noem Victory Fund)
September 30, 2021 — $10,100 (in-kind), Dynalab, Reynoldsburg, Ohio. (Noem Victory Fund)
September 26, 2021 — $1,275 (in-kind), National Federation of Republican Women, Alexandria, Virginia. (Noem Victory Fund)
September 25, 2021 — $6,000 (in-kind), Solomon Plumbing, New Hudson, Michigan. (Noem Victory Fund)
September 20, 2021 — $9,314.90 (in-kind), Holloway Frost, Houston, Texas. (Noem Victory Fund)
June 21, 2021 — $2,474.26, Capital Corporation, Greenville, South Carolina. (Keeping Republican Ideas Strong, Timely & Inventive Committee)
March 10, 2021 — $1,167.80, Fabick Cat, Fenton, Missouri. (Keeping Republican Ideas Strong, Timely & Inventive Committee)
February 26, 2021 — $463.69, Don Dyer, Austin, Texas. (Keeping Republican Ideas Strong, Timely & Inventive Committee)