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Attorney General Jason R. Ravnsborg

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Criminal Prohibition of Direct Conflicts of Interest by Public Officials Passes Full House

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   Wednesday, March 8, 2017    
CONTACT:  Sara Rabern (605) 773-3215   

PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Marty Jackley announced today that SB 27, the Attorney General sponsored bill to Prohibit Certain Direct Conflicts of Interest By Public Officials has passed the full House. The House Judiciary Committee passed the bill on Monday, March 6, 2017.
“Public officials that illegally take taxpayer money that has been entrusted to them, violate the public trust and should be held responsible and treated as any other criminal thief.  This legislation further removes the presumption for probation that limits the sentencing discretion for both the prosecutors and the courts in EB-5 and GEAR UP type financial cases.  It also provides whistleblower protections for employees that report any inappropriate self-dealings and conflicts of interest. We wanted to encourage a state employee or others that see something going wrong like and EB5 or GEAR UP matter to feel confident to report without repercussion,” said Jackley. 
SB 27 passed the House on a vote of 58 to 9.
“Thank you to both the Senate and the House for recognizing the importance of addressing the need to strengthen our laws in the interest of protecting taxpayer dollars,” said Jackley.
A public official who commits a criminal conflict of interest would be guilty of theft as set forth under existing law.  Under current theft law, when the value of the theft is $1,000 or less, it’s a misdemeanor.  If the value is greater than $1,000, it is a felony that further increases based up on the amount.