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Attorney General Marty Jackley

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Attorney General Jackley Releases Statement on South Dakota Supreme Court Decision on Legislative Conflicts of Interest

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, February 9, 2024

Contact: Tony Mangan, Communications Director, 605-773-6878

PIERRE, S.D. – Governor Kristi Noem, with the support of the Legislature and the Attorney General, requested the South Dakota Supreme Court to provide further interpretation and clarification of Article III, Section 12 of the South Dakota Constitution, which prohibits legislators from having an interest in certain public contracts.  The Supreme Court has issued a very thorough decision clarifying and detailing the scope of Article III, Section 12.  This clarification will help the Governor in exercising her executive authority to fill legislative vacancies, the Legislature in identifying potential conflicts, the Auditor in authorizing the payment of tax dollars, and the Attorney General in the enforcement of our Constitutional and related laws.   

“The Attorney General will continue to enforce our State’s conflict of interest laws as defined by statute and interpreted by the South Dakota Supreme Court.  I appreciate our Supreme Court’s thorough, deliberate and expedited decision, and we are pleased to have the Court’s guidance to assist in enforcing Article III, Section 12 conflicts going forward,” stated Attorney General Jackley.  “To the extent questions remain concerning the application of the Supreme Court’s decision, the Attorney General will continue to be guided by the principle formulated by then-Attorney General Bill Janklow that an actual conflict of interest will exist if a public servant’s financial interest in a public contract influences or affects his or her decision-making in carrying out public duties.”