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SD Gov. Kristi Noem May Have ‘Engaged in Misconduct’

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By STEPHEN GROVES, Associated Press

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota ethics board on Monday stated it discovered enough data that Gov. Kristi Noem could have “engaged in misconduct” when she intervened in her daughter’s utility for an actual property appraiser license, and it referred a separate grievance over her state airplane use to the state’s legal professional basic for investigation.

The three retired judges on the Government Accountability Board decided that “acceptable motion” might be taken towards Noem for her position in her daughter’s appraiser licensure, although it did not specify the motion.

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The board’s strikes probably escalate the ramifications of investigations into Noem. The Republican governor faces reelection this yr and has additionally positioned herself as an aspirant to the White House in 2024. She is underneath scrutiny from the board after Jason Ravnsborg, the state’s former Republican legal professional basic, filed complaints that stemmed from media studies on Noem’s actions in workplace. She has denied any wrongdoing.

After assembly in a closed-door session for one hour Monday, the board voted unanimously to invoke procedures that enable for a contested case listening to to present Noem an opportunity to publicly defend herself towards allegations of “misconduct” associated to “conflicts of curiosity” and “malfeasance.” The board additionally dismissed Ravnsborg’s allegations that Noem misused state funds in the episode.

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However, the retired judges left it unclear how they are going to proceed. Lori Wilbur, the board chair, stated the grievance was “partially dismissed and partially closed,” however added that the grievance might be reopened. She declined to debate what would trigger the board to reopen the grievance.

The board can subject a public or non-public reprimand or direct an official to do neighborhood service. It can even make suggestions to the governor — although that choice appears unlikely because the complaints are leveled towards Noem.

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The AP first reported that the governor took a hands-on position in a state company quickly after it had moved to disclaim her daughter’s utility for an appraiser license in 2020. Noem had referred to as a gathering together with her daughter, the labor secretary and the then-director of the appraiser certification program the place a plan was mentioned to present the governor’s daughter, Kassidy Peters, one other probability to indicate she may meet federal requirements in her appraiser work.

The complaints are proving to be the primary main take a look at of the board, which was launched in 2017 in response to a number of scandals in state authorities. It has by no means taken public motion towards a state official.

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Noem later Monday struck again on the board of retired judges. A spokesman for her marketing campaign, Ian Fury, stated that the board’s motion “didn’t comply with state legislation or precedent.”

“They have but to level to at least one single statute the governor has violated in both of those complaints,” he stated in an announcement.

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The retired judges additionally referred a grievance that Noem flew on state-owned airplanes to political occasions to the state legal professional basic’s workplace for additional investigation. That places the investigation underneath the oversight of the interim legal professional basic, Mark Vargo, who was appointed by Noem.

When requested whether or not he would recuse himself from the investigation, Vargo stated in an announcement: “Based on the truth that this simply occurred, no choice has been made.”

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“We will likely be diligent in our responsibility and totally examine the grievance that the Government Accountability Board has offered to the Attorney General’s Office,” he stated in an earlier assertion. “The investigation, as with all different investigations, will stay confidential as does the grievance that has been offered to us. We don’t have any different remark at the moment.”

The board dealt with the complaints solely by case quantity and didn’t check with Noem straight in both case. Ravnsborg supplied the case numbers to The Associated Press.

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“Knowing what I do know because the complainant, Gov. Noem ought to be absolutely investigated for her abuse of energy in getting her daughter an appraiser license, and Gov. Noem ought to be prosecuted for her legal use of state sources for private achieve,” he stated in an announcement.

The board plans to publicly launch the grievance over the appraiser license for Noem after redacting some sections. It didn’t give a date for when that can occur.

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Noem and Ravnsborg have develop into political enemies since he fatally struck a pedestrian in 2020. Noem pushed arduous for him to be eliminated from workplace, and the state Senate convicted him on impeachment expenses and eliminated him as legal professional basic. He had continued to press the complaints as a personal citizen.

Fury, Noem’s spokesman, charged that Ravnsborg’s complaints “are all political and filed by a disgraced former legal professional basic who actually killed a person, lied about it, and tried to cowl it up. Gov. Noem was the primary to name him out for this, and he filed these complaints in retaliation.”

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He additionally repeated Noem’s protection that she adopted the legislation in dealing with her daughter’s licensure and that Peters obtained no particular therapy.

Noem’s workplace has stated the plan for Peters to get one other probability was already in the works earlier than the assembly, however the company’s director, Sherry Bren, informed a legislative committee final yr that she felt “intimidated” through the assembly on the governor’s mansion the place Peters’ unsuccessful utility was mentioned in element. A Republican-controlled legislative committee that probed the episode concluded that Peters obtained particular therapy.

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Bren was additionally pressured to retire later in 2020 and finally obtained a $200,000 settlement to withdraw an age discrimination grievance.

The former legal professional basic’s different grievance was sparked after online news website Raw Story discovered that Noem in 2019 used a state airplane to journey to occasions hosted by political organizations such because the National Rifle Association and the Republican Jewish Coalition, despite the fact that South Dakota legislation bars state airplanes from getting used for something apart from state business.

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Noem has stated she was touring to the occasions as an envoy for the state.

This story has been corrected to indicate that South Dakota Attorney General Mark Vargo says he has not but determined whether or not to recuse himself from investigating the case referred to his workplace.

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Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This materials might not be revealed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Nation & World US News

Warriors 0-6 on Road, Fall to Pelicans With 4 Starters Out

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By BRETT MARTEL, AP Sports Writer

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The defending champion Golden State Warriors fell to 0-6 on the street, shedding 114-105 to Brandon Ingram and the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night time with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins sidelined.

Ingram scored 26 factors in his return from a four-game absence due to a concussion and reserve Larry Nance Jr. scored 20 factors for the Pelicans, together with a number of fourth-quarter dunks that saved Golden State at bay. CJ McCollum scored 20 factors and Zion Williamson added 16 for New Orleans.

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Jordan Poole had 20 factors and 9 assists for the Warriors. Kevon Looney was the one common starter in uniform for Golden State’s second sport in two nights on the finish of a winless five-game journey.

The Warriors are 3-7 total. Among Western Conference groups, solely Houston (1-8) has extra losses.

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Curry, Thompson, Green and Wiggins all had been scratched after taking part in the earlier night time in a loss at Orlando.

The Warriors will not be taking part in Thompson on back-to-back nights due to his anterior cruciate ligament and Achilles tendon accidents in 2019 and 2020. Green is beneath related limitations due to a again damage final season. Curry was being rested due to elbow soreness and Wiggins due to a sore left foot.

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A beginning lineup that as an alternative included Poole and fellow guard Moses Moody, together with forwards Anthony Lamb and Jonathan Kuminga, made the sport aggressive into the fourth quarter.

Ty Jerome, who scored 18 factors, hit a 3 to pull the Warriors inside 99-96 earlier than the Pelicans steadily pulled away through the closing six minutes.

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Trey Murphy III’s 3-pointer capped a 7-0 Pelicans spurt that started with Nance’s dunk and layup and made it 111-101 with two minutes to go. Ingram, who additionally had 5 rebounds, 5 assists and two blocks, obtained a standing ovation when he checked out of the sport within the closing minute.

New Orleans led by as many as 11 within the second quarter when Jose Alvarado intercepted Poole’s go and located Williamson for a breakaway, windmill dunk.

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But the Warriors chipped away and trailed 50-49 on James Wiseman’s putback dunk.

Nance scored the ultimate 4 factors of the quarter on a finger roll and dunk, placing the Pelicans up 61-54 at halftime.

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Warriors: Kuminga completed with 18 factors, whereas Lamb scored 16 and Moody had 14. … Went 12 of 32 from 3-point vary. … In addition to the 4 starters who sat, G/F Andre Iguodala (hip) and G Donte DiVincenzo (hamstring) remained inactive. Iguodala has but to play this season, whereas DiVicenzo hasn’t performed since Oct. 23.

Pelicans: Alvarado and Murphy every scored 10 factors and every hit three 3s to assist New Orleans go 12 of 29 from lengthy vary … Shot 50.6% total (41 of 81) and outrebounded Golden State 51-36.

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Warriors coach Steve Kerr stated he appreciates that followers paid “good money” to see gamers on his staff who sat out with the objective of preserving their long-term well being.

“Ultimately the gamers’ well being is the No. 1 consider our staff’s success and even our followers’ satisfaction in the long term,” Kerr stated.

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He added that whereas some absences are unpredictable, “it will be smart” for followers to research schedules of groups they need to see and handle expectations when these groups are taking part in on consecutive nights on the finish of a visit, because the Warriors had been.

“Especially once you get a staff with gamers who’ve previous accidents like we do, or guys who’re superior age-wise,” Kerr stated. “I apologize to any followers on the market who had been hoping to see these guys.”

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Warriors: Host Sacramento on Monday.

Pelicans: Visit Atlanta on Saturday.

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This materials will not be revealed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Twitter Slashes Its Staff as Musk Era Takes Hold on Platform

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By BARBARA ORTUTAY and MATT O’BRIEN, AP Technology Writers

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Twitter started widespread layoffs Friday as new proprietor Elon Musk overhauls the corporate, elevating grave issues about chaos enveloping the social media platform and its capacity to struggle disinformation simply days forward of the U.S. midterm elections.

The pace and size of the cuts additionally opened Musk and Twitter to lawsuits. At least one was filed alleging Twitter violated federal regulation by not offering fired workers the required discover.

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The San Francisco-based firm informed staff by e mail Thursday that they’d study Friday if they’d been laid off. About half of the corporate’s employees of seven,500 was let go, Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of security & integrity, confirmed in a tweet.

Musk tweeted late Friday that there was no alternative however to chop the jobs “when the corporate is dropping over $4M/day.” He didn’t present particulars on the each day losses on the firm and mentioned workers who misplaced their jobs have been supplied three months’ pay as a severance.

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No different social media platform comes near Twitter as a spot the place public businesses and different important service suppliers — election boards, police departments, utilities, faculties and news retailers — preserve individuals reliably knowledgeable. Many worry Musk’s layoffs will intestine it and render it lawless.

Roth mentioned the corporate’s front-line moderation employees was the group the least impacted by the job cuts.

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He added that Twitter’s “efforts on election integrity — together with dangerous misinformation that may suppress the vote and combatting state-backed info operations — stay a prime precedence.”

Musk, in the meantime, tweeted that “Twitter’s sturdy dedication to content material moderation stays completely unchanged.”

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But a Twitter worker who spoke with The Associated Press Friday mentioned it is going to be so much more durable to get that work executed beginning subsequent week after dropping so many colleagues.

“This will influence our capacity to offer help for elections, positively,” mentioned the worker who spoke on the situation of anonymity out of issues for job safety.

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The worker mentioned there’s no “concrete sense of route” aside from what Musk says publicly on Twitter.

“I comply with his tweets they usually have an effect on how we prioritize our work,” mentioned the worker. “It’s a really wholesome indicator of what to prioritize.”

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Several workers who tweeted about dropping their jobs mentioned Twitter eradicated their complete groups, together with one centered on human rights and world conflicts, one other checking Twitter’s algorithms for bias in how tweets get amplified, and an engineering crew devoted to creating the social platform extra accessible for individuals with disabilities.

Eddie Perez, a Twitter civic integrity crew supervisor who give up in September, mentioned he fears the layoffs so near the midterms may permit disinformation to “unfold like wildfire” in the course of the post-election vote-counting interval specifically.

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“I’ve a tough time believing that it doesn’t have a cloth influence on their capacity to handle the quantity of disinformation on the market,” he mentioned, including that there merely might not be sufficient workers to beat it again.

President Joe Biden, at a marketing campaign occasion in Illinois Friday night time, mentioned: “Now what are all of us anxious about? Elon Musk, who goes out and buys an outfit that sends and spews lies all the world over. … How can we count on children to have the ability to perceive what’s at stake?”

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Twitter’s workers have been anticipating layoffs since Musk took the helm. He fired prime executives, together with CEO Parag Agrawal, and eliminated the corporate’s board of administrators on his first day as proprietor.

As the emailed notices went out, many Twitter workers took to the platform to specific help for one another — typically merely tweeting blue coronary heart emojis to indicate its blue chicken brand — and salute emojis in replies to one another.

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A Twitter supervisor mentioned many workers discovered they’d been laid off after they may now not log into the corporate’s methods. The supervisor mentioned the way in which the layoffs have been carried out confirmed a “lack of care and thoughtfulness.” The supervisor, who spoke to the AP on the situation of anonymity out of issues for job safety, mentioned managers weren’t given any discover about who can be getting laid off.

“For me as a supervisor, it’s been excruciating as a result of I needed to discover out about what my crew was going to seem like by tweets and thru texting and calling individuals,” the worker mentioned. “That’s a very arduous approach to care in your individuals. And managers at Twitter care so much about their individuals.”

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A coalition of civil rights teams escalated their calls Friday for manufacturers to pause promoting buys on the platform. The layoffs are significantly harmful forward of the elections, the teams warned, and for transgender customers and different teams dealing with violence impressed by hate speech that proliferates online.

In a tweet Friday, Musk blamed activists for what he described as a “huge drop in income” since he took over Twitter late final week.

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Insider Intelligence analyst Jasmine Enberg mentioned there may be “little Musk can say to appease advertisers when he’s maintaining the corporate in a continuing state of uncertainty and turmoil, and seems detached to Twitter workers and the regulation.”

“Musk wants advertisers greater than they want him,” she mentioned. “Pulling advertisements from Twitter is a fast and painless resolution for many manufacturers.”

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A lawsuit was filed Thursday in federal court docket in San Francisco on behalf of 1 worker who was laid off and three others who have been locked out of their work accounts. It alleges Twitter violated the regulation by not offering the required discover.

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification statute requires employers with not less than 100 staff to reveal layoffs involving 500 or extra workers, no matter whether or not an organization is publicly traded or privately held, as Twitter is now.

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The layoffs affected Twitter’s workplaces all over the world. In the United Kingdom, it could be required by regulation to offer workers discover, mentioned Emma Bartlett, a accomplice specializing in employment and partnership regulation at CM Murray LLP.

The pace of the layoffs may additionally open Musk and Twitter as much as discrimination claims if it seems, for example, that they disproportionally affected ladies, individuals of shade or older staff.

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AP Business Writers Mae Anderson, Alexandra Olson and Ken Sweet in New York, James Pollard in Columbia, S.C., Frank Bajak in Boston and Danica Kirka in London contributed to this story.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This materials might not be printed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Settlement Reached in Suits Over FBI Posing as AP Reporter

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By LINDSAY WHITEHURST, Associated Press

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press will get a $145,000 settlement following a pair of lawsuits filed after an FBI agent posed as a reporter for The Associated Press and created a faux story.

The long-running Freedom of Information Act instances led to appeals court docket selections that may assist bolster entry to public information, stated Adam Marshall, an lawyer for the group. The instances additionally make clear FBI brokers posing as members of the media, a tactic that free press advocates say undermines media credibility and blurs strains between legislation enforcement and the press.

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The company did not comply with its personal guidelines over such undercover operations when an agent posed as an AP reporter and despatched a link to a faux story in an investigation in Washington state in 2007, in keeping with paperwork uncovered in the lawsuit filed together with The Associated Press.

Then-FBI Director James Comey known as the approach “correct and acceptable” below FBI pointers on the time, although he stated it might require higher-level approvals when the incident got here to gentle seven years later, in 2014. No precise story was revealed and it led to an arrest, he maintained.

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The agent posing as an AP reporter despatched a link to the faux article to a 15-year-old suspected of creating bomb threats at a highschool. When the teenager clicked the link, a monitoring instrument revealed his pc’s location and helped brokers affirm his id.

The FBI declined to remark Friday.

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Kathleen Carroll, then government editor of the AP, stated in 2014 that the FBI’s “unacceptable techniques undermine AP and the important distinction between the federal government and the press.” A letter signed by two dozen news organizations known as the revelations “inexcusable” and the Reporter’s Committee particularly known as out using the AP’s title as “cowl for delivery of digital surveillance software program.”

Lauren Easton, an Associated Press spokeswoman, declined extra remark Friday.

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The lawsuits had been filed as a part of an effort to get information about FBI news-media impersonations, and finally resulted in vital court docket selections about how far businesses should go in looking for requested paperwork and the requirements they need to meet in order to withhold paperwork, Marshall stated. The settlement will cowl lawyer’s charges and prices.

“This has proven that there are important, regarding and ongoing points with respect to federal legislation enforcement impersonation of the press in the United States,” Marshall stated. The instances have additionally “proven that the Reporters Committee and The Associated Press had been dedicated to discovering out as a lot as we might about what occurred right here for the general public to know.”

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Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This materials might not be revealed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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