Lindell told POLITICO earlier this week that after arriving in Nashville on Monday and planning to spend most of the week in the city, he left Nashville on Tuesday night by private jet instead. This left Noem looking for a new route home, according to one of those familiar with the matter.
When asked if Noem plans to reimburse Lindell for the trip, Noem spokesperson Ian Fury, contacted on Thursday while at airport security, said he would look into the matter. and would return to POLITICO, but didn’t end up commenting, nor did he respond to subsequent phone calls or texts.
In a brief phone interview, Lindell said that he “doesn’t reveal anyone getting on my plane. I have people on my plane all the time and I don’t know who told you that. I’m not disclosing anything. … I’m not saying anything about it.
“Our conversation is over,” Lindell added before hanging up the phone.
He then added in a text message: “Anyone on my plane is highly confidential! I cannot comment on this or my plane flights… It is for security reasons[.] I have received many threats since I released the dominion and machine evidence. “
In February, Lindell was sued by Dominion Voting Systems for $ 1.3 billion in a libel lawsuit accusing him of repeatedly and falsely repeating that the company’s voting machines rigged the election.
Noem and Lindell have appeared together at several Republican events over the past year. Both was talking at a Workers for Trump rally last September in Macomb County, Michigan, where Noem criticized Michigan Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and defended his own more laissez-faire approach -do to manage the epidemic in South Dakota. She also traveled to Minnesota that month with Lindell to campaign for Trump, saying in a Facebook Publish that it was his “honor” to travel with the CEO of MyPillow.
“We both understand that we have to leave everything on the table to ensure President Trump’s victory on November 3,” Noem wrote.
Lindell has also visited South Dakota in recent weeks. He tenuous a rally of 1,650 people at Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD, on May 10, where he unveiled a social media platform called Frank that he plans to use to amplify his claims that the election was stolen. The rally also included a 15-minute speech by former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson.
Noem, who is running for re-election next year, is seen as a likely Republican presidential candidate in 2024 and earlier this week started a federal PAC called the Noem Victory Fund.
She’s not the first governor to take a non-state private jet this year. Whitmer was criticized for using a Michigan Chemical Company Private Jet flying to Florida in March to see her father, even though she had not been fully vaccinated, contradicting state guidelines for travel for people who have not received their full vaccine. She also used a plumbing company’s private jet to get to the grand opening in January at a cost of $ 22,670.
Most states allow governors to travel aboard friends’ private jets, although gifts must be disclosed under certain circumstances.
In Noem’s case, his trip on Lindell’s private jet appears to be legal. According to Under South Dakota law, no public official or immediate family member of a public official can accept gifts from lobbyists over $ 100 in any calendar year. But the state has no rules on officials accepting gifts from non-lobbyists, such as Lindell.
The state also does not require the disclosure of such gifts unless it constitutes more than 10 percent of the official’s family income in one year or more than $ 2,000.
“Is this illegal under South Dakota law?” Probably not, ”said Nikki Gronli, vice president of the South Dakota Democratic Party, when asked about Noem’s robbery. “Is this unethical? Absolutely. Wealthy politicians who are robbed across the country by wealthy associates looking for benefits or future dates are unethical.
“It is also disturbing that our governor is fraternizing with a man who is being sued by Dominions Voting Systems for lying about the legitimacy of the 2020 election,” Gronli added.