South Dakota Governor Slapped WIth Legal Challenge

South Dakota Governor Slapped WIth Legal Challenge

( – South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (R) has served her state as a politician for nearly 15 years, first as a state legislator and then as a US House representative before becoming governor. She won reelection in 2022. But Noem has been shrouded in controversy lately, and this time, it ended in a lawsuit.

On March 13, a consumer advocacy group, Travelers United, filed a lawsuit against Noem for allegedly violating the Consumer Protection Procedures Act. The group is suing her for injunctive relief and statutory damages, claiming the governor misled and deceived the public by posting what amounted to an ad for Smile Texas.

On March 11, Noem posted a video on social media praising the dental office for fixing her smile. The nearly five-minute video showed the SD governor telling a story about why her teeth needed to be fixed and how important her smile was to her while flashing close-ups of her mouth and the staff working at the company. The video closed with Smile Texas’ logo.

The lawsuit claims that, as the governor of South Dakota, Noem is an influencer on social media who likely received financial benefits from sharing the post. Travelers United believes the company either paid Noem or gave her a discount on her procedure in exchange for promoting the business — a practice the group claims is against the law.

The consumer advocacy group wants Noem to label any future such promotions as ads and to pay damages (both statutory and punitive) for making and sharing the Smile Texas video. Travelers United is also seeking attorney and expert fees it incurred bringing the lawsuit against Noem, and any other relief the court feels is warranted.

The South Dakota governor has not publicly responded to the suit.

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