South Dakota Lawmaker Calls For Inquiry Into Gov. Kristi Noem's Texas Dentist Ad

The Republican governor posted a perplexing video this week promoting a cosmetic dentistry practice she visited in the Houston area.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem posted a head-scratching video promoting a cosmetic dentistry practice in Texas.

Now a member of the South Dakota Legislature is calling for an official inquiry into the Republican governor’s plug.

Democratic state Sen. Reynold Nesiba told both The Associated Press and Dakota News Now on Wednesday that he’s asked the Government Operations and Audit Committee, of which he is a member, to discuss Noem’s promotional content at its next meeting, which is in July.

“I just thought it was a very strange video about how much she enjoyed having her teeth done at that particular place,” Nesiba told the AP about the nearly 5-minute, well-produced video of Noem’s experience at Smile Texas.

In the video posted Monday to Noem’s account on X (formerly Twitter), she talks about the Houston-area practice, names the dentists and says she’s “eternally grateful” to them.

“The team here was remarkable and finally gave me a smile that I can be proud of and confident in,” Noem, who’s being floated as a potential running mate for Donald Trump, says as clips of her getting treatment at the clinic play across the screen and upbeat music plays.

“When they first showed me with a mirror my new teeth, I started to cry,” she says later.

The whole thing seemed odd to Nesiba, who wants the committee to explore the money involved in Noem’s video.

“Did the governor use public funds and/or the new state airplane to get to Texas?” he wondered aloud to Dakota News Now. “Did she pay for this dental procedure or did she agree to star in this infomercial in partial or full payment of that? And if so, was this unethical or illegal based on South Dakota statute?”

He also questioned whether Noem’s video undermines investments South Dakotans have made in her to promote their state or instead serves to raise her national profile.

Emails to Noem’s spokesperson asking those questions went unanswered.

State Rep. Ernie Otten, a Republican who chairs the Government Operations and Audit Committee, did not immediately respond to inquiries as to whether his committee will take up Nesiba’s request.

But Nesiba told HuffPost on Friday that Otten told him there is “no basis” for the committee to consider the matter.

“I am disappointed that Chair Otten takes so little interest in this matter that has raised so many questions and which has generated so much national attention,” Nesiba said in an email.

The committee meeting wouldn’t be until July, by which time presumptive GOP nominee Trump likely would have locked in a running mate.

Pushback on the Smile Texas video didn’t appear to deter Noem from sharing more promotional content. On Thursday, she posted a short video to X that advertised a footwear store, Fit My Feet, which has four South Dakota locations and two in the Midwest.

“They have totally built me inserts for running, separate ones for my cowboy boots. I’m going to be perfect. I’m going to be like bionic woman now,” Noem says as she stands with employees from the store.

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