Lindell told POLITICO earlier this week that he left Nashville on a private jet Tuesday night after arriving in Nashville on Monday and planning to be in town for most of the week. Noem was looking for a new trip home, according to one of the people familiar with the matter.
When asked if Noem would reimburse Lindell for the trip, a Noem spokesman, Ian Fury, who arrived at airport security Thursday, said he would investigate the matter and return to POLITICO without commenting. He also did not respond to subsequent phone calls or text messages.
In a brief telephone interview, Lindell said that he “doesn’t reveal anyone who gets on my plane. I have people on my plane all the time and I don’t know who told you that. I am not telling you anything. I am not saying anything about it.
“Our conversation is over,” added Lindell before hanging up.
He later added in a text message, “Everyone who is ever on my plane is strictly confidential! I can’t comment on this or my planes … this is for safety reasons[.] I’ve had many threats since going public with the domination and machine evidence. “
In February, Dominion Voting Systems sued Lindell on $ 1.3 billion in a defamation case accusing him of repetitively and falsely allegations that the company’s voting machines manipulated the election.
Noem and Lindell performed together at several Republican events over the past year. they both spoken at a Workers for Trump rally last September in Macomb County, Michigan, where Noem criticized the Michigan Democratic government’s handling of Gretchen Whitmer against the Covid-19 pandemic and its own laissez-faire approach to tackling the South outbreak Dakota defended. That month she also went to Minnesota with Lindell to promote Trump post that it was her “honor” to travel with the CEO of MyPillow.
“We both understand that we have to leave everything on the table to make sure President Trump wins on November 3rd,” Noem wrote.
Lindell has also traveled to South Dakota in the past few weeks. He held A rally of 1,650 people at Corn Palace in Mitchell, S.D., on May 10th, where he unveiled a social media platform called Frank that he plans to use to reinforce his claims that the election was stolen. The rally also included a 15-minute speech by former Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson.
Noem, who can be re-elected 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 isn’t the first female governor to take a non-state private jet this year. Whitmer has been criticized for using a Michigan chemical company private jet Flying to Florida in March to see her father even though she wasn’t fully vaccinated, which goes against state guidelines for travel for people who haven’t been fully vaccinated. It also took a plumbing company’s private jet to get to the January inauguration, and it cost $ 22,670.
Most states allow governors to fly friends’ private jets, although gifts must be disclosed in certain circumstances.
In Noem’s case, Lindell’s private jet travel appears to be legal. According to Under South Dakota law, an officer or immediate family member of an officer cannot accept gifts from lobbyists worth more than $ 100 in any calendar year. But the state has no rules about officials accepting gifts from non-lobbyists like Lindell.
The state also does not require disclosure of such gifts unless otherwise constituted more than 10 percent of the officer’s family income in one year or more than $ 2,000.
“Is that illegal under South Dakota law? Probably not, ”said Nikki Gronli, vice chairwoman of the South Dakota Democratic Party, when asked about Noem’s flight. “Is it unethical? Certainly. Wealthy politicians who are flown by wealthy employees across the country looking for perks or future dates are unethical.
“It is also worrying that our governor is fraternizing with a man sued by Dominions Voting Systems for lying about the legitimacy of the 2020 election,” added Gronli.